Strategic Research Programme 2011-2016: highlights

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

Main Research Providers

The majority of the Strategic Research Programme ( SRP) is primarily carried out by six Research Institutes. These are:

  • James Hutton Institute (Hutton): carries out research associated with crops, soils, land use, people and the environment. The research aims to make major contributions to the understanding of key global issues, such as food, energy and environmental security.
  • Scotland's Rural College ( SRUC): supports land-based industries and communities with research focusing on sustainable agriculture, animal health and welfare, food chains, economics and the environment.
  • Moredun Research Institute ( MRI): investigates livestock diseases, including the development of diagnostic tests and vaccines. Scientists work with farmers and vets to improve animal health and wellbeing and to support sustainable agriculture.
  • Rowett Institute ( RI): carries out research into how nutrition can prevent disease, improve human and animal health, and enhance the quality of food production.
  • Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland ( BioSS): undertakes the development and application of mathematical and statistical methods in agricultural, environmental, food and health research. It is hosted by The James Hutton Institute for the benefit of all the institutes which receive SRP funding.
  • The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh ( RBGE): carries out research in international, UK and Scottish plant systematics and conservation.

In addition to funding applied and strategic research at these institutes, the SRP funds the maintenance of critical infrastructure and research assets including facilities, collections and databases. Some of this 'underpinning capacity' funding is highlighted on pages 20-23.

During 2011-16 three policy-facing Centres of Expertise (CoEs) were funded, covering climate change, animal disease and water, and two industry-facing Strategic Partnerships ( SPs) focussed on animal science and food and drink.

The key achievements of the CoEs and SPs are explored in pages 29-36.

Approximately 450 Full Time Equivalent ( FTE) staff were employed each year in the SRP. This includes staff in the research institutes and at universities, and is composed of natural scientists, social scientists, economists, and technical and support staff.


For every £1 the Scottish Government has provided, the SRP leveraged in 60p from external sources, including Research Councils, Levy Boards and industrial collaborations. Between 2011-16 the funding received by programme researchers from Research Councils has more than doubled from £2.1 million to £5.2 million.

When public sources of funding are removed the SRP leveraged £13.3m in 2015-16 from private sources, or roughly 27p for every £1. This compares well to UK science as a whole, where for every £1 of public investment in research 29p of private funding of Higher Education Institutions ( HEI) research is leveraged [1] .


Email: Jenny Watson,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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