The global family of Scots

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At a time of year when Scots around the globe are thinking of home, the Scottish Government has announced it is financing four new research posts that seek to understand the modern dispersion of Scots from their homeland.

Funding of £200,000 over two years is supporting three PhD studentships and one post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Diaspora Studies to help inform the Government’s policy on engaging Scotland’s diaspora.

External Affairs Minister Fiona Hyslop said:

“We recently published a Diaspora Engagement Strategy which sets out how Team Scotland will seek to engage with the estimated 40 million individuals around the world who share a connection with Scotland.

“There is a sound economic basis for engaging with the diaspora and indeed Scotland has been recognised as being particularly well-placed to take advantage of the opportunities of engaging with its global family. Of course, it is important that such engagement is undertaken with a sound understanding of those connections and the nature of the relationships.

“Funding of these posts will build a sound research base to help inform development of a robust approach that can reap the full benefit of Scotland engaging with its diaspora.”

Professor Tom Devine, Head of the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies. said:

“The Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies is very pleased to acknowledge this generous support from the Scottish Government for our work in this key area of research. This funding will enable the Centre to extend its work into the modern diaspora, an aspect of the long history of Scottish emigration which is little understood at present.

“It is most gratifying that the Government has signalled that its own framework for more engagement with the global Scottish diaspora will now be underpinned and guided by rigorous and independent academic research.

“The Minister for Culture and External Affairs and her colleagues have given a most welcome vote of confidence in the relevance and importance of high-quality scholarship in the humanities and social sciences in helping to shape this aspect of government policy.”

The Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies was launched in 2008 with an endowment of £1 million from an Edinburgh fund manager and his family, thought to be the largest single private gift ever made for historical research in the UK.

The role of the Centre is to re-assess Scotland’s influence on the shaping of the modern world. A key focus is to examine how Scots influenced societies, economies and cultures around the world – not just the New World of Australia, New Zealand and North America, but countries such as Sweden, Poland and France, as well as Asia.