Scottish Environment Food and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI): analysis

Reports the findings of Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) commissioned research to analyse how the five Main Research Providers (MRPs) relate to their collective identity as Scottish Environment Food and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI), how they benefit from the collective identity, and how the SEFARI identity can best contribute to the next cycle of strategic research funding.

5 Conclusions and Recommendations

Given the project objective to identify opportunities to optimise the design of the next cycle of Scottish Government funding beyond 2021, this section discusses possible opportunities to deliver the best outcomes, drawing on the MRPs and joint SEFARI activity, alongside the CoEs and other bodies. 

5.1 Conclusions

There is an opportunity now for the Strategic Research Programme to become less focused on funding individual institutions to maintain their current research trajectories. Change could be achieved by encouraging MRPs to form consortia with other institutions to address existing and new areas of evidence need. 

Our in-depth analysis of the governance arrangements suggests that there is an opportunity to build more cohesion around the Strategic Research Portfolio, making clear the relationships between its governance, advisory and operational structures.  

SEFARI has developed as a brand, but its scope and mission are not consistently understood by its internal and external stakeholders. There is an opportunity to re-position the SEFARI organizational entity and its relationship with SEFARI Gateway.

SEFARI Gateway has been developing synergies between MRPs and CoEs, promoting the collective identity of the Strategic Research Portfolio and cultivating and extending external stakeholder networks on its behalf. There is an opportunity to maintain or increase the scope of these activities in the next funding cycle, but this depends on the strategic re-positioning of SEFARI itself.

5.2 Recommendations

All of the Strategic Research Portfolio delivery organisations (in including CoEs and other future consortia) could be considered as MRPs and represented in these deliberative structures.  They could also be jointly promoted under a single (SEFARI or other) identity that represents the Scottish Government's investment in RESAS-funded science.

Existing MRPs could remain major players in the Strategic Research Consortium context outlined above. 

Maintaining the unique national capabilities and infrastructures of existing MRPs could involve re-classification of some Strategic Research Programme funds as Underpinning Capacity.



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