'Over Half Of Academics To Vote No'

More than half of university academics and staff are likely to vote no to independence in next week's referendum, a poll claims.

The survey, conducted by the Times Higher Education (THE) magazine, also found that the majority of those working at Scotland's universities believe that remaining part of the UK would be better for the nation's higher education system.

More than 1,000 academics and administrators took part in the poll, with over half (54.8%) indicating that they intend to vote "no'' and 41.2% intending to vote "yes'' on September 18. The rest were not sure.

This gives "no'' to independence a 13.6 percentage point lead over "yes''.

The survey also found that around 55% of those questioned think that staying with the UK would be the best result for Scottish universities, with 30.2% saying independence would be better for Scotland's higher education.

The rest thought the result of the referendum would make no difference to Scottish universities, or were not sure, the THE said.

:: The online survey questioned 1,058 Scottish university workers between August 7 and 26.

Professor Hugh Pennington, Emeritus Professor of Bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, said: "This is a remarkable study which confirms that the overwhelming view of university experts is that the best and brightest future for our world-class universities is as part of the UK. This means more opportunities for our young people and generations to come.

"With just days to go until we make the most important decision in Scotland's history, we still don't know how our world-class universities would be paid for. This is a risk we just don't have to take. To settle for less than being a global leader in education is selling Scotland short and that is why we should say 'No Thanks' to separation.''

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