Pick from a range of interesting facts and detailed information about Scotland and the Scottish people.
Scotland is known the world over as a place of history and heritage as well as cutting edge art and culture
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Live & Workin Scotland
Key information on the practical aspects of moving to Scotland and where to get advice. Plus read about the experiences of people who have moved to Scotland from all over the world.
Scotland is renowned across the globe for its rich culture and heritage, and its contribution to the world past and present. From its thriving contemporary arts and music scene to its achievements in industry, medicine, science, law and literature, Scotland's story is one of immense achievement
Scotland, The Best Place in Europe and Not Only For Business
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Scotland has been named "European Region of the Future 2004/05" by the Financial Times' influential , beating many other European regions including Saxony and Hungary.
The fDi judges based their decision on several important economic and business categories including economic potential, cost effectiveness, human resources, telecommunications, IT infrastructure, quality of life, transportation and security. The fDi judges also evaluated each region's foreign direct investment promotion strategy.
The judges' response makes it clear they were impressed with Scotland as a whole, but they also singled out Scotland's large and very active investment promotion networks that have successfully targeted high-value-added sectors, such as microelectronics, life sciences and financial services. They also noted Scotland's investment incentives, favourable tax regimes, workforce and labour market.
has prepared a 28-page pdf document containing Scotland's submission to the fDi magazine. This document is available for free download, and provides rudimentary information on why the judges were so impressed with Scotland. Another document "Scotland: Show of Strength" provides editorial comment on Scotland's investment, academic excellence, business opportunities and logistics. This is also available for download as a free pdf document.
No fudge about this result
fDI magazine presented the award at a ceremony in Hong Kong citing Scotland's strong economic potential, excellent workforce, solid IT infrastructure and quality of life as major factors in its choice.
Raymond Prendergast, Scottish Development International's Director, Asia-Pacific, accepted the "European Region of the Future 2004/5" award. fDI magazine judged competing regions in a number of important categories: economic potential, cost effectiveness, human resources, telecommunications and IT infrastructure, quality of life, transportation and security. Also judged was each region's foreign direct investment promotion strategy, including a critical review of investment incentives, infrastructure development projects and recent foreign direct investment (FDI) deals.
"We are pleased and honoured to accept this award and be recognized as Europe's most attractive location for foreign direct investment," said Raymond Prendergast. "Scotland has gone to great lengths to create a highly competitive business environment and a compelling investment proposition, and this award clearly validates those efforts. From our world-renowned universities, our cutting edge R and D facilities and our highly motivated workforce, to the government's support for international investors and our welcoming business climate, we are sending a loud and clear message to the international business community Scotland is open for business."
"Scotland has gone all out to attract FDI in the past decade," announced fDI in its October/November issue. "The country has one of the largest and most active investment promotion networks, which has successfully targeted high-value-added sectors such as microelectronics, life sciences and financial services. Scotland's investment incentives and the tax regime particularly favour large companies wishing to invest in research and development and the government has targeted discretionary funding at R&D projects." The fDI announcement also made note of Scotland's workforce and labour market, stating, "The excellent international reputation of Scotland's workforce is supported by the statistics: 27% of the population of working age has been to university and 33% of young people aged 18 to 30 hold a university degree."
"Scotland's labour market regulations, in line with the UK's, are the most flexible in Europe and yet staffing costs remain competitive, particularly when compared to the rest of the UK and many areas of mainland Europe."
Finally, fDI highlighted a number of exciting urban development projects, stating, "Urban planning and infrastructure projects range from high-speed internet access, to the creation of new technology institutes at a cost of 450m over ten years. These new institutes will cover life sciences, energy and media technologies."
Other major projects reviewed included Glasgow's coordination of 750m of public-private investment in its financial services district, which could create 20,000 new jobs, the city's new broadcasting and digital media district in Pacific Quay which will house BBC Scotland's headquarters, and the 750m regeneration of Glasgow Harbour, a 120-acre site which until recently was occupied by empty shipyards.
Dundee, icing on the cake
Scotland may have won the European Region prize but the city of has also picked up two accolades. In the same competition run by fDI magazine, Dundee went forward to the overall "European Cities of the Future Best FDI Promotion Strategy" after winning the UK section for the quality of its economic promotions strategies. Dundee triumphed in the Europe-wide category, beating Barcelona into second place. The BioDundee life sciences initiative, the inward investment Locate-Dundee project, the digital drive of Interactive Tayside, the City of Discovery campaign and the co-ordinating efforts of the Dundee Partnership have all helped Dundee reach top ranking for promotion. Examples of urban planning projects included the Digital Media Park, Dundee University's Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and the Wellcome Biocentre. The long-term vision to improve Dundee's waterfront was also part of the entry.
City council economic development convener Councillor Joe Morrow said: "World-class scientists and cutting-edge computer games designers are carrying out pioneering work in the city today, and it is important that we keep up the momentum to increase jobs and investment in Dundee. The city has a highly-skilled and highly-motivated population and we all want Dundee to succeed in the future."
The sweet life
An international poll of scientists has ranked Dundee as the best scientific institution for scientists to work in, in Europe. Last year the same poll put Dundee third outside the USA but second in Europe to the INRA Research Centre in France. This year, Dundee has left the INRA behind for top spot in Europe and third only to two institutions in Canada, the Universities of Toronto and Alberta.
Commenting on the rating, Professor Peter Downes, Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences said, "I think there are a number of factors that have contributed to our ranking: state of the art facilities, comparable with anywhere in the world; a commitment to sharing facilities and expertise especially as a means of developing the talents of young scientists; a culture of interdisciplinary working; pride in being part of a world-leading institution and its role in the region; a wide range of nationalities scientists from no less than 53 countries work in the faculty; and the high quality of life in Dundee."