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Scotland is Now is a brand new international marketing campaign for Scotland.

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Scotland is Now

It’s a project which began organically by organisations coming together to talk about their work in overseas markets and realising that there is much to be gained through collaboration. This resonates with the genesis of successful initiatives like Research Pooling and Innovation Centres which are founded on the same collaborative principle and are now recognised as Scottish success stories. Being central to both these initiatives, the Scottish Funding Council is pleased to be playing an active part in the launch of Scotland is Now.

Mike Cantlay, Chair of the Scottish Funding CouncilScotland is Now encompasses industry, inward investment and tourism as well as further and higher education and research. It makes sense to work together because we all have the same thing to say about what makes Scotland special. It’s about being a pioneering, progressive, dynamic and inclusive nation – a message that resonates with people whether they’re coming to Scotland for leisure, business or educational reasons.

The campaign plays well into the Scottish Funding Council’s ambition to make Scotland the best place in the world to learn, to educate, to research and to innovate. We’re confident in our credentials – Scotland has five universities in the world’s top 200 higher education institutes, is a global force in medical and life science research and has a growing reputation in computer game design and big data. Scotland’s colleges lead the world in nautical studies and training for the energy industry and are valued contributors to a modern skilled workforce.

Over 50,000 international students already live and learn in Scotland and there are currently around 7,500 overseas staff working in Scottish universities. Together they make a huge contribution to the success and to the diversity of Scottish higher education. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has described the country’s ability to attract students and staff from across the world as “a huge compliment to Scotland.”

Scotland is NowBut it’s a competitive world. The latest Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings record the growing strength of Asian universities with 28 now in the top 100. Some Chinese universities went ahead of prestigious European counterparts for the first time ever. Both academics and students have an ever-increasing choice of places to learn, research and teach and Scotland is Now has the potential to play an important role in persuading them to choose Scotland.

So today’s launch of a new approach to promoting Scotland on the global stage is significant. As a former Chair of VisitScotland I have experience of selling Scotland internationally as a tourist destination and I know how vital it is to promote boldly and as one nation.

The Scotland is Now initiative is absolutely the right thing for Scotland and I am confident that it will bring great benefit to our colleges and universities. I would therefore encourage everyone to identify the part they can play in making the campaign a success and to join us in the challenge ahead.

In a noisy and crowded marketplace we’ve got to shout together if we want people to hear what we’ve got to say.