The current science needs of the Rural Affairs, Food and Environment portfolio can be captured in three strategic, but highly interlinked, research Themes that support the widest range of specific policy outcomes, and address the key drivers of the portfolio. The three Themes are:
- Natural Assets
- Productive and Sustainable Land Management and Rural Economies
- Food, Health and Wellbeing
The rationale for the Theme structure outlined above is to simplify the research landscape and emphasise the close ties that exist between them all. Consequently, the Theme titles express broad areas under which research needs arise, but there is a high degree of connectivity between all three. For example:
- sustainable agriculture should both draw upon and contribute to natural assets, and will also contribute to economic and social outcomes;
- the well-being of a rural community can be measured in many different ways and is subject to a range of factors which may include elements of social cohesion, the natural assets it has access to and economic considerations.
This overlapping structure makes clear that bringing together skills from across our research community will continue to be important to deliver excellent science that has impact when translated into practical use. The complex interactions described will also need system-based approaches to be applied, in order that the new knowledge and insights generated from research are to contribute to delivering the Scottish Government overarching vision of sustainable economic growth.