The environment, food and rural economy research showcased in this Report was carried out as part of the Scottish Government's 2011-16 Strategic Research Programme. The aim of the programme is to build a platform of knowledge to strengthen Scottish Government policy and to help answer some of the big issues on the policy agenda such as climate change, land use and food security. The Scottish Government has a long tradition of supporting research in these areas, the examples highlighted in this Report focus on where our investment has made a difference to policy, industry and Scottish citizens.
This long-term support to land-based science has contributed towards valuable research platforms, a world class skills base and critical long-term data, all available to inform policy decisions. The research in this report highlights outcomes as diverse as: reducing the impact of flooding, new approaches to reduce the GHG emissions of peatlands, novel methods to monitor Scottish biodiversity, improved breeding of crops and livestock, improved management and control of crop and livestock diseases, and reducing the fat, sugar and salt content of foods. The range and impact of this investment was increased through successful leveraging of funding from a range of other UK and EU funders, and collaborations with research institutes in countries as diverse as China and Malawi.
The programme is truly interdisciplinary in nature, with numerous linkages between animal and crop sciences, environment, food and drink, and rural communities research. The investment in this science underpins the development and delivery of Scotland’s Economic Strategy, and its four I’s of investing, innovation, inclusive growth and internationalisation. It also contributes towards Scottish Government’s national outcomes such as: reducing our local and global environmental impact; living longer, healthier lives; having strong, resilient and supportive communities; valuing our built and natural environment and protecting and enhancing it for future generations.