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rural economy

Views sought on local issues and quality of life in Scottish communities (News)

Social scientists of the James Hutton Institute and Scotland's Rural College are seeking people’s views about wellbeing, local issues and quality of life in Scottish communities, in a drive to improve currently-available ... Read more

Hutton research contributes to parliamentary report on agriculture trends (News)

Researchers from the James Hutton Institute have contributed to a briefing produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) which outlines key drivers of global agricultural trends and the challenge of safegua ... Read more

Five NFU presidents to judge NEWBIE award for innovative new entrants (News)

National Farmers Union presidents from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have agreed to judge a new award for 'New Entrant Farm Business of the Year'. Minette Batters (NFU), Andrew McCornick (NFUS), Glyn Robert ... Read more

NEWBIE award to highlight Europe's best new farmers (News)

An innovation-focused award for ‘New Entrant Farm Business of the Year’ is opening this autumn to UK farmers, crofters and smallholders, as part of a suite of opportunities being offered across Europe to help new entra ... Read more

Scottish rivers are warming, Hutton research shows (News)

Scientists from the James Hutton Institute have found that waters in Scottish rivers are reaching record-breaking warm temperatures, which may have implications for rural economies across the country. By comparing historical rec ... Read more

Views sought on attitudes towards future of dairy farming in UK and Ireland (News)

There has been public controversy in recent years about indoor dairy farming. Research has found that the public are concerned about environmental and welfare implications of a move away from pasture-based systems towards more yea ... Read more

Modern dairying practices the subject of Edinburgh Fringe show (News)

Agriculture is changing. There is an increasing gap between how food is produced and public knowledge and values about agriculture. Dairy farming in the UK has changed from seasonal housing and grazing to around a fifth of farmers ... Read more

NEWBIE - New Entrant NetWork: Best New Entrant Business Award (Project)

  The Application Period for the 2018 Best New Entrant Award is Now Closed ... Read more

New research seeks to support sustainable farm businesses in Europe (News)

New farmers can face quite a number of barriers in developing sustainable businesses, including access to land, labour, capital, housing, markets, networks and knowledge. A new Europe-wide research initiative aims to overcome thes ... Read more

Enhancing innovation in rural areas: Scotland’s experience (News)

What is the Scottish perspective on rural innovation, looking forward with the recent launch of the Rural Innovation Support Service (RISS)? That was the focus of a workshop organised by the Scottish Representation to the European ... Read more

Hundreds visit Glensaugh farm on Open Farm Sunday (News)

The James Hutton Institute again took part in Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) Open Farm Sunday, the annual celebration of the story behind our food and how farming underpins our everyday lives. This time, hundreds turned up ... Read more

Research and innovation that underpin Scotland’s larder – come and see it at the Royal Highland Show 2018 (News)

The Royal Highland Show (21-24 June 2018) is one of Scotland's most iconic events and showcases not only the very best of farming food and rural life, but also the research and innovation that underpin Scotland’s food an ... Read more

Scottish social innovation in focus (News)

How can social innovation change the face of rural areas in Scotland? What are the most appropriate approaches, methods and tools to assess social innovation? What does policy support of social innovation mean in the Scottish cont ... Read more

Scientists and experts team up for new Plant Health Centre (News)

More than 60 experts and stakeholders from the diverse worlds of forestry, horticulture, the environment and agriculture gathered at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to hear about the aims and vision of a new virtual Plant Healt ... Read more

Land access a critical barrier for new farmers in Scotland (News)

Land access issues, including limited availability of tenancies, are a critical barrier for new entrants to agriculture in Scotland, according to a new report commissioned by the Scottish Land Commission and authored by James Hutt ... Read more

Social Innovation in rural areas in Scotland (Event)

In fields as diverse as community land ownership, social care, social housing provision, cultural services and environmental projects, social innovation is driving place-based rural development. In the context of the SIMRA researc ... Read more

Our work in the media: barley and social science (News)

