RESAS strategic research: 2015 highlights

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

Measuring the Difference

Policy and Practice

Scottish Government-funded research contributes to shaping policy by providing a knowledge and evidence base to help inform decisions. Much of the funded research is longer term and strategic, rather than directed to immediate policy needs. However, the expertise and capacity available also means that policy makers can seek advice as and when they need it. RESAS encourage that briefs are written in response to specific requests from policy, thus ensuring they are relevant to policy needs and end users.

186 policy outputs were produced from the total research portfolio in 2014-15

25% increase in reactive policy outputs since the start of the programme in 2011

Reactive outputs now make up 67% of all policy outputs

Of those requests 35% of them came from the Scottish Government, and 22% from the UK Government or Government agencies.

Pie Chart

Our Centres of Expertise ( CoEs) allow policy makers more direct and rapid access to research and evidence. These centres undertake research within the themes of Animal Disease, Climate Change, and Water and Renewable Energy, and continue to be a highly valued resource.

Info Grapgic

As well as producing briefs and reports which influence policy, a number of RESAS-funded researchers also sit on committees or are members of advisory groups which can provide an opportunity to influence policy. In 2014-15, there were 185 representations on government or agency advisory groups by 90 RESAS-funded scientists and researchers. These include representations at Scottish Government, UK Government, EU and UN levels. Researchers are members of a wide range of committees and advisory groups including IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) working groups, EU European Innovation Partnership focus groups, European Food Safety Authority working groups, DEFRA Antimicrobial Resistance co-ordination group, DEFRA UK Plant Health Forum, and SNH Science Advisory Committee.

Bar Chart

Trade and Industry

New tools and technologies developed as a result of RESAS-funded research can be of benefit to industry. Ten spin out companies formed since 1999 are still trading. Seven new patents on five innovations were granted in 2014-15, two of which are already licensed. Nineteen new licences were granted in 2014-15, for a range of topics including diagnostic tests for diseases and for raspberry and strawberry varieties.

An important source of additional funding for RESAS-funded researchers is leveraging in money from industry to support their needs and for specific projects, consultancies and collaborations. This industry relevant income has fluctuated between c. £10-12 million in each year since the start of the programme. £10.5 million of industry relevant income was generated in 2014-15.

Bar Chart

Scientific Resilience

RESAS-funded research is reported in a wide range of international scientific journals. Researchers collaborate with other MRPs to produce this work as well as collaborating with academics outwith MRPs - both nationally and internationally.

Over 550 peer-reviewed articles were published in 2014 by RESAS-funded researchers. Of these, 67% were co-authored with researchers outside the MRPs, 37% were co-authored with international researchers and partners.

A RESAS funded researcher (Professor Philip White (Plant and Animal Sciences)) was listed in the Thompson Reuters list of highly cited researchers for 2015.

Between 2011-14 55 highly cited papers were published by RESAS-funded researchers. Highly cited papers are defined as a paper which received enough citations to place it in the top 1% of its academic field based on a highly cited threshold for the field and publication year.

Highly-cited papers published in 2014 cover a wide range of programme research including cattle genetics, gut microbiology, soil microbiota, plant pathology and knowledge exchange. They are featured in a wide range of high-impact journals including Science, Ecology Letters, Plant Cell and BMC Biology.

53% of all peer-reviewed articles in 2014 were published in journals with an impact factor of 3 or greater, and 15% in journals with an impact factor of 5 or greater

As well as producing scientific papers, RESAS-funded researchers are involved in a wide range of collaborative scientific projects - both within Scotland and further afield. These collaborations can help to ensure that RESAS-funding contributes towards world-leading research.

Map showing percentage of funded researchers 2014 - 15

90% of RESAS funds go to MRPs. In addition to providing direct support to scientific research, the funding also helps the MRPs raise additional money from sources including the EU, the UK Research Councils and DEFRA, which can then be fed back into research.

For every £1M funding from the Scottish Government in 2014-15, MRPs have procured over £550K in external research funding

visual representation - For every £1M funding from the Scottish Government in 2014-15, MRPs have procured over £550K in external research funding


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