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James Hutton Institute Blogs

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...

Can pollution source apportionment tools help deliver integrated catchment management?

Andy Vinten

‘Source Apportionment Methods’ (SAMs) are a way of estimating sources of water pollution and so inform efforts to improve water quality. This year the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is launching a source apportionment method called SAGIS for rivers in Scotland. 

Affordable housing versus rural tourism: The case of St Ives

Deb Roberts

Tourism is important for many rural economies.  Despite the fragility of visitor demand, often low paid seasonal employment, and potential adverse environmental effects, it brings income into areas which have limited alternative development opportunities.  However tourism can over-...

Is there a need for region-specific policies for malnutrition in Africa?

Yakubu Abdul-Salam

Malnutrition and undernourishment affect about 1 in 5 people in Africa and remains one of the most important public health problems in African countries. It is a major cause of stillbirths, wasting and stunting in children and low productivity in adults. Meanwhile, incomes across the...


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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.