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James Hutton Institute Blogs

What is rural community resilience?

Annie McKee

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

What rhymes with agri-environmental scheme?

Orla Shortall

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...

Innovating in the Wake of Disaster: Some Notes from Fukushima’s Nuclear Exclusion Zone

Jelte Harnmeijer

Social Innovation: Filling a void? Work on a big new EU project being led by the James Hutton Institute called ‘SIMRA’ got me thinking about where social innovation comes from. To me, a ‘social innovation’ involves a change to the roles of social actors, along with the...

Can Ecosystem Services & Natural Capital save the planet?

Scott Herrett

Before life as a research assistant in SEGS I had 15-year career in construction, when during the credit crunch a boss once said to me “you’re more interested in saving the planet than making a few quid”. The comment was partly made in jest after I had spent a ‘few quid...

Shaping Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas (SIMRA)

Maria Nijnik

As the Coordinator of the project "Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas" (SIMRA), I would like to share the latest news from a stakeholder workshop in Bratislava, 26-28 October, and to bring you up to date on our progress since we launched SIMRA in April.

Is co-creation more than participation?

Katrin Prager

Co-creation, and related terms like co-design, co-production, co-construction and co-innovation, are becoming increasingly popular. Upon closer scrutiny they share many characteristics with participatory processes. Is there a difference between the two – co-creation and participation...

“Quantitative Story Telling”: new method, same challenges for nexus policy studies

Kirsty Blackstock

In September I participated in a session entitled, “Be constructive! Situating sustainability research at the nexus of positivism and reflective positionality” during the RGS-IBG 2016 conference on ‘Nexus Thinking’. I told a story about telling a story. My story was about...

Introducing a stochastic decision support tool for anaerobic digestion projects

Yakubu Abdul-Salam

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a process by which micro-organisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen, leading to the production of biogas and bio-fertilisers. AD technologies convert the methane in biogas into (renewable) electricity and heat energy with a low carbon...

Informing rural policy in Scotland

Patricia Melo

This blog was written jointly with Jane Atterton from the Rural Policy Centre of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). We reflect on current goals in rural development and the implications for how these may be tackled and researched.

A critical reflection of ‘Octasynthesis’ as a tool for transdisciplinary thinking

Samuel Poskitt

Globally, societies face challenging and interconnected human and environmental problems. Many of these problems are mired in immense complexity, and involve bewildering networks of different drivers, all interacting with each other in diverse ways. Furthermore, these difficulties are compounded...


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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.