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World Food Day: grow, nourish, sustain together… our actions are our future

In the last 75 years, the world has made great progress in the fight against poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. Agricultural productivity and food systems have come a long way, but still, too many people remain vulnerable. On World Food Day 2020, we must remember that more than 2 billion people do not have regular access to enough safe, nutritious food.

Now available: October 2020 issue of Hutton Highlights

The latest issue of Hutton Highlights, our quarterly review showing how Hutton science is driving the sustainable use of land and natural resources, is now available from our Hutton Highlights pages.

Read in our October 2020 issue:

Preserving UK soil microbial biodiversity for sustainable agriculture

Scientists from the UK’s foremost agricultural research organisations, including the James Hutton Institute, have teamed up to create a new UK Crop Microbiome Cryobank (UK-CMCB) to safeguard future research and facilitate the sustainable yield improvement of the UK’s six major food crops including barley, oats, oilseed rape, potato, sugar beet and wheat.

Germinate platform recognised as a global Hub for plant genetic research

A bioinformatics platform developed at the James Hutton Institute which allows users to import, visualize, explore and share project data for plant genetic resources has been recognised by being named a global ‘Hub Pilot’ by the DivSeek International Network Inc. (DivSeek International).

Hutton and Liberty Produce to transform modern agriculture through collaborative research and tech development

The James Hutton Institute and farming technology company Liberty Produce have been awarded UKRI funding to address the challenges of climate change and the food production yield-gap through an ambitious new project, which seeks to develop technologies to utilise captured carbon to boost yields of hydroponic crops. It builds on the growing collaboration between the Institute and Liberty, formalised in a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding.

Pioneering natural capital approach to land use management in the Scottish uplands

A pioneering analysis by James Hutton Institute social scientists explores the potential and value of applying a ‘natural capital’ approach to the land-based business of the Institute’s Glensaugh farm, where the aim is to demonstrate climate-positive farming.

New method to help project demographic changes in Scotland’s sparsely populated areas

Social scientists at the James Hutton Institute have developed a novel method to estimate future demographic change in Scotland’s sparsely populated areas, by considering geographical differences in employment structures and regional economic linkages, among other factors, to produce estimates of future labour migration in different regions. Initial results have been produced for a ‘baseline’ scenario of future employment change but refining this and the model assumptions, following Covid-19 and Brexit, could offer valuable projections for remote areas.

Innovative use of machine learning to forecast crop disease risk

Crop diseases can generate destructive outbreaks that have the potential to threaten global food security, which is why it is fundamental to have reliable data promptly available from disease surveillance programs and outbreak investigations. In many cases, however, only information on outbreaks is collected and data from surrounding healthy crops is omitted. Use of such data to develop models that can forecast risk/no-risk of disease is therefore problematic, as information relating to the no-risk status of healthy crops is missing.

MOVING: spotlight on value chains of mountains in Europe and beyond

Mountains cover 22% of the world's land surface and are home to about 915 million people. In Europe, mountain ranges cover 36% of the European area and play an essential role in the provision of public and private goods. Despite their relevance in both ecological and socioeconomic terms, mountains are still considered as ‘the undervalued ecological backbone of Europe’ because of a lack of updated and comparable knowledge about many aspects of these regions. 


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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.