Strategic Research Programme 2011-2016: highlights

Report highlighting environment and rural economy research outputs, and resulting impact, funded through the programme.


Photo of Roseanna Cunningham - Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

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 ( SRP). The aim of the programme is to build a platform of knowledge to strengthen Scottish Government policy and 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, and I am pleased to note that the examples highlighted in this Report focus on where our investment has made a difference to policy, industry and Scottish citizens.

To achieve maximum impact it is vital that we get the research findings to people who can use them. I strongly support creating further value and opportunity from the programme by sharing this knowledge in ways that resonate with audiences across Scotland. This will ensure that findings can be deployed where they will make the most difference. I therefore welcome that future outputs of Scottish Government investment in this area will be supported by a new Knowledge Exchange initiative, SEFARI - the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes - whose remit is to improve the flow of research findings and expertise. In my role as Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform I understand how important it is to take a holistic view of complex issues. SEFARI will interpret the numerous connections, constraints and opportunities of the research carried out in the SRP, enabling research findings to be fully utilised by Scottish Government policy teams, industry and the Scottish public. I wish SEFARI every success.

Roseanna Cunningham
Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

Photo of Professor Louise Heathwaite - Chief Scientific Adviser Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment

The Scottish Government has provided long-term support to land-based science and has a strong focus on using this scientific evidence to support policy. It 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 Greenhouse Gas ( 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 links 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 the environment for future generations.

Professor Louise Heathwaite
Chief Scientific Adviser Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment


Email: Jenny Watson,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
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