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

Lab work at the James Hutton Institute (c) James Hutton Institute
“We are delighted to be able to support the Scottish Government in its ambition to deliver world-class agriculture, a quality environment, strong communities, and be globally recognised for its food and drink.

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.

More than £48 million is being invested during Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, £22.8m of which has been allocated to the James Hutton Group, which includes the James Hutton Institute (£21.1m) and Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland (£1.7m).

Mr Lochhead said: “Scotland is globally renowned as a land of science and innovation, and this funding will ensure we maintain our position at the very cutting edge of advances in agriculture, food and the environment.

“The Scottish Government continues to be a major funder of research in these fields, investing almost £50 million a year in research into crop science, animal health and welfare, human health and wellbeing and global challenges like food security and climate change.

“Our continued support will ensure Scotland will remain at the forefront of ground-breaking advances that have the potential to transform farming and food production in this country and across the world – building on the successes already achieved.”

Professor Louise Heathwaite, Chief Scientific Adviser for Rural Affairs and Environment said: “The Scottish Government continues to prioritise and fund strategic science that delivers the evidence base to support policy needs in the rural affairs, food and environment portfolio. Much of this research is delivered through the Scottish research institutes, and has allowed Scotland to build an enviable and unrivalled national capability in land-based science in terms of research platforms, critical infrastructures and skilled people.

“This national capability benefits the whole Scotland, adding value through partnerships with other research funders such as the UK Research Councils and the EU; with other areas of scientific expertise in Universities; and with users of science such as the farming community.”

Professor Bob Ferrier, Director of Research Impact at the James Hutton Institute, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the Scottish Government in its ambition to deliver world-class agriculture, a quality environment, strong communities, and be globally recognised for its food and drink.

“This programme enhances our ongoing collaboration and ensures that the best science and understanding is used to deliver the best outcomes for the people of Scotland.”

The funding supports three main strategic themes of research: Natural Assets; Productive & Viable Rural Economies; and Food, Health & Wellbeing. It will also support centres of expertise in animal disease outbreaks, climate change and water resources, with a new centre on plant health to be commissioned during the coming year.

Innovation projects, maintenance of important science infrastructure, including research facilities, data and living collections will also receive funding.

The majority of research is carried out by main research providers (MRPs), which are research institutes that focus on a wide range of rural and agricultural themes such as crop science, animal welfare, human health and wellbeing and global challenges like food security and climate change.

Notes to editors

Developments in knowledge and technology previously funded by the Scottish Government include:

  • Revolutionary research into methane from cattle, which paves the way for breeding lower-emission livestock and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
  • A breakthrough in the global fight against parasitic diseases in sheep with the development of a vaccine for the potentially deadly parasite, Barber’s Pole Worm, which is common in warmer climates.
  • Effective new techniques to prevent soil erosion following the harvest of potato crops using sediment fences, which has generated international interest from New Zealand, Poland and China and resulted in large scale trial in China’s Hunan Province.
  • Working with national and international food companies on the ingredients used in recipes including reformulating existing products so they are lower in salt, fat and sugar.
  • A mobile phone app that helps farmers and land managers improve soil by assessing its carbon content within seconds from a photo, developed by the James Hutton Institute in partnership with Quality Meat Scotland.

Besides the James Hutton Institute and Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland, the following MRPs have also been supported: Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health - £7.6m; Moredun Research Institute - £6.4m; Scotland’s Rural College  - £7.3m; collaboration with Higher Education Institutes - £4m.

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/james-hutton-group-awarded-%C2%A3228m-agriculture-food-and-environment-research on 22/03/19 09:06:06 PM

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.