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James Hutton Institute Blogs

Shaping research methods in response to participants’ wishes and concerns

Mags Currie

It is thought that greenspaces (natural and semi-natural places that are openly accessible in urban areas) can provide significant health and wellbeing benefits to people who use them. Together with my colleagues Petra Lackova and Liz Dinnie, I’ve been investigating this over the last two...

Lost in Space? Travel-to-Work Areas, City-Regions, and Strategic Development Planning Authorities

Patricia Melo

How we live, work and travel does not often neatly fit within official administrative boundaries, such as those of Local Authorities or councils. As a result, administrative boundaries are becoming increasingly inappropriate or irrelevant for the purposes of understanding, planning, and managing...

Re-energising Scottish Communities?

Annabel Pinker

In 2011, the Scottish government outlined a target of 500 megawatts of locally-produced energy by 2020. Since then, it’s set up a fund worth £20 million for the support of local renewable energy schemes. Such policies beg the question: What are the social and political implications...

The ‘safety’ in ‘food security’.

Bernhard Merget

I’m a colleague working on food safety within the Cells and Molecular Sciences group at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee. Additionally, I am a member of the Centre for Human and Animal Pathogens in the Environment (HAP-E) at the institute. I read the SEGS blog post about food security...

Accessible vs remote? Social and economic development in rural Scotland

Jonathan Hopkins

Three out of ten people within Scotland live outside of urban areas, in rural areas or small towns, according to the 2011 census and 2011-12 Urban Rural Classification. These non-urban regions are incredibly diverse. Aberdeenshire, for example, contains wealthy villages whose development has...

Uncovering the ‘Community Sector’ in Aberdeen City and Shire

Joshua Msika

I am currently compiling a database of community-based initiatives active in the energy, food, transport and waste sectors, in and around Aberdeen.  This is very topical because for the past few years the Scottish Government has been seeking to encourage community-led activities.

How are the knowledge and information needs of crofters being addressed?

Rachel Creaney

For a number of years I have been interested in crofting and I recently had the chance to conduct some research on access to knowledge and information by crofters on Lewis, Skye and Harris.  In case you are not familiar with crofting, it is (loosely) a form of small-scale farming system...

What is “natural flood management”?

Kirsty Holstead

For several years I’ve been interested in “natural flood management” (NFM) and how to implement it.  When I started working on this topic, I thought I had a good understanding of what NFM was. If people asked me, I would have said that NFM includes a number of different...

“Enjoy the beaches!” – Perceptions and Reality of Social Science Research

Christopher Schulz

Have you heard about Cuiabá? It is the capital city of Mato Grosso, the third-largest Brazilian state, where I went for my PhD fieldwork. In my research, I am trying to understand the connection between multiple dimensions of water values and water governance in the Cuiabá River...

Venturing into the unknown– Natural flood management and uncertainty

Kirsty Holstead

Natural Flood Management (NFM) means working with or restoring natural processes in order to reduce flood risk. It can include many actions such as woodland creation to slow water flow and/or store water in the landscape to help reduce the risk of flooding downstream. NFM can deliver other...


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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.