The Scottish Government funds a wide range of research in the rural affairs, food and environment portfolio. The strategic research amounts to approximately £48 million each year and is managed on behalf of the Scottish Government by the Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS). The research funded is mainly strategic and applied work; basic research is supported only where relevant to policy needs.
RESAS funded research is conducted primarily through its Main Research Providers (MRPs). They also compete for funding from other sources in the public and private sectors. They are companies limited by guarantee governed by independently appointed Boards. Over 60 per cent of the research RESAS supports is conducted at its MRPs.
The main research providers are:
BioSS, which is part of The James Hutton Institute, provides support and research on mathematics and statistics to the other Main Research Providers.
The James Hutton Institute combines existing strengths in crops, soils and land use and environmental research. It is the first Institute of its type in Europe and the research aims to make major, new contributions to the understanding of key global issues, such as food, energy and environmental security and develop and promote effective technological and management solutions to these.
The Moredun Research Institute carries out research that aims for greater understanding of disease pathogenesis, the development of diagnostic tests and the creation of novel vaccines. Scientists work with farmers and vets to improve animal health and wellbeing and to support sustainable agriculture.
The Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health carries out research on how nutrition can prevent disease, improve human and animal health and enhance the quality of food production in agriculture.
The role and status of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is distinct. It is a Non- Departmental Public Body and its functions are defined by the National Heritage (Scotland) Act 1985 including research, education, collections and public access. Its Trustees are appointed by Scottish Ministers. Support for its research and educational activities is provided as part of its grant-in-aid. Its mission is to explore, conserve and explain the world of plants for a better future. There are also three other specialised Gardens situated around Scotland, which provide a range of climatic and soil conditions, these are: Benmore; Dawyck and Logan Botanic Gardens.
Scotland's Rural College delivers comprehensive skills, education and business support for Scotland’s land-based industries, founded on world class and sector-leading research, education and consultancy. It was formed by the merger of Barony, Elmwood and Oatridge College and the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC). SRUC research focuses on Animal & Veterinary Sciences, Crops & Soils, Land Economy & Environment and Future Farming Systems.