RESAS strategic research: 2015 highlights

A report highlighting research funded though the Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) division.

Overview of RESAS strategic research

The Scottish Government is a significant funder of science in the area of rural affairs, food and the environment. This is achieved through an ongoing programme of strategic scientific research funded on a five-year basis through the Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services ( RESAS) division. The research highlighted in this Report was carried out during 2014-15, the fourth year of the 2011-16 Research Strategy. The research contributes to the development and delivery of rural affairs, food and environmental policy and the achievement of the Scottish Government's purpose and wider objectives, as set out in the National Performance Framework and Scotland's Economic Strategy.

Research so funded supports a Greener, Smarter and Wealthier Scotland, and contributes toward the achievement of a number of national outcomes, including:

  • we value and enjoy our built and natural environment and protect it and enhance it for future generations;
  • we reduce the local and global environmental impact of our consumption and production;
  • we are better educated, more skilled and more successful, renowned for our research and innovation.

The Scottish Government's investment in rural affairs, food and environmental research provides a foundation for:

  • the sustainable use of our natural resources;
  • the productivity and profitability of our agricultural sector and rural businesses;
  • the prevention and effective management and control of animal and plant diseases;
  • our ability to respond effectively to global challenges such as food security and climate change.

The funding also helps maintain Scottish-based scientific capability of international standard and associated infrastructure at the Scottish Government's Main Research Providers ( MRPs).

Strategic Priorities

RESAS-funded research addresses current and emerging challenges to meet short- and medium-term policy needs. RESAS funding can also establish and support longer-term strategic research to understand change over time and enhance resilience to future threats. We also strive to enhance productivity and economic growth, maintaining critical infrastructure and research assets, while developing future research capacity and capability.

Scotland's Economic Strategy focuses on the two mutually supportive goals of increasing competitiveness and tackling inequality with four priorities in which the Scottish Government's actions can make a substantial difference: Investing, Innovation, Inclusive Growth and Internationalisation.

Our strategic research investment contributes to Scotland's Economic Strategy in a number of ways:


  • Investing in research that provides Scotland with the skills and knowledge that it needs to grow in a global economy.
  • Investing in and supporting a Scottish science base that is internationally competitive and improving its standing in the world.
  • Developing tools and approaches which can assist community empowerment.


  • Taking a leading role in developing a national strategy for rural and environmental research.
  • Supporting the development of new products and processes which strengthen the performance of the agri-food chain or have environmental and health benefits.
  • Mitigating the long-term impacts of climate change by supporting innovative research into natural flood management.
  • Helping Scotland to meet its renewable energy targets through assessing future hydropower potential.

Inclusive Growth:

  • Helping to create a more equal society by widening access to the knowledge created by our investment in research across Scotland.
  • Promoting collaboration between research organisations to raise attainment and skills within our economy.
  • Evidence on equalities in rural Scotland enables clearer assessment of Scottish Government policies.


  • Further developing a research base that promotes Scotland's international reputation, attracts and supports talent from across the world in both fundamental and applied science.
  • Supporting the development of international connections and collaborations that promote Scotland as a source of innovation and creativity.
  • Successful leveraging of additional research funding to Scotland.


Back to top