Behavioural Change & Innovation

Wind turbines DumfriesWe are a small, interdisciplinary team with expertise in behavioural economics, extension science and psychometric evaluation.  Our aim is to create behavioural change within the Land Use Sector in relation to the uptake of environmental and efficiency related technologies.

Work within the team applies qualitative and quantitative approaches to eliciting attitudes, values and intentions within the land use sectors but also covers metrics of performance, e.g., efficiency measurement, as a means of assessing how behaviours have changed over time.

We also investigates behavioural change with regard to other issues, such as public attitudes/behaviour as regards sustainable consumption (e.g., animal welfare and environmental/climate change impacts). 

Our work is focused on research and analysis of farmer uptake of technologies which will lead to a low carbon, ‘climate smart’ future. We have studied a range of farmer attitudes/ perceptions/ behaviour to a range of stimuli related to this, such as climate change, animal welfare/health, agricultural policy instruments and water quality.

Other recent and ongoing work, based on developing metrics of performance, include measurement of farm level efficiencies at the Scotland, UK and European Union level; adjusting measures of efficiency for other ecosystems services such as pollution and animal welfare and developing conceptual approaches and measures for understanding sustainable intensification.

Assessing the barriers to uptake of Integrated Pest Management in Scotland
A workshop was held with farmers, maltsters, scientists and policy interests in February 2018 at the James Hutton Institute with the purpose of exploring the barriers to uptake of IPM toolboxes. In order to understand the barriers to adoption of an IPM toolbox the context needs to be established. The first task in the co-innovation workshop was to identify the supply chain and influences within which the eventual end-users operate. This was conducted through a 2 hour mapping exercise with participants, representing a range of interests to map the barley supply chain. Moreover, whilst the main actors were identified the flows between agents was also identified, in terms the what is transferred, e.g. seed, or transactions, e.g. money. A report of the findings was produced, which identified the significance of the consumer and processor in the Scottish barley supply chain and therefore any IPM solutions for barley must consider the end-users requirements.
Output: A report entitled ‘Assessing the barriers to uptake of Integrated Pest Management in Scotland’ (click here to download ) was produced and the information will be used influence the design of future decision support tools for IPM in barley in which the needs of the processor and consumer are considered.


Recent and forthcoming papers

  • Barnes, A.P., Rutherford, K.M.D., Langford, F.M. and Haskell, M.J. (2011).  The impact of lameness prevalence on dairy farm level technical efficiency: An adjusted data envelopment analysis approach, Journal of Dairy Science, Vol. 94, Issue 11
  • Barnes, A.P. and Toma, L. (2011).  A typology of dairy farmer perceptions towards climate change.  Climatic Change (forthcoming)
  • Sutherland, L-A., Barnes, A.P., McCrum, G., Blackstock, K. and Toma, L.  (2011).  Towards a cross-sectoral analysis of land use decision-making:  Evidence from Scotland. Landscape and Urban Planning 100 (2011) 1–10
  • Barnes, A.P., Willock, J., Toma, L. and Hall, C (2011).  Utilising a farmer typology to understand farmer behaviour towards water quality management: Nitrate Vulnerable Zones in Scotland. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 54 (4) 477-482
  • Toma, L., Stott, A.W., Revoredo-Giha, C., Kupiec-Teahan, B. (2011). Consumers and animal welfare: a comparison between European Union countries. Appetite (in press)
  • Toma, L., McVittie, A., Hubbard, C., Stott, A. (2011). A structural equation model of the factors influencing British consumers’ behaviour towards animal welfare. Journal of Food Products Marketing 17(2), 261 – 278
  • Barnes, A., Willock, J., Hall, C., Toma, L., 2009. Farmer perspectives and practices regarding water pollution control programmes in Scotland. Agricultural Water Management 96(12), 1715-1722
  • Toma, L., Mathijs, E., Environmental Risk Perception, Environmental Concern and Propensity to Participate in Organic Farming Programmes, Journal of Environmental Management 83(2), 2007, 145–157

Current papers under development

  • Barnes, A.P.  An assessment of the potential for sustainable intensification within the Scottish farming sector
  • Barnes, A.P. and Shortall, O.  The effect of attitudes and behaviours on farm-level efficiency
  • Barnes, A.P., Islam, M.K. and Toma, L.  Islands of moderation: farmers responses to climate change targets
  • Toma, L., Sutherland, L-A., Barnes, A., Renwick, A., McCrum, G., Blackstock, K., 2011. Policy Implications of a Behavioural Economics Analysis of Land Use Determinants in Rural Scotland. Contributed paper. EAAE 2011 Congress ‘Change and Uncertainty Challenges for Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources August’. September 2011, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Toma, L., Barnes, A., Renwick, A., 2011. Scottish dairy farmers and animal welfare – a behavioural analysis. Paper presented at the AES meeting, April 2011, Warwick
  • Toma, L., Barnes, A., Renwick, A., 2010. An Analysis of Milk Quota Abolition Impact on Scottish Farmers’ Behaviour. 114th EAAE Seminar “Structural Change in Agriculture: Modeling Policy Impacts and Farm Strategies”, Berlin, Germany, April 2010

Prof Andrew Barnes

Team Leader - Behavioural Change & Innovation

Address: Land Economy, Environment & Society, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG.

Telephone: 0131 535 4042