RESAS strategic research: 2015 highlights

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


RESAS' investment in scientific research centres on applied science which provides a foundation for sustainable use of our natural resources and advancement over a wide range of rural and agricultural themes such as crop science, animal welfare, and global challenges like food security and climate change. Close working with industry maximises the impact our research funding is having in relevant sectors. Maintaining close relationships with other public funders (e.g. Scottish Natural Heritage ( SNH), Scottish Environment Protection Agency ( SEPA)), through for example the CAMERAS partnership (Co-ordinated Agenda for Marine, Environment and Rural Affairs Science) provides excellent opportunities for knowledge exchange, collaborations and joint outputs.

The research is funded through a variety of mechanisms, including a Strategic Research Programme which is primarily carried out by our Main Research Providers ( MRPs). The MRPs 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): carries out research into disease pathogenesis, the development of diagnostic tests and vaccines for livestock. Scientists work with farmers and vets to improve animal health and wellbeing and to support sustainable agriculture.

Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health ( RINH): 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. BioSS is hosted by the James Hutton Institute for the benefit of all of RESAS's MRPs.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh ( RBGE): carries out research in international, UK and Scottish plant systematics and conservation.

Centres of Expertise

RESAS funding has also established Centres of Expertise ( CoEs) to encourage links between research carried out at MRPs, other UK research institutes and Higher Education Institutions ( HEIs) with Scottish Government policy teams. The CoEs are:

Centre of Expertise for Waters ( CREW): delivers objective and robust research and expert opinion to support the development and implementation of water policy in Scotland.

ClimateXChange ( CXC): provides research, advice and analysis to the Scottish Government as it develops and implements policies on adapting to the changing climate and the transition to a low carbon society.

Centre of Expertise on Animal Disease Outbreaks ( EPIC): brings together the best available scientific expertise under one umbrella to inform the Scottish Government and the livestock industry on reducing the impact of animal disease outbreaks.

Contract Research Fund

RESAS' Contract Research Fund provides flexibility to commission short-term policy led projects. The fund can also be used strategically to encourage partnerships with other research funders which can support capacity building in areas of common interest and foster connectivity across the research base in Scotland and beyond.


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