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Our work in the media: barley and social science

Professor Derek Stewart
"Why go for something as expensive as quinoa, for example, when you can get a nice protein level and a nice taste from barley? It's on your doorstep"

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 nutritional qualities of barley and demographic trends in Scotland's sparsely populated areas, respectively.

In a segment of BBC One programme Landward, filmed at our Dundee site, Professor Stewart described the advantages of eating barley. “We started eating barley thousands of years ago and I think we should go back to it. The Roman gladiators ate it and were extremely tough and healthy - for a short time, obviously.

“There are huge proven benefits from eating barley. It has a lot of dietary fiber, and if you've got four percent of this fiber into your diet, you can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It also keeps you full for longer and stops cholesterol re-absorption. Scotland has a wee bit of a problem with cardiovascular disease, so why don't we go for barley?”

Commenting on the versatility of barley, Professor Stewart added: "Anything you can do with other cereals, you can do with barley as well. Why go for something as expensive as quinoa, for example, when you can get a nice protein level and a nice taste from barley? It's on your doorstep."

The full interview with Professor Stewart can be viewed on the third episode of the 2018/19 season of Landward, which is available on iPlayer (UK only), and the segment starts from 6 minutes 23 seconds in.  

Likewise, Dr Andrew Copus, of our Social, Economic and Geographical sciences group, appeared in a recent episode of BBC Radio Scotland's Out of Doors programme to analyse research on Scotland's sparsely populated areas, which points towards a significant population decline by 2046 if current demographic trends are left unchanged.

“The underlying idea of the research is to understand better what's going on in terms of population change in remote and sparsely populated parts of Scotland. This includes about 50 percent of Scotland's land area but contains only less than 3 percent of our total population. These areas have experienced generations of decline and emigration.

"Unless things change, current trends mean these areas may lose a third of its working-age population over the next 30 years or so. What's happened is that, since the 1960s, the population of these areas is getting older and there is a smaller proportion of children and fertile-age groups, so over the next 20-30 years, unless something changes, there's no other possible outcome than a steady decline," Dr Copus said.

The segment of Out of Doors featuring Dr Copus can be listened to on the programme's iPlayer page (UK only), starting from 2 minutes 24 seconds into the episode.

Press and media enquiries: 

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/our-work-media-barley-and-social-science on 13/04/24 11:26:29 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.