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Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme:2016-21

The Scottish Government is investing around £48m a year over 2016-2021 into a portfolio of Strategic Research to ensure that Scotland maintains its position at the very cutting edge of advances in agriculture, food and the environment.  This will continue to build an evidence base to support policy needs in the rural affairs, food and environment portfolio and contribute to the delivery of National Outcomes and the Scottish Government's Purpose.

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Fruit for the Future 2020 (Event)

Fruit for the Future is one of the James Hutton Institute’s most successful and long-running industry events and is aimed at farmers, agronomists, representatives of the food and drink industries, researchers and others inte ... Read more

Enhancing food security (Project)

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 requires every local authority to prepare a food growing strategy for its region to identify areas that could be used to grow food, and to describe how community growing, especially in ... Read more

Scottish fire danger rating system (SFDRS) (Project)

Summary This project aims to establish a robust approach for adapting the Canadian Fire Weather Index (a forest fire danger rating system) to Scottish moorland vegetation types.This will involve determining the suitability of ex ... Read more

Fruit for the Future 2019 (Event)

Fruit for the Future is one of the James Hutton Institute’s most successful and long-running industry events and is aimed at farmers, agronomists, representatives of the food and drink industries, researchers and others inte ... Read more

Plant Teams Field Lab: heritage grains and crop innovation for crofters (News)

The James Hutton Institute is teaming up with Soil Association Scotland and Scotland's Rural College for a special crofting meeting of the Plant Teams Field Lab event series on the Isle of Lismore, looking at how intercropping ... Read more

Urban Greenspace Natural Capital Accounting (Project)

Urban Greenspace provides many benefits to urban residents, including access to areas for recreation and socialising, as well as providing areas for biodiversity, carbon sequestration, or flood regulation. As populations become mo ... Read more

Learning and Change Through Monitor Farms (Project)

This research explores principles underlying learning and change in relation to facilitated peer-to-peer learning opportunities, such as Monitor Farms. In this work we reflect on features associated with successful on-farm demonst ... Read more

James Hutton Institute unveils Hydro Nation International Centre (News)

As part of Scotland’s continued efforts to become the world’s first Hydro Nation – one that manages its water environment to the best advantage and uses its expertise at home and internationally - the James Hutto ... Read more

Celebrating Hutton Women in Science (News)

To mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the James Hutton Institute is highlighting its recently published ‘Women in Science’ booklet, which spotlights the roles of 21 of its 204 female scientists. ... Read more

Potato scientists unravel genetics of tuber skin and flesh colour (News)

Potato tuber skin and flesh colours are attractive traits for consumers and frequently influence purchase choices. In a new study, scientists of the James Hutton Institute have identified a genetic molecule that regulates the prod ... Read more

James Hutton Institute wins VIBES climate change award (News)

The James Hutton Institute has won a VIBES – Scottish Environment Business award in the Adaptation to Climate Change category, on account of the work of Hutton researchers in farm innovations to protect the environment, rene ... Read more

Delineating critical zones of riparian processes and setting effective buffer areas using spatial data (Research Page)

Introduction The riparian zone occupies the critical interface between land and watercourses where processes have great potential to influence stream and river biogeochemical and ecological conditions and is a key management loc ... Read more

Hutton researcher success in Converge Challenge 2018 (News)

Hutton scientist Peter Orrell and his product MycoNourish have been announced as runners-up in the 2018 Converge Challenge, Scotland's leading higher education company creation programme, at a ceremony held yesterday in Edinbu ... Read more

James Hutton Institute acknowledges V&A Dundee’s impact (News)

The transformational power of the first-ever dedicated design museum in Scotland and the only other V&A museum anywhere in the world outside London was beyond doubt, even before it opened. The James Hutton Institute would like ... Read more

Shortlist announced for 2018 Nature of Scotland Awards (News)

Over 300 members of the conservation community will meet at the Nature of Scotland Awards 2018 ceremony to celebrate the people and projects that are going the extra mile to support Scottish nature conservation, with the James Hut ... Read more

Calling on farmers and field managers: join the Plant Teams Field Lab (News)

The James Hutton Institute is teaming with Soil Association Scotland and Scotland's Rural College to work with farmers in a Field Lab to trial crop mixtures or ‘plant teams’. Field Labs are free to attend and open ... Read more

Hutton research reflected in Hydro Nation 2018 report (News)

Work by James Hutton Institute water researchers has been reflected in the latest Scotland: The Hydro Nation Annual Report, which provides an outline of activities carried out by the Scottish Government and partners under the Hydr ... Read more

Modelling of phosphorus pollution risk to watercourses in Scotland using Bayesian Belief Networks (Research Page)

PhosphoRisk model Phosphorus (P) pollution is a major cause of surface water quality failures in Scotland. However, process-based modelling of P pollution is often hampered by lack of available data that would allow plausible re ... Read more

Modelling the hydrological effects of in-channel leaky barriers for flood risk and natural flood management (Research Page)

Background In-stream ‘leaky barrier’ placement (e.g. log jams, flow restrictors) for reducing flood risk downstream has become more common. Accurate numerical modelling of their effects on water flow, is useful for p ... Read more

Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences and James Hutton Institute establish collaborative links (News)

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China, and the James Hutton Institute, during the 2018 UK-China Potato Science and Technology Innovation Cooperation Conference, ... Read more

MycoNourish announced as finalist of Converge Challenge 2018 (News)

MycoNourish, a product designed by Hutton scientist Peter Orrell, has been announced as finalist of the Converge Challenge 2018, Scotland's leading higher education company creation programme. ... 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

