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A multi-million pound programme of strategic research delivered over five years providing science and evidence to support policymakers and its partners. Informed by strong partnerships and the needs of a broad range of stakeholders. Science at the heart of society contributing to the health, wealth and wellbeing of Scotland and beyond.
Explore our research projects
The aim of this RD is to improve understanding of recent and anticipated adaptive responses to environmental change, policy drivers and market shifts. This will identify processes of innovation, diversification and collaborative action in agricultural household adjustment and assess future influences on the adaptive capacity of segments of the agriculture sector.
- Improving Agricultural Practice
- Land Use
Identifying and understanding multiple benefits and trade-offs – this work aims to have developed approaches that will support integrated decision-making to protect multiple natural assets and maximise benefits in socially acceptable ways. We will have identified and quantified impacts on, and trade-offs among, multiple ecosystem services (ESS) generated by land use and land management change across spatial scales.
This will entail:
- Natural Capital
To support a range of Scottish policy priorities These include:
1) Flooding e.g. helping local authorities incorporate uncertainty into Flood Risk Management (FRM) plans; meeting the requirements of the Floods Directive (FD); 2) Water quality e.g. providing evidence for the Nitrates Directive (ND) review; informing regulation of shellfish and bathing water protected areas; reducing water treatment costs through improved catchment management; and meeting the requirements of the Drinking Water Directive (DWD) and WFD.
The project will address questions such as...
The aim of this RD is to investigate the role of diet in determining health within and between generations and the complex interactions with social and economic status. It is designed to advance our understanding of the following key issues:
- Human Nutrition
- Diet & Food Safety
Our aim is to provide an evidence base for advice to farmers on the best approaches to improve the welfare of their animals. Guided by Scottish Government (RESAS) priorities, our work covers two specific areas, covering 4 species of commercial importance:
- Animal Welfare
To improve livestock for traits and management practices important for sustainability of livestock farming at an animal and farm system level. The work will focus on improving animal health and welfare, improving the quality and health attributes of meat and milk products, and increasing animal/farm system resilience (i.e. the ability of animals or management systems to cope with stresses such as infectious diseases, behavioural stresses or changes in climate).
- Livestock Improvement
The aim of this research is to address some key farm-level and policy-level issues to help develop policies in Scotland and more widely in the UK and in Europe, as part of a wider national and international research programme. The research includes a combination of environmental economic modelling, survey work and development of monitoring and evaluation tools and approaches. Specifically, focus is placed on providing improved understanding and estimates of agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation at national and farm level and developing tools for policy makers, farmers and researchers.
- Agricultural Greenhouse Gases
There is a focus on foods which appeal to the customer in terms of taste, appearance and price. Such foods may not be compatible with the current health messages in key policy documents and legislature. A central question for public health nutrition is whether industrially processed foods can be reformulated to improve their healthiness. At the same time reformulation has to be acceptable to both manufacturers and consumers. Consequently, the main driver of this RD is to reformulate foods improving their healthiness while retaining consumer appeal and food manufacturer acceptability.
- Food & Drink Improvements
The quality of Scottish primary produce is a critical attribute for Scottish producers as it differentiates their products in crowded markets and attracts premium prices. The diversity of these food products (from crops to shellfish) can be crucial for the sustainability of rural communities. They also contribute health benefits within the diet of Scottish consumers and are of key importance to the health, and wealth, of the nation.
- Crop Improvement
The overall aim is to improve detection of economically important pests/pathogens/diseases affecting key Scottish crops. This will improve decision making for growers and control recommendations and inform policy and statutory recommendations, leading to improved disease control. Much of the research capitalises on outputs from the previous RESAS programme and externally funded research. The initial focus is primarily on developing/improving the necessary assays, tools and techniques.
- Plant Disease