Strategic Research Programme 2011-2016: highlights

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

Economic Adaptation

Rural Scotland comprises 95% of the land area and 18% of the Scottish population. Rural businesses face unique challenges, and to remain resilient Scotland's rural economy must be able to adapt to changing circumstances. The economy includes traditional land-based industries, but also the wider rural economy such as tourism and recreation. Common Agricultural Policy reform, adaptations to minimise the risks from climate change and the options for transitioning to a low carbon rural economy were all explored by Economic Adaptation researchers.

Common Agricultural Policy ( CAP) reform

The CAP reforms for 2014-20 have significantly changed how the £580 million annual CAP budget is deployed, including introductions of Greening Payments and schemes for beef, sheep and new entrants. SRP researchers provided support to policy throughout these reforms. A range of potential CAP options and approaches were considered and analysed, and illustrations of their potential effects were presented to policy teams. These were influential in shaping final policy decisions on the reformed CAP. Stakeholder engagement was also central to this process, and ensured consensus on regionalisation and an understanding of the impact of the reforms. A CAP Payment Calculator and a Greening Calculator enabled the farming industry to better understand the impacts of CAP reform on their businesses.

Sustainable Intensification

Studies of dairy farm data by SRP researchers have developed indicators to show how alternative feeding systems and health variables can effect environmental efficiency. Forage-based feeding systems were sometimes the most efficient, however, low-forage systems were less variable from year to year. Animal health variables were also found to have a significant impact on environmental efficiency. As a result of this data, pollution control strategies have been developed and the cost of GHG mitigation strategies have been examined. These have been communicated to farmers through the Dairy Research and Innovation Centre, the Farming for a Better Climate initiative and via farm consultancies.


Email: Jenny Watson,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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