Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture (ENRA) research programme 2022-2027: mid-programme review report

Findings of the mid-programme review of the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture research programme 2022 to 2027.

ENRA Chief Scientific Advisor Forward

The ENRA Research Programme supports a broad array of research related to land use and the environment in Scotland. The programme is tasked to deliver a rigorous evidence base to support the needs of policy and practitioners. The research for 2022-27 has been focused particularly to guide societal responses to the environmental challenges posed by the Nature and Climate Crises. The research themes cover plant and animal health, sustainable food systems, human impacts on the environment, natural resources, and rural futures. The policy impacts are dependent on building close interactions with the Directorates for Environment and Forestry, and Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Practical impacts are driven by knowledge exchange activities with a varied set of land managers.

The Research Programme depends on key institutions (SEFARI institutes) for delivery and on their staff for creativity in research, for scientific credibility, and for clear communication. Scotland benefits from its long history of supporting these world-class scientific institutions, for instance through the National Soil Archive that has existed for 90 years, or through research farm platforms spread across the country. Institutions’ local roots provide geographical context for research, and for knowledge exchange with practitioners.

It is vital that the research produced by the Programme is both excellent and delivering impact. To ensure these requirements are met, an independent Science Advisory Board (SAB), chaired by myself and Professor Sarah Gurr, has reviewed the Programme by themes. The reporting by the SAB has helped to identify the most impactful research, opportunities to be taken, and gaps to be filled. The SAB’s work has provided assurance that the programme is delivering at the highest level overall, but also highlighted potential areas for improvement. The SAB identified world-class researchers, dedicated to delivering high quality outputs, and driven to communicate their learnings and evidence more broadly. A key next step recommended by the SAB is for Scottish Government, institutions, and researchers to catalyse stronger linkages across themes, and so to build more connected solutions to the challenges we face.

Prof. Mathew Williams
Chief Scientific Advisor, Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture


Email: SRF@gov.scot

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