The science of the James Hutton Institute continues to attract the interest of the media. This time, Professor Derek Stewart and Dr Andrew Copus were featured in recent BBC programmes, in which they discussed research on the nutri ... Read more

Scottish researchers to present at international rural development conference (News)

Researchers from the James Hutton Institute and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), both part of the SEFARI collective, will be among the speakers at this week’s Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OEC ... Read more

Scotland’s sparsely populated areas confronted by demographic challenges (News)

New research commissioned by the Scottish Government and conducted by the James Hutton Institute estimates that Scotland’s sparsely populated areas are at risk of losing more than a quarter of their population by 2046 if cur ... Read more

Natural Flood Management Network launched (News)

A new website aiming to become a sharing platform for policymakers, researchers, scientists and anyone interested in the use of landscape features to reduce flood risk has been launched today. ... Read more

Barriers to women in agriculture challenged during presentation at Scottish Parliament (News)

Evidence of significant barriers to women’s careers in Scottish agriculture has been presented at the Scottish Parliament by social researchers from Newcastle University and the James Hutton Institute. The presentation, sp ... Read more

NEFERTITI: Networking European Farms to Enhance Cross Fertilisation and Innovation Uptake through Demonstration (2018-2021) (Project)

NEFERTITI will establish an EU-wide highly connected network of well-specified demonstration and pilot farms, which is designed to enhance thematic knowledge exchange, cross fertilisation among actors and efficient innovation upta ... Read more

NEWBIE - New Entrant netWork: Business models for Innovation, entrepreneurship and resilience in European agriculture (2018-2021) (Project)

The overall goal of the NEWBIE network is to enable new entrants to successfully establish sustainable farm businesses in Europe. ... Read more

The challenge of marginal land: efficient utilisation of the managed natural environment (News)

Research projects aiming to provide land managers with alternatives for efficient land management of upland systems will be presented at an event titled "The Challenge of Marginal Land: efficient utilisation of the managed na ... Read more

Potential of social innovation in focus at international forest research conference (News)

The potential offered by social innovation to improve the livelihoods of remote forest-dependent communities will be at the centre of discussions during a special session of the 125th Anniversary Congress of the International Unio ... Read more

What will become of Scotland's moors? (News)

Research by James Hutton Institute scientists to explore issues associated with land use in Scotland has been featured in the May 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine. The article, titled “What Will Become of Scotlan ... Read more

European social innovation research presented at international event (News)

A Hutton-led research project studying social challenges faced by rural areas across Europe and the wider Mediterranean area was presented at the fifth CRISES (Centre de recherche sur les innovations sociales) international confer ... Read more

Community screening of Grazing on the Edge (Event)

Common grazings cover 6% of Scotland, supporting High Nature Value habitats like upland grasslands, and a distinct culture of crofting and traditional hill grazing. But declining agricultural incomes and demographic change have me ... Read more

Scottish honeys ‘exceptional’ in fight against superbugs (News)

Certain Scottish honeys have shown antimicrobial activities equal to that of commercial ‘super-honeys’ and may be useful in the ongoing fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, scientists at the James Hutton Instit ... Read more

Too many deer in Scotland? Hutton expertise contributes to deer management inquiry (News)

Deer are iconic species in Scotland and provide a key ecological resource for the tourism, hunting and food industries. However, at high densities their impact can be detrimental to some habitats. Are the right policies and incent ... Read more

Europe-wide network aims to showcase on-farm innovation (News)

Researchers at the James Hutton Institute and collaborators from across Europe have announced the start of a project which aims to increase farmers’ access to demonstrations of best practices and innovation in agriculture. ... Read more

Research collaboration to assess impact of flooding on people and communities (News)

Researchers at the James Hutton Institute and the University of Aberdeen are collaborating on a three-year research project to understand the long-term impacts of flooding on people and communities, one year on from the December 2 ... Read more

Hutton Criteria for potato late blight risk analysis unveiled at AHDB conference (News)

