Strategic Research Programme 2011-2016: economic impact

Assessment of the economic impacts generated by the Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division's research programme.

14 Summary And Conclusions

This chapter summarises the economic impacts considered in this report and presents the conclusion of the analysis.

14.1 Wider Quantifiable Economic Impacts of 2011-16 SRP

In addition to the operational activity directly supported by the funding the 2011-16 SRP also helped to stimulate a wide range of wider economic benefits. It was estimated that these wider economic benefits generated a total of £151.8 million GVA for the Scottish economy in 2016 and supported around 1,460 jobs (Table 14‑1)..

Table 14‑1: Wider economic benefits of 2011-16 SRP realised in 2016

GVA (£millions) Jobs
Commercialisation 1.6 54
Animal health 3.0 n/a
Plant health 16.6 n/a
Exports 19.4 388
Genetic improvement 35.9 257
Food and drink 3.3 143
Environment 71.7 617
Research training 0.2 n/a
Total 151.8 1,459

Source: BiGGAR Economics. Note, totals may not sum due to rounding

It is expected that the research supported by the 2011-16 SRP will result in the annual impact described above increasing over time. Based on the evidence available it was estimated that within 10 years the annual impact associated with the 2011-16 SRP will have increased to at least £157.8 million GVA/year and 1,470 jobs. This increase is attributable mainly to benefits associated with animal health research and genetic gains in livestock and plants that are expected as a result of research undertaken during the 2011-16 period but not yet realised. It is also likely that the impacts associated with many of the other areas of activity considered in this report will also increase over the next 10 years but limitations in the availability of evidence means that it is not possible to quantify these benefits at this stage.

14.2 Operational Impacts of 2011-16 SRP Expenditure

The funding provided through the 2011-16 SRP directly supported activity within the MRPs and within the businesses and organisations in their supply chains. The funding also enabled the MRPs to leverage additional research funding from other organisations, which supported further activity within the MRPs and their supply chains.

In total over the period 2011-2016 this activity generated £468.9 million for the Scottish economy and supported around 1,377 jobs (Table 14‑2).

Table 14‑2: Core impacts (2011-16)

Direct funding Leveraged funding Total funding
GVA (£m)
Direct impact 154.2 86.9 241.1
Supplier impact 49.5 33.2 82.7
Staff spending effect 73.6 62.8 136.5
Capital investment 5.3 3.2 8.5
Total 282.6 186.2 468.9
Jobs (average number of fte positions supported over period)
Direct impact 390 220 610
Supplier impact 157 105 262
Staff spending effect 263 224 487
Capital investment 11 7 18
Total 821 556 1,377

Source: BiGGAR Economics. Note, totals may not sum due to rounding

14.3 Unquantifiable Economic Impacts of the 2011-16 SRP

The funding provided through the 2011-16 SRP has also helped to generate a variety of wider, unquantifiable economic benefits. These benefits include:

  • Human health - scientists funded by the 2011-16 SRP are engaged in a variety of research designed to prevent pathogens such as Cryptosporidium and Campylobacter from entering the human food chain and contain such outbreaks when they do occur. They are also contributing to the development of a variety of functional foods and nutraceuticals that have the potential to play an important role in reducing the incidence and cost of managing human diseases such as diabetes and cardiac disease. These Illnesses and diseases represent a considerable cost burden for both public health authorities (in terms of treatment costs) and UK industry (in terms of absence due to ill health). Although it is not possible to quantify the contribution that research funded by the 2011-16 SRP has made to reducing these costs the magnitude of the costs involved means that even a small contribution is likely to have significant economic impacts.
  • Sustainable Rural Communities - research supported by the 2011-16 SRP funding has also made a significant contribution to the sustainability of rural communities by helping to reduce costs and improve the productivity of farm businesses. Although it is difficult to quantify this contribution it has played an important role in helping to maintain the financial sustainability of rural businesses and protect livelihoods in traditional industries, such as crofting.
  • Efficiency of Public Expenditure - Scientists funded by the 2011-16 SRP have also been closely involved in the reformation of a number of important areas of public policy, such as the CAP. This work has helped to improve the efficiency with which important components of public expenditure are allocated, enabling the government and other agencies to achieve greater outputs for the same level of input.


Email: Eilidh Totten,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

Back to top