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Rural Economy, Environment & Society


The vision for the Rural Economy, Environment and Society (REES) department is to be internationally-recognised leaders in economic, environmental and social research, benefiting agriculture, the environment and rural communities.

What we do

We are one of the largest groupings of economists and social scientists working in the rural, agricultural and land based sectors in the UK. 

The vision for the Rural Economy, Environment and Society (REES) department is to be recognised as one of the leading centres for agricultural and wider rural economic and social research globally, benefiting the land use sector, the environment and rural communities.

Within our broad remit, our research focuses on six main themes:

  • The development, adoption and uptake of sustainable agricultural technologies within food supply chains
  • Policy analysis for the benefit of agriculture, the environment and rural society
  • Agricultural production economics and environmental management for sustainable use of natural resources
  • Environmental and resource economics, contributing to policy responses on climate change, antimicrobial resistance and provision of other ecosystem services
  • Food chain economics for sustainable nutrition, including the economics and behaviours of food waste
  • Rural community resilience, making recommendations on the challenges and opportunities facing rural communities

How we do it

We take an integrated approach to complex problems to meet society’s grand challenges. We examine how individual elements are connected and interdependent, at farm and ecosystem-level, in food supply chains, in individual farmer and consumer behaviours, to promote innovative and sustainable behaviour change for resilience of rural economies and communities.  We currently have around 20 socio-economics focused phD students and our research covers problems pertinent to Scotland and the UK, as well as Europe and wider international arena.

Why we do it

Our research makes a difference to inform policy and engender real behavioural change. We work on both domestic and international policy, with a growing portfolio in low to middle income countries examining such aspects as sustainable intensification, development of food value chains and adoption of innovations by small holder communities.  We work in partnership, engage with people ‘on the ground’ in a number of countries, and ensure, through active Knowledge Exchange, that our research is of maximum value.

Further Information

To find out more check out our Downloads below or to get a flavour of our research, take a look in our portfolio at some of our highlights:


Surveying trees

LEES Research Group has very active international networks, and our staff greatly value the perspectives which come from researchers from many countries. Find out more...


Land Economy, Environment & Society

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

Telephone: 0131 535 4042