New risk criteria which aim to transform the performance of potato late blight alert systems were revealed today (7th December) at AHDB’s Agronomists’ Conference in Peterborough. Arising from research undertaken by t ... Read more

Decision to keep beavers in Scotland welcomed by Hutton scientists (News)

Scientists at the James Hutton Institute have welcomed the Scottish Government's decision to allow beavers to remain in Argyll and Tayside as a protected species, but warned continued long-term monitoring and active manag ... Read more

Hutton innovation and excellence recognised at 2016 Perthshire Chamber of Commerce Awards (News)

The inventiveness and effort of staff at the James Hutton Institute were recognised with a score of awards - including the top prize - at the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce Business Star Awards, held at the Crieff Hydro with over ... Read more

Short film to highlight crofting's contribution to environmental management (News)

The contribution crofters and island farmers make to managing land of high nature value will be the focus of a short film and following panel discussion planned for 7.30 pm on Thursday 10th November in the Aros centre, Portree on ... Read more

Stochastic Anaerobic Digestion Economic Assessment Tool (Research Page)

What is anaerobic digestion? Anaerobic digestion 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. Anaerobic digestion tech ... Read more

Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas (SIMRA) (Project)

SIMRA seeks to fill the significant knowledge gap in understanding and enhancing social innovation in marginalised rural areas by advancing the state-of-the-art in Social Innovation (SI) and connected governance mechanisms in agri ... Read more

Research partnership set to unearth secrets of profitable soils throughout rotation (News)

Four new projects addressing challenges in soil and water management across whole rotations have been awarded £1.2m in funding from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). The interrelated projects will ... Read more

Social innovation to promote rural growth across Europe and the Mediterranean (News)

Scientists from across Europe and the wider Mediterranean area met at the James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, to mark the start of a 4-year project addressing some of the most important social challenges faced by rural areas. The So ... Read more

Building mycological capacity for sustainable resource management in Laos (News)

A research project that aims to develop mycological capacity and promote sustainable resource management in the Lao People's Democratic Republic has made significant progress, with two researchers from the National University ... Read more

James Hutton Group awarded £22.8m for agriculture, food and environment research (News)

Scotland will remain at the forefront of ground-breaking advances in farming and food production as a result of continued Scottish Government funding for scientific research, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has said. Mo ... Read more

Nature conservation vs ecosystem services – what’s the trade-off? (News)

There has been a renewed drive in nature conservation policy in recent years, but is it coming at the expense of limitations in the delivery of the many services that our ecosystems provide, such as tourism and recreation, provisi ... Read more

Prospects for North East Scotland’s land-based industries outlined in report (News)

Is the land-based sector in North East Scotland resilient enough to face future challenges? This question, along with many others, is at the centre of a report commissioned by the North East Scotland Agricultural Advisory Group (N ... Read more

Flood resilience best gained when solutions come together (News)

Scientists at the James Hutton Institute have welcomed the announcement made by the Scottish Government of an action plan worth £235 million to protect 10,000 properties from flooding in Scotland. However, Dr Marc Stutter, r ... Read more

UK-India link-up to tackle food security challenges through nitrogen fixation (News)

Scientists in India and the UK are joining forces to help solve urgent food security issues in the Asian country by establishing a virtual centre that will investigate how to reduce the use of fertilisers and engineer nitrogen fix ... Read more

UK increasingly 'outsourcing' environmental impacts of its food supply (News)

A new study from researchers at the James Hutton Institute, the University of Aberdeen, the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health and the Alpen-Adria University in Vienna shows that the UK’s food self-sufficiency has decr ... Read more

Farming press key support for renewable technology decision making (News)

Farming papers are a key source of information for farmers interested in novel technology such as renewable energy, social scientists at the James Hutton Institute have found. Melf-Hinrich Ehlers, applied economist at the Instit ... Read more

SRUC-SEPA Conference: What Future for our Farming Systems? Environmental Challenges and Integrated Solutions (Event)

