Hutton Highlights, February 2018

Directors and Chief Executives from across the SEFARI institutes were called to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee in December on the matter of funding for related science and research. Their contributions appear to have been instrumental in the Committee recommending to Parliament that, if Scotland is to achieve its climate change targets, such funding should be increased and committed over longer time spans than has been the case in recent years. Contents 04 News Highlights 06 Awards, Accolades & Appointments 08 How many mountain hares are there in the uplands of Scotland? Who wants to know, and why? 10 Soft fruit’s medical potential under the microscope 12 Barley research news 15 Mapping soil organic carbon 16 Tackling rural challenges with social innovation 18 Space technology and Hutton expertise to provide clean water in Pakistan 20 Beating the ‘scourge’ of plastic waste 23 Dates for your Diary 18 08 12 16 2 Hutton Highlights February 2018 3 The James Hutton Institute magazine team Gillian Stirton, Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Adam Walker, Sarah Horne The James Hutton Institute is a well-respected and globally recognised research organisation delivering fundamental and applied science to drive the sustainable use of land and natural resources. @JamesHuttonInst /JamesHuttonInstitute /JamesHuttonInstitute Introduction Welcome to our first edition of 2018... Professor Colin Campbell, Chief Executive of The James Hutton Institute and SEFARI Chair. Welcome to the second edition of Hutton Highlights; showcasing the past quarter’s stories, news and updates for colleagues, collaborators and friends of Hutton. There is always a vast array of material to cover - we’ve had to push our page count to 24 this issue; testament to all the interest, innovation and enquiry going on here. I’m always struck by the range of Hutton activities, how diverse the array of topics our work covers, and how our geographic involvements really do span virtually the entire world. The new global map of organic soil carbon epitomises that, but our crops work also touches at least four continents and ranges in scale from the molecular and genetic to landscape-level interests. If you boil it all down to purpose, it’s all about contributing to the sort of progress and the sort of future where nobody’s interests are prejudiced by the activities of someone else: that’s what the sustainable development goals and Hutton’s Science Challenges aspire to, and the more these are seen as realistic and shared rather than utopian, the easier it will be to bring them about. We remain keen to hear readers’ views and perspectives: click the COMMENTS button on any page to send them in. Please also explore the other live links and videos. As well as the contributors whose work is showcased here, our Funders deserve due credit and thanks for enabling all this admirable and valuable activity. Enjoy our new issue and please share it with anyone who may wish to subscribe. Science and Communications staff at the James Hutton Institute along with SEFARI colleagues hosted a week-long exhibition at Holyrood in January about their work and impact. The large, visually stunning display sparked masses of engagement with elected representatives, officials and visitors en route to the debating Chamber, and in particular with Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham. SEFARI’s My Food, Our World video pulls together an overview of some of the areas of food production and nutrition research that the six institutes are doing under the current Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme. Comments? SEFARI activity