James Hutton Group welcomes UK-China seed potato deal (News)

The James Hutton Institute and its commercial subsidiary, James Hutton Limited, have welcomed a deal which will allow the UK to export seed potato to China. The agreement, signed by International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox duri ... Read more

Crop mixtures and evolution can improve agricultural productivity (News)

Farmers and land managers can improve agricultural productivity by using crop mixtures and taking into consideration the role of evolution in shaping the plants they grow, new research by James Hutton Institute scientists and part ... 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

Theme 1: Natural Assets (Project)

Context ... Read more

Reviewing the coverage of the current agri-environment scheme (Project)

To help reverse the widespread declines in biodiversity seen over the last century, a range of agri-environmental schemes have been run in Scotland; currently efforts fall under the Agri-Environment and Climate Scheme (AECS) that ... Read more

Managing the uplands for biodiversity (Project)

Management of the uplands is largely carried out through manipulating the numbers of livestock and of wild herbivores such as red deer. Changes in livestock numbers over recent years have been driven through changing methods and r ... Read more

Crop Diversity (Project)

Introduction ... Read more

Monitoring and Evaluation for Ecosystem Management (MEEM) - Comparing theory and practice across Europe (Project)

Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) is an essential part of the process of adaptive management, the process of learning from our actions in order to update and improve future ecosystem management.  Across Europe we have a n ... Read more

RD 1.1.4 Soil management (Project)

  We aim to support the sustainable use and management of Scotland’s soil resource by providing new tools to predict how soil functions respond to land use, management and environmental pressures. These decision suppo ... Read more

RD 1.1.3 Soil and net GHG emissions (Project)

A recent analysis showed that Scotland is one of the higher per capita emitters. TheScottish Government wishes to reduce its net Greenhouse gas emissions and move towards a low-carbon economy in a sustainable way and it passed the ... Read more

RD 1.1.2 Soil resilience to change (Project)

  We will produce novel models of key soil ecosystems and functions for the major, semi-natural habitats in Scotland (alpine, moorland, peatland, forest, grasslands and low input arable Soil functions rely on a number of so ... Read more

RD 1.1.1 Soil and its ecosystem function (Project)

The capacity of soils to provide ecosystem services are affected by complex interactions between biological, physical and chemical components of the soil Understanding these interactions and their consequences for soil functions ... Read more

RD 1.2.4 Effectiveness of water management (Project)

This project contains several strands of research that focus on how can enable and implement improvements in water management.  It draws on a mixture of disciplinary skills and expertises, particularly the social sciences.&nb ... Read more

RD 1.2.1 Water and its ecosystem functions (Project)

RD 1.2.1: Water and its ecosystem functions will address the questions: ... Read more

RD 1.3.4 Biodiversity management (Project)

Researchers from the James Hutton Institute, Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh are working together to address key knowledge gaps in the development and implementation of biodiversity manag ... Read more

RD 1.3.3 Resilience of ecosystems and biodiversity (Project)

Three key biophysical and environmental drivers of biodiversity and ecosystem function are: ... Read more

RD 1.3.2 Ecosystem services supply (Project)

Our work aims to improve our understanding of the impact of management interventions on flows of benefits from ecosystems. Woodlands A multidisciplinary team at the James Hutton Institute and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh ... Read more

RD 1.3.1 Biodiversity and ecosystem function (Project)

Researchers at the James Hutton Institute and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh are working together to provide scientific evidence to underpin the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy. The key objectives of the research are to: ... Read more

RD 1.2.3 Water environment, resilience and adaptation to change (Project)

RD 1.2.3: Water environment resilience and adaptation to change considers components of natural and managed water systems (and their interactions), their responses to multiple stressors, aspects of risk vs resilience and control m ... Read more

SEFARI: leading ideas for better lives (News)

Businesses, charities, communities and policy-makers will benefit from easier access to environmental and agricultural research carried out in Scotland, thanks to a collective launched today. The collective – called Scotti ... Read more

Work Package 1.3: Biodiversity and Ecosystems (Project)

This Work Package addresses the challenge of protecting and restoring our natural capital – our biodiversity and ecosystems - by combining information on ecosystem function, delivery of benefits, resilience, and management p ... Read more

Work Package 1.2: Water (Project)

The work package combines evidence from catchment sites and experimental studies, catchment-scale modelling (assessing current water quantity and quality responses to pressures and predictions of future change), case studies of wa ... Read more

Work Package 1.1: Soils (Project)

Our soils provide many services or functions,  for example soils are essential for crop production but they also play an unseen role in limiting diffuse pollution to waters, storing organic carbon and reducing Green House Gas ... Read more

Balancing multiple goals in natural resource management (Project)

Our natural resources benefit society in many ways. Therefore, to achieve economic, social and environmental sustainability, management of natural resources must connect and consider multiple goals and issues.  However, many ... Read more

Behaviours in relation to rural diffuse pollution (Research Page)

Significant efforts and resources have been deployed to mitigate rural diffuse pollution through regulatory, guidance and voluntary measures. Despite these ongoing efforts, rural diffuse pollution remains a persisten problem. In S ... Read more

Developing a Facilitated Outcome-based Land Management (FOLM) web application (Project)

Objectives To develop an outcome-based approach to aid land manager decisions about benefits of agri-environment measures.   ... Read more

Exploring how to integrate goals for water management (Project)

There have been decades of calls for more integration in water and catchment management.  Many academic and policy documents state that improving integration should aid us in improving water management, particularly to effici ... Read more


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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.