Farming systems across Scotland, the UK and Europe can vary markedly from place to place. A range of factors can influence what types of production are practiced in any one place. However, climate and soil type are especially impo ... Read more

Genomics, Gene Discovery and Genome Editing in Crops (Event)

Diverse climatic and geographical zones in Peru are home to a great variety of crops (e.g., potatoes, quinoa, asparagus, and coffee). Recent advances in genomics and biotechnology offer great potential to address biotic and abioti ... Read more

SEGS research notes and reports (Research Page)

Researchers in SEGS have created a series of short research notes to communicate the findings of some of our recent research projects.  Please click on the titles below to view research notes and reports. ... Read more

Understanding barriers to community land-based activities in Scotland (News)

Many types of community activity in Scotland, such as the development of community gardens, housing projects, and renewable energy initiatives, require access to land. However, the transfer of land rights and responsibilities from ... Read more

Hutton scientists investigate unique flavour of seaweed delicacy (News)

In a collaboration with the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS), scientists at the James Hutton Institute are investigating the basis of the peppery flavour of the seaweed pepper dulse (Osmundea pinnatifida). The unique ... Read more

Soft fruit researchers help develop Orkney wines (News)

Scientists at the James Hutton Institute are working with Orkney-based winemakers and the Agronomy Institute of the University of the Highlands and Islands in Orkney to identify fruit that can be used to make unique wines in the n ... Read more

European sociologists meet in Aberdeen to discuss rural challenges (News)

How can people in rural areas thrive during times of rapid, transformational change? How can rural Europe cope with the many pressures arising from globalisation, migration, deregulation and the effects of neoliberal policies? Ove ... Read more

‘Waterman of India’ wins 2015 Stockholm Water Prize (News)

Rajendra Singh, the ‘Waterman of India’, has been named the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for his innovative river restoration efforts, improving water security in rural India, and for showing extraordinary coura ... Read more

Socio-economic performance of rural Scotland highlighted in new research (News)

The Scottish Government has unveiled today the 2015 edition of its Rural Scotland Key Facts publication, which includes a reference to a report on Socio-Economic Performance (SEP) authored by two researchers from the Social, Econo ... Read more

RSA MCICH Festival of Ideas (Event)

The James Hutton Institute is delighted to support the forthcoming Festival of Ideas, organised by the RSA Fellows' Media, Creative Industries, Culture and Heritage (MCICH) Network. The event will take place at St ... Read more

Mexico and UK in joint effort against plant diseases (News)

Plant diseases cost the world enough food to feed at least half a billion people, equivalent to 100 times the population of Scotland, every year. The interaction between plants, microbes and insects is a key battleground in the gl ... Read more

Decline in wheat yields likely due to changing climate (News)

Global wheat production can be expected to fall by 6% for each degree centigrade of temperature increase together with increased variability of yield across regions and seasons; that is the main finding of an international consort ... Read more

Policy and Research Briefs (Research Page)

The briefs described on this page are either hosted on the knowledgescotland website, or are available for direct download (pdf format). ... Read more

Climate change will have far reaching effects on UK agriculture (News)

With 2014 reported as the warmest year since records began, continuing a strong trend in recent years, we ignore the implications for agriculture in the UK in the medium to long term at our peril. The issue is not just the rising ... Read more

MANECO (Project)

Managing ecosystem services in low alpine cultural landscapes through livestock grazing Current tree-lines in Norway are heavily depressed by land uses associated with traditional (agri-) cultural practices, but reduced intens ... Read more

RURALREIN (Project)

Reindeer herding and commodification of the outfields in Southern Sami areas- Challenges to established rights and practices (RURALREIN) ... Read more

Food security group wins major funding for world-leading food and land research (News)

The Scottish Food Security Alliance-Crops (SFSA-C), a collaborative venture between the University of Aberdeen, the James Hutton Institute and the University of Dundee, has been awarded prestigious funding to research the global l ... Read more

Value of community projects discussed at energy conference (News)

