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Funding Call: SEFARI Fellowship to Support the Development of a Scottish Agriculture Knowledge Innovation System

Funding Call: SEFARI Fellowship to Support the Development of a Scottish Agriculture Knowledge Innovation System

SEFARI Gateway is delighted to provide support for a new Fellowship with Scottish Government. We are seeking an individual researcher or small team of researchers who can contribute to the next phase of development for a Scottish Agriculture Knowledge Innovation System (AKIS).



An AKIS is represented by the combined interactions, knowledge flows and innovative practices instigated between persons, organisations and institutions in the agricultural sector. Key stakeholders in the AKIS include supply chain actors, farmers, crofters, farm advisory services and advisors, land based business organisations, and research and education providers, including research institutes, universities and colleges.

The Scottish Government is currently developing proposals for an AKIS in Tier 4, Complementary Support, of the Vision of Agriculture Support Package Beyond 2025 and considering how to best to improve cooperation and collaboration, where possible between the various actors operating in the sector. Tier 4 is a complementary support measure that focuses on people development and will come into operation on 1 April 2027, although certain elements may be trialled before then.

The AKIS will help to underpin delivery of Tiers 1-3 of the Support Package (Base Payment, Enhanced Payment and Elective Payment) and help deliver the outcomes of the Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill 2023, the main delivery vehicle to achieve the Scottish Government’s Vision for Agriculture, for Scotland to become aa global leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture. The Scottish Government intends that its support for Scottish agriculture is, where practicable, aligned with EU measures and policy developments.

Research commissioned through ClimateXChange (CXC) and undertaken by The James Hutton institute entitled “Establishing an agricultural knowledge and innovation system” (June 2023) identified the design and implementation characteristics of AKIS in countries comparable to Scotland.  This identified potential opportunities and threats to the development of the Scottish AKIS. In addition, stakeholder comments made in response to an informal Scottish Government consultation on the AKIS (November 2023-February 2024) noted the need to ensure that the Scottish Government continued to be aware of developing AKIS structures in Europe and to consider them while it was further developing its own AKIS.   Within the EU, recent workshops have focused on AKIS for member states as well as building networks for innovation:

There have also continued to be emerging developments in this space, such as the UK being able to participate in the EC Horizon Europe innovation funding programme.


The Fellowship

The Fellowship aims to establish what current and emerging thinking on the EU development of the AKIS in the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) would help to develop the Scottish AKIS and ensure, insofar as reasonably practicable and beneficial, its alignment to Europe. 

The Fellowship will have several outcomes, namely:

  • Increased understanding of current and emerging developments of the AKIS in the EU CAP that are relevant to the development of the Scottish AKIS to ensure that it is using best practice.
  • Set out the key current and emerging policies that should be considered in the development of the Scottish AKIS  
  • To propose a range of policy options that might be used to implement these developments, including consideration of their practicability and suitability of application in Scotland.

The key objectives of the Fellowship are:

  • An assessment and analysis of the current and emerging issues experienced by EU Member States in the development and implementation of their AKIS under the CAP. This is in relation to issues and considerations (both positive and negative) that have the potential to affect and shape the Scottish AKIS.
  • Identification of the policies, including best practices, that should be considered in the development of the Scottish AKIS.
  • Suggestions for options that could be used to implement these developments.

In addition to use within Scottish Government, it is anticipated that the outputs of this Fellowship would be disseminated to a wide range of audiences, including universities, research institutions, and the agricultural industry and across the breadth of land users (farmers, crofters and land managers).



The successful applicant(s) will develop an approach in agreement with Scottish Government and SEFARI Gateway but the intention is that the research would apply mixed methods: i.e. a mix of desk research, one-to-one interviews, and focus group discussions, which could be a mix of online and in-person to make best use of resources and availabilities, increase inclusivity, and to reduce carbon footprint.

Required Outputs:

  • A report (see objectives) and associated briefings for Scottish Government
  • A Case Study on the SEFARI website that will link to the report and briefings and be used to disseminate findings across stakeholders
  • Workshops should be accompanied by a Blog for SEFARI website


  • The Fellowship supports up to a maximum of 28 days FTE (funding up to a limit of £18,000) for an individual or team of (maximum 3) researchers
  • Additional funding (to a limit of £5,000) will be provided (subject to separate costing) for workshops or other engagements (including travel and subsistence in conducting the Fellowship).


  • The Deadline for final report from the Fellowship is 1st October 2024
  • The distribution of time on the project will be jointly agreed by the Fellow(s), Scottish Government and SEFARI Gateway



The details of the final Fellowship work plan will be developed, and agreed, between the successful Fellow(s) and a project support team from SEFARI and Scottish Government. There is a maximum of 28 days available for project delivery from commencement – the exact number of days, their timing, and their pattern through the working week will be discussed but the project must report by 1st October 2024.

Funding (to a maximum of £18,000) will be available to cover salary costs. Please note that costs should be submitted net of VAT recovered by the applicant. Applicants should seek advice on appropriate VAT treatment of proposed funding. Travel and subsistence and to support any workshop costs will be funded separate to the FTE costs and up to a maximum of £5,000.

A Fellowship Support Team, composed of SEFARI Gateway, other Strategic Portfolio staff and Scottish Government, will assist with links and access to information; guide analysis and presentation; any ethical issues; identifying networks for sharing research findings; shaping and informing commissioned work, and feedback on emerging findings.


Further Details:

  • The Fellowship is open to applicants from SEFARI; researchers working in the ENRA Portfolio funded centres of Expertise; any UK Higher Education Institution or other UK academic Research Institute.
  • Applicants must have the support of their organisation (whether SEFARIs, Centres of Expertise, Higher Education Institutes, Research Institutes).
  • Sign-off should be at the level deemed appropriate for each organisation (please talk to your line manager), but Directors/Chief Executives of your Institute (or University school as appropriate) should be made aware of your application.
  • The taking of such an opportunity should not result in a candidate going beyond the end of any agreed contract they may have with their employer.
  • It is recognised that individual circumstances are different and support levels will vary depending on salary, distance from the opportunity and so on – the support level will be kept under review to try and maintain a fair and equitable competition and process. The Institute/Scottish Government ENRA portfolio-organisation/HEI/Institute of the successful Fellow(s) should not expect to meet any costs beyond that paid for by SEFARI Gateway.
  • The successful candidate(s) will be expected to contribute to relevant meetings or outputs for the project partners as the Fellowship progresses and to generate knowledge exchange related content for SEFARI Gateway (support will be offered on this).



Applications should be made to: and should include a cover letter (two pages detailing your suitability or that of the team) and a two-page CV (or up to 6 pages for a team). Decisions on who to Interview will be based solely on this letter and CV.

The cover letter should include:

  • Why you are interested in this opportunity and what you would hope to get from it?
  • What skills and experience you would bring to this role;
  • How you would use your current work to underpin the project;
  • What you would do to take the learning back into your organisation.

Team-based applications should demonstrate how they propose to manage individual contributions to satisfy the degree of multi-disciplinary integration required and clearly identify a Fellowship Team Lead.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on the 18th June 2024 with interviews expected to be held within two weeks following from that date.

If you have any questions on this, or any general aspect of the SEFARI Fellowship scheme, please contact Dr Michelle Wilson Chalmers, Manager, SEFARI Gateway at: