This strategy sets out the principles and processes behind the investment we will make in research for the Rural Affairs, Food and Environment portfolio from 2016 to 2021.
The Scottish Government continues to be an important funder of science in the area of rural affairs, food and the environment. We are the third largest public sector funder of R&D on agriculture and food combined in the UK. We invest more than £50 million each year to support a broad suite of research, ranging from investigations on urban air quality to studies designed to help understand the behaviours that lie behind consumer choices on food. Our core funding is focussed on agriculture, food, environmental change and rural communities.
Our investment in science is distinctive in the UK because we support the capability to create interdisciplinary research at a national scale to ensure the delivery of genuine science-driven impact.
That investment also helps support the training of some of the next generation of scientists working across the rural sphere, maintains vital scientific infrastructure and research platforms, including collections of plants and soils that are globally unique, and also allows us to work in partnership with others to maximise the impact of the research we do here in Scotland.
We ask a lot from the research we fund; we expect it to be excellent science, respected by the wider research community, but at the same time accessible to a wide range of stakeholders, informing and supporting our policy making processes.
Our investment is made on the basis that access to excellent science, and scientists with the skills to interpret scientific evidence from a range of sources, will help the Scottish Government fulfil its single purpose, and in doing so have a positive impact for Scotland as a whole.
The institutes through which we make much of our investment in research cannot cover the vast array of topics that are contained in the rural affairs, food and environment portfolio, nor can they be expected to have the expertise in all areas. Therefore, we will continue to look to broaden our supply base for our research, working with an expanding range of providers of research to meet our needs. In particular we will better connect the research we support with the wider Scottish and UK public sector, businesses, Scottish Universities and the UK Research Councils.
Email: Liam Kelly