The value of community-owned renewables to local economies was the focus of a presentation made by Professor Deb Roberts from the James Hutton Institute at Community Energy Scotland’s 2014 conference, which was opened by Fer ... Read more

Potato variety Mayan Gold successfully released in Kenya (News)

Researchers from the James Hutton Institute and Kenyan institutions have successfully introduced popular UK potato cultivar Mayan Gold in Kenya, in an effort to boost food security and strengthen potato production systems in the E ... Read more

TRANSGRASS: A transdisciplinary platform and toolkit for understanding and managing grasslands as socio-ecological systems (Project)

TRANSGRASS innovatively combined collaborative video, interactive Touchtable technology, and ecological surveys with a series of workshops to develop a transdisciplinary platform for the integration of contested for ... Read more

John Swinney MSP visits to find out more on research and innovation (News)

Mr John Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North, visited yesterday the James Hutton Institute in Invergowrie to learn about ongoing world leading scientific research in crops and climate change, as well as its commercial impact in local ... Read more

Whisky research from land to bottle at Royal Highland Show (News)

The future of Scotland’s national drink is being boosted by scientists at the James Hutton Institute. Their work across many fronts aims to ensure the sustainability and continued success of Scotch whisky, one of the world&r ... Read more

European Society for Rural Sociology chooses Aberdeen for 2015 congress (News)

The James Hutton Institute, in partnership with Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC), are proud to announce that the European Society for Rural Sociology (ESRS) have chosen Aberdeen as the host city for their 2015 ... Read more

The Atlantic Maritime Croplands – sustainability and environment (Research Page)

A case study on sustainable agriculture and the environment at the James Hutton Institute ... Read more

Vibrant Rural Communities workshop (Research Page)

A workshop was held at Birnam Arts and Conference Centre on 20 November 2013 to provide an update on research being conducted as part of the Vibrant Rural Communities theme of the Food, Land and People Strategic Research programme ... Read more

HUNTing for Sustainability (Project)

Project aim The overall goal of the project ‘Hunting for Sustainability’ was to assess the social, cultural, economic and ecological functions and impacts of hunting across a broad range of contexts in Europe and Afr ... Read more

Sustainable Estates for the 21st Century (Project)

The overall aim of the project was to align upland estate management in Scotland with the concept of sustainability. Funding was provided by the Henry Angest Foundation and it ran from 2007-2011.     Project Object ... Read more

Technology to support Older adults – Personal and Social interaction (TOPS) (Project)

The aim of this project was to develop technology to maximise personal and social interaction between older adults with chronic pain and their health and social care providers. Funding was provided by the Research Councils ... Read more

OrkCEmP - Orkney Community Empowerment Project (Project)

Project aim Orkney Community Empowerment Project (OrkCEmP) is part of the RESAS Theme 8 (Work Package 8.2) work on 'Governance and Decision-making for community empowerment in rural communities', running from 2011-2 ... Read more

FarmPath – Farming Transitions: Pathways towards regional sustainability of agriculture in Europe (Project)

The overall goal of FarmPath is to identify and assess future transition pathways towards regional sustainability of agriculture in Europe, and the social and technological innovation needs required to initiate and progress along ... Read more

Prospects for Farmers’ Support: Advisory Services in European AKIS (PRO AKIS) (Project)

In times of changing conditions, with strong pressure from markets and citizens to adjust and innovate, farmers need timely access to knowledge and information, to training and education, and to facilitating and supporting service ... Read more

The LandscapePartners Project (Project)

This research project aimed to identify, analyse and assess the contribution of multi-stakeholder partnerships to the sustainable management of rural landscapes and to the well-being of communities in three European countries. In ... Read more

Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Researcher in Agri-Environmental Approaches
sharon.flanigan@hutton.ac.uk
+44 (0)1224 395301

The James Hutton Institute
Craigiebuckler
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK

 

I am a qualitative social scientist with a background in rural topics, primarily focussing on aspects of agriculture, tourism, and networking in rural areas. I completed my PhD ‘Developing and applying a framework for agritourism’ at The Macaulay Institute and University of Aberdeen in 2011.

Current research interests

Demonstration activities on commercial farms

Investigation of on-farm demonstration activities through case studies across Europe to look at governance, motivations, practices and application of lessons learned at individual and community levels. This research is being undertaken as part of EU H2020 PLAID (Peer-to-peer Learning: Accessing Innovation through Demonstration) (2017-2019) and RESAS agricultural systems and land management theme (2016-2021).

New entrants to farming

Developing a network to support new entrants to agriculture and identification and dissemination of new business and entry models and innovation in the sector. This work is being conducted under EU H2020 Newbie (New Entrant network: Business models for Innovation, entrepreneurship and resilience in European agriculture) (2018-2021).

Landscape-scale agri-environmental approaches

Investigation of agri-environmental approaches from a social perspective to explore how they may be applied to achieve multiple benefits and protect natural assets. This work is being conducted as part of RESAS integrated and sustainable management of natural assets theme (2016-2021).

Past research

Collaboration in machinery rings

This project explored machinery rings as a form of agricultural cooperative, which have emerged and evolved into large collaborative institutions since they were introduced in Scotland in the late 1980s. This formed part of a wider investigation of transitions in agriculture being undertaken in the EU FP7 FarmPath (Farming Transitions: Pathways towards regional sustainability of agriculture in Europe) project (2011-2014) and RESAS Environmental Change: Land Use research theme (2011-2016).

Developing social capital and reciprocity in agritourism communities

This project explored various aspects of social capital development and capital conversion towards understanding the role of social learning groups in supporting small businesses and the people behind them. This formed part of the RESAS Environmental Change: Economic Adaptation research theme (2011-2016).

Developing and applying a framework for agritourism

My PhD project first sought to enhance conceptual understanding of agritourism through development of a theoretical typology, which I then applied in Scotland to explore what drives different types of agritourism and how that can help to understand the public and private benefits generated. This project was funded by The Macaulay Development Trust (2008-2011).

Exploring economic and legislative aspects of deer management

This project included investigation of collaborative practices, venison production, and legislation to better understand the drivers and barriers affecting deer management in the UK. This research was undertaken as part of the RELU Collaborative frameworks in land management project (2006-2009).

Bibliography

  • Flanigan, S.; Matthews, K.B., (2013) Planning to succeed agritourism (2011-2014). Mid-programme evaluation., Report to Scottish Enterprise, June 2013.
  • Matthews, K.B.; Artz, R.R.E.; Birch, A.N.E.; Blackstock, K.L.; Brooker, R.; Brown, I.; Cummins, R.; Flanigan, S.; Hallet, P.; Irvine, R.J.; Kenyon, W.; Pakeman, R.J., Prager, K.; Slee, B.; Squire, G.; Stutter, M.; Sutherland, L.; Thomson, K.; Towers, W.; Vinten, A.J.A., (2012) Developing agri-environmental measures for the next Scottish Rural Development Programme: a summary of relevant research findings from the James Hutton Institute., Report to the Scottish Government, Natural Resources Division, SRDP Technical Working Group (Agri-Environment), 11pp, 25 June 2012.
  • Flanigan, S.; Holstead, K.L., (2012) Results of focus group discussions to explore members' perceptions of machinery rings in relation to change, collaboration and sustainability., Report to Borders Machinery Ring (BMR): Summary of findings for machinery ring stakeholders.
  • Flanigan, S.; Holstead, K.L., (2012) Results of focus group discussions to explore members' perceptions of machinery rings in relation to change, collaboration and sustainability, Report to Ringlink: Summary of findings for machinery ring stakeholders.
  • Flanigan, S., (2012) Planning to succeed agritourism: Participants circumstances and expectations in year 1., Report to Scottish Enterprise, The Collection Limited and Planning to Succeed Group.

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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.