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What We Do

What We Do

SEFARI aims to deliver ‘Leading Ideas for Better Lives’, reflecting that publicly funded research in Scotland is delivering a positive impact for policy, business and public users, whether in Scotland or elsewhere. The portfolio delivers both longer-term, strategic research and shorter, more policy-responsive work. It also invests in the next generation of scientists, supports Scotland’s research infrastructure and helps generate new partnerships with others.

The majority of the research is delivered by the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI). This consortium is comprised of six research institutes, each with their own global capability, expertise and reputation.

These six institutes are:

SEFARI was launched by the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform on 29 March 2017.

SEFARI collaborates and coordinates with the Scottish Centres of Expertise. These Centres work at the interface between policy and research, and provide responsive work on issues related to climatewateranimal disease outbreaks and plant health.

The SEFARI Gateway is the knowledge exchange and impact hub for SEFARI. The Gateway adds value to all of this work by improving the flow of research and expertise, ensuring it gets to the right people, at the right time, in the right format. 

The portfolio also supports the interpretation of scientific information for policy, invests in training our next generation of scientists, maintains integral research infrastructure and underpins strategic alliances with others. This ensures the greatest possible impact of Scotland's research and expertise across the world.


The six institutes that comprise the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI) deliver world-class research in their own right, building on their distinct expertise, partnerships and reputations that extend across the globe.
The collective collaborates to deliver the Scottish Government funded Strategic Research Programme 2016-2021 on agriculture, environment, food and land, providing direct and tangible benefits across diverse issues, including:

There have been two previous Strategic Research Programmes between 2005-2010 and 2011-2016. This research is still important today, as the ideas and technologies from this work are still coming to fruition and are helping to inform the research taking place today and in the future.


There are four Scottish Centres of Expertise on climate, water, animal disease outbreaks and plant health. These Centres provide a vital link between research and policy and deliver robust evidence that is highly relevant for policy. The Centres draw upon the expertise of some SEFARI researchers and others from research and academic institutions across Scotland.


The SEFARI Gateway is the knowledge exchange and impact hub for SEFARI. The Gateway works to improve the flow of research and expertise, ensuring it gets to the right people, at the right time, in the right format. The Gateway also seeks to lift the lid on why research is commissioned, how it is used (or not) by diverse audiences and feed this back to our researchers.

The Gateway seeks to actively engage with stakeholders and build collaborations; it aims to understand the needs of different stakeholders (policy, public and business), in order to be able to respond appropriately.

You can find more information here.


Underpinning all of this is long-term investment in the science and knowledge exchange being delivered across the strategic research portfolio. This covers support to policy, training the next generation of scientists and improving scientific capacity and infrastructure. 

An extended network of scientific experts provide support and advice to policy officials. In addition to the services provided by the Centres of Expertise, this covers the following topics:

  • Natural Assets

  • Renewable Energy

  • Common Agricultural Policy and the Scottish Rural Development Programme

  • Environmental Change and Human Health

  • Food and Drink Supply Chain

  • Import Licences

  • Community Empowerment, Land Reform and Community Participation

  • Global Change and Local Responses and Impacts.

Underpinning Capacity is also allowing us to develop and train the next generation of scientists. This covers over 110 students spread over 30 academic institutions in the UK, EU and worldwide.

This investment helps us forge new strategic alliances and develop new areas of longer-term strategic science to meet the evolving needs of the Strategic Research Programme, the Centres of Expertise and others. 

This investment also supports globally significant and long-term datasets, experiments and collections that provide vital evidence to inform the management of natural assets and agriculturally important resources. These include: