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Too much of a good thing for Aberdeen? Lessons from an agent-based model of commuting.

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Imagine a new policy that allows you to work anywhere at any of the workplaces in your region. Where do you choose to work?

Now, think about everyone else who has the same right to work where they choose. Will you change your answer to the first question?

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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Managing babies – lessons for managing the environment?

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I’ve just returned to my research on environmental governance after half a year of maternity leave. Whilst I was away I started to see parallels between my trying to care for a baby, and the challenges of managing our environment and ecosystems. Therefore, in this blog post I’m going to explore if baby care can highlight some key issues for environmental governance!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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How will Brexit affect UK agricultural land values (and why does it matter)?

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The value of agricultural land is critical not just for those intending to buy or sell farmland but to all those involved in the agricultural sector and others holding land as an investment asset. It is therefore surprising that, in and amongst all the other discussions on the future of British agricultural policy, very little has been said on how Brexit will impact UK farmland values. This blog reviews the factors that determine agricultural land values. I argue that an important (but unintended) impact of historic farm support policies is that they distort farmland prices. As such, any change in the nature of UK agricultural policy will impact land prices, resulting in both gainers and losers in the sector.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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Coordinating policy instruments that influence biodiversity, soil, and water in Scotland: rationales, needs and challenges

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Image: Fife, Laure Kufuss

‘Doing well, but could do better’ is one way to summarise one of the main messages coming out of an ESCom (Ecosystem Service Community) workshop looking at the coordinated delivery of policy instruments for biodiversity, soil, and water. The workshop was held on 23rd May 2017, in Edinburgh, to discuss the rationale, needs and challenges facing attempts to implement biodiversity policy instruments in coordination with other environmental goals and policies. The workshop provided an opportunity to discuss where and how policy coordination might be needed, to inform future research about the most appropriate ways to achieve such coordination.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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Cows eat grass, don’t they?

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As a society we may be losing touch with how our food is produced, but one thing we all know is that milk comes from cows and cows eat grass. But is this the case anymore? And does it matter if this is changing? These are questions I wanted to explore in an event with the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas at the Edinburgh Fringe, organised by the Beltane Public Engagement Network on the 24th August 2017. The idea behind the event is to bring academic research into the public domain and facilitate discussion.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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Eggs Benelux

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Fipronil, a compound hitherto unknown outside veterinary circles, is in our food: specifically, eggs and egg-based products. While the degree of health risk this poses is contested (for example, The Food Standards Agency maintains that this is a regulatory issue rather than a threat to public health), one thing generally agreed upon is which nation to blame, namely the Netherlands.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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Policy interventions for enhancing natural assets – are they compatible with crofting communities?

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Assynt crofting landscape (image Katrin Prager)

Land ownership and management arrangements across Scotland today are complex and multi-layered. These structures must be taken into account if we seek to influence the management of natural assets to support sustainable land-based industries and vibrant communities. Two key questions are ‘how do we design policies and corresponding delivery mechanisms, and what are appropriate governance structures?’

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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Can mental models facilitate social learning?

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Our most pressing contemporary challenges, such as enhancing food security and tackling climate change, can only be met by bringing together people from different backgrounds with the goal of learning from and with one another. This can seem daunting for social scientists, many of whom, like myself, have very little expert knowledge about how people learn or how to facilitate new learning.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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What is rural community resilience?

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Resilience may be defined as how a body deals with external shocks; Picture credit: www.monarchsystem.com

‘Resilience’ is a term used abundantly today, and there are a plethora of different views about what it means and how it can be assessed. A well-known online dictionary defines ‘resilience’ as the ability to recover from or adjust to negative shocks or changes. In a new project, we are considering how 'rural community resilience' can be assessed. Central to this is exploring different perspectives and understandings of resilience – those of academics, policy makers and communities themselves.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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What rhymes with agri-environmental scheme?

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Are the most vivid, vital and interesting representations of the world to be found in art rather than science? Indeed, can art be combined with science to draw on the best characteristics of both: the rigour and depth of science with the expressive tools and abilities to reach new audiences that art provides? What methods are available and are they only suitable in specific contexts on specific topics? These were questions I was interested in exploring when I attended a recent workshop on the use of poetry in social sciences research.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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Printed from /blog?page=1 on 18/10/19 05:55:26 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.