CAMERAS: evidence strategy for rural affairs and the terrestrial environment

The strategy outlines how CAMERAS partners aim to make best use of resources through strengthening collaboration and co-ordination and by improving the delivery of evidence to users.


Implementation will be through the development of evidence plans in targeted areas. The evidence plans will facilitate joint working between CAMERAS partners and co-ordination with other evidence users and providers. The plans will not cover the full spectrum of evidence needs under the five themes or of any one theme, but will focus on specific areas where joint working is likely to give the greatest benefits to evidence user and providers. These benefits will include:

  • For evidence users - benefits from the timely production of integrated, multidisciplinary evidence from multiple sources, a clear route for communication with multiple evidence providers and a mechanism that can be used to respond to new or urgent evidence needs that cross CAMERAS partners.
  • For evidence providers - benefits from sharing expertise, improved co-ordination, better connections to evidence users, increased impact and resource saving where duplication of effort is reduced. Identification of evidence gaps will also assist CAMERAS partners in directing resources and identifying future research priorities.
  • For evidence users and providers - benefits from increased numbers of people with knowledge exchange skills who are able to bridge the gap between research and policy.

A rolling programme of evidence plan development is proposed. Eight evidence plans have been prioritised for initial development following consultation with CAMERAS partners, Scottish Government policy makers and other key evidence providers and users. The timescale for delivery will be set out in each plan, but is expected to be 6-24 months. Extension of existing plans will depend on a review of need.

Initial evidence plan priorities

Priorities were selected by CAMERAS partners and Scottish Government policy makers with input from other evidence providers.

Integrated Land Use
Sustainable food and drink
Impacts of climate change and globalisation on plant health
Catchment Management for water resources
Ecosystem resilience to climate change
Strengthening Communities
Natural Capital*
Circular Economy**

*These two areas of work on evidence needs are being developed by groups set up to deliver the 2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity and will be linked to this CAMERAS strategy.

**Zero Waste Policy and Zero Waste Scotland are leading an Evidence and Engagement Team on the Circular Economy to co-ordinate the delivery of evidence to support policy.

Oversight and co-ordination

A Co-ordination Group will be set up to co-ordinate and monitor the development and delivery of the evidence plans and report on progress to the CAMERAS Board. The Co-ordination Group will include a lead from each evidence plan. This group will also facilitate links between the plans, act as a forum for sharing learning and regularly evaluate the priorities for evidence plans, taking into account emerging opportunities.

The evidence plans

Each evidence plan will initially cover a 6-24 month period, as appropriate to the area. Development of the plan will be the first stage of work and will specify:

  • What evidence is needed, as agreed between users and providers.
  • When specific evidence needs are required and will be delivered.
  • Who will provide what evidence - within CAMERAS and from other sources?
  • How it will be brought together - is additional analysis/synthesis needed?
  • Where the gaps are - and how they might be filled?

Delivery of the evidence needs will continue over the life of the plan, alongside regular review of the plan with policy customers.

Who will be involved?

Leadership for each evidence plan will be provided by one or two CAMERAS partners, with named individuals responsible for ensuring the plan is developed and that delivery is co-ordinated and reviewed. The evidence plan area should be critical for the lead partners and for the roles of the named individuals.

A small team will be formed to develop and deliver the plan. Team members will vary depending on the evidence plan areas and will include:

  • Named individual(s) from the partners involved in the evidence plan area
  • Named organisational contributors from other important evidence providers and users, including industry and other non-governmental end users where appropriate.

Additional support - a number of mechanisms for providing additional dedicated resource to support evidence planning are anticipated. These include secondments, policy placements, short-term appointments, use of existing Centres of Expertise and specific funds contributed by partners for filling key needs for analysis or synthesis that are identified through evidence planning.

Developing and delivering the evidence plans

A model for the evidence planning process is outlined below. Flexibility and variation is anticipated in the development and delivery of evidence plans in different areas.

A model for the evidence planning process


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