Along with the devolved government at Holyrood, the campaign is backed by Visit Scotland, Scottish Development International, and Universities Scotland.
“We believe it’s the start of a very exciting campaign that recognises Scotland’s world-class HE sector”
The website describes the campaign as one that tells “authentic story of Scotland as a bold and positive country, rich in history and heritage but forging forward in a way that is progressive, pioneering and inclusive,” of which education and international recruitment are important parts.
Under the ‘Study’ tab, Study in Scotland’s course finder directs prospective students to 13 universities, offering several modes of study – from full-time, part-time, and sandwich courses. In time, all 19 Scottish HEIs will be searchable on the site as the entire group has signed up to the project.
Furthermore, the site gives information on scholarships available in Scotland, the UK visa process, student accommodation, and other useful topics for prospective students.
The campaign also gives general information about Scotland, ranging from cultural highlights such Highland dress and the architecture of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, to information about (and nicknames of) Scottish university cities.
Alongside study opportunities, the campaign hopes to attract businesses. Scottish Development International aims to attract global businesses with grants and tax credits. It also supports several startup incubators, such as Codebase and Techcube, both situated in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh.
Sir Anton Muscatelli, vice-chancellor of the University of Glasgow and chair of the Russell Group, told The PIE News Scottish higher education and research punches above its weight in the global marketplace.
“It is about the values which underpin everything we do in Scotland – values of openness, diversity”
“Studying in Scotland gives students from around the world the chance to work at the forefront of their fields, with 86% of Scottish research judged to have ‘outstanding’ or ‘very considerable’ impact,” he said.
“Researchers at our universities [are] leading the world in new and exciting areas like precision medicine and quantum technology, and taking forward research into some of the great issues of our time, from malaria and the Zika virus to renewable energy and policies to support refugees,” he added.
Additionally, Muscatelli said the benefits of Scottish HE went beyond what happens inside the walls of institutions.
“It is about the values which underpin everything we do in Scotland – values of openness, diversity, openness to new ideas and commitment to using the skills and expertise of our universities for the good of society as a whole,” he said.
“Our international students already play a huge role in our university communities, contributing massively to our success – and we in Scotland are determined to do everything we can to ensure we can benefit from the best and brightest minds from around the world in the years to come.”
Although the Scottish universities will remain responsible for their own international recruitment, it is understood that ‘Scotland Is Now’ is seen as a unifying project which will help raise the country’s profile internationally.
David Lott, Deputy Director of Universities Scotland, said the organisation is “delighted” to be involved in the project originating from Scottish government agencies.
“We are delighted to… bring Scotland Is Now to fruition. We believe it’s the start of a very exciting campaign that at its very heart recognises Scotland’s world-class higher education sector,” he said.
“This is the first time that we have worked with the public agencies in such a fashion: all uniting under the brand Scotland Is Now to promote the great offer that Scotland has to visit, study, invest and live.”
British Council Scotland, which was not directly involved in the campaign, nonetheless supports the aim of the mission, which it sees as congruent to the Westminster-backed GREAT campaign.
“While British Council Scotland has not been directly involved in the development of Scotland Is Now, we believe its aims and ambitions complement the GREAT campaign and present a good overview of Scotland’s strong and distinctive higher education offer,” a spokesperson told The PIE.