Publication - Strategy/plan

Rural Affairs, Food and Environment Research Strategy for 2016 - 2021

Published: 13 Feb 2015

This strategy sets out the principles and processes behind the investment the Scottish Government will make in research for the Rural Affairs, Food and Environment portfolio from 2016 to 2021.

Rural Affairs, Food and Environment Research Strategy for 2016 - 2021
The changing shape of research

The changing shape of research

Research commissioning for this portfolio, and the structures in which the research required is shaped, have changed significantly over time. Prior to 2006, funding of institutes was based upon grant-in-aid, with the content of the research largely directed by the MRPs themselves.

Subsequently, the Scottish Government has become more active in seeking to strategically align the research it funds with its over-arching purpose and objectives.. This Strategy and the programmes of research it defines have been actively developed with contributions from policy, practice and business stakeholders. The research activity funded over the period 2016-2021will be co-constructed between the providers and end users of the science.

The emphasis continues to be on increasing the level of policy involvement, creating connections across the different areas of science, and generating knowledge exchange and impact from the investment made in research.

The shaping of the science sought has also evolved over time; in 2006, the new funding round saw four programmes of research established, with three cross-cutting themes introduced:

three cross-cutting themes

In 2011, two main Programmes, containing eight Themes, were used to brigade the research requirements of the portfolio. These programmes aligned with key drivers identified for science and policy at that time. In this framework, multiple connections are sought, both within the Programmes and between Themes, spanning across programmes.

Main Programmes

In addition, and for the first time, underpinning capacity - the resources and facilities that are fundamental to carrying out much of the research - was identified as a separate funding stream, securing those resources for the future. Further new approaches to collaboration and impact were put in place with the formation of strategic partnerships with Scottish Higher Education Institutes and the development Centres of Expertise.


Email: Liam Kelly