A LEADING academic has called for a “shared national mission” to put Scotland among the world’s most innovative economies as he launched a report on maximising the impact of the higher education sector.

The report by professor Sir Anton Muscatelli sets out the strengths of the sector in Scotland and says universities are already key to the country’s economy. It highlights their potential and states they “can and should be the driving force of Scotland’s economy”.

The report, commissioned by Finance and Economy Secretary Derek Mackay, sets out a range of recommendations for the Scottish Government, its agencies and universities themselves to help Scotland fulfil its economic potential.

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Speaking at the report’s launch at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Prof Muscatelli said: “Scotland is known throughout the world for our proud industrial history – but we can no longer afford to look backwards to past glories.

“Instead, we should re-imagine our industrial and scientific legacy as a springboard to create a new legacy of invention and innovation for the 21st century, equipping our children and young people with the skills and opportunities to lead the world in the industries of the future.”

His recommendations include a national innovation strategy to set a number of priority areas for research and innovation.