RESAS Strategic Programme 2011-2016

Tractor ploughing

List of Themes

The Scottish Government's Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS) is funding a portfolio of Strategic Research over 2011-16 that aims to build a platform of knowledge that informs issues related to climate change, land use and food security, while contributing to sustainable economic growth.

Theme 1 - Ecosystem Services

Understanding multiple benefits from our natural resources, through:

  • an integrating framework
  • contributing to the mapping of Scotland's Ecosystem Services together with an understanding of the dynamics of Ecosystem Services supply
  • assessing the monetary and non-monetary value of Ecosystem Services/multiple benefits
  • application of an integrated framework/ecosystem approach, covering environmental benefit trade-offs

Theme 2 - Water & Renewable Energy

Research leading to a greater knowledge of the availability and supply of water and renewable energy resources, through:

  • investigating provision of renewable energy and water, including projected supply and demand both now and into the future
  • evaluating the sustainability of the supply chains for water and renewable energy and interactions between them
  • developing methods for mitigating and adapting to flood risk
  • greater understanding of the risks of diffuse pollution and how to manage water quality with climate and land use change

Theme 3 - Land Use

Developing powerful technologies and management tools which will deliver multiple benefits from rural land use, while also providing an increased resilience to potential change:

  • understanding uncertainties surrounding GHG emissions from soils and soil carbon changes
  • providing data on cost effectiveness of technical solutions for mitigation or adaptation to climate change for rural land use
  • investigation of the key soil functions to provide a quantitative understanding of ecosystem processes at the air, soil, water interface
  • assessing resilience of Scotland's biodiversity to climate and land use change
  • understanding multi functional land use and the many demands from different sectors and an understanding of land managers' attitudes and decision-making needs

Theme 4 - Economic Adaptation

Preserving or enhancing the ability of Scotland's rural economy to adapt to changing circumstances:

  • assess the options for, and viability of, transition to a low carbon rural economy
  • understanding responses needed to enable effective economic restructuring, diversification and adaptation
  • alternative behaviours, processes and technologies to reduce climate change emissions from land use and agriculture
  • identify and address market failures for business adaptation to a low carbon economy
  • develop and use systemic models to support Key Sectors

Theme 5 - Efficient and resilient supply chains for food 

  • Producing new evidence and tools to improve the efficiency, resilience and sustainability of food production and supply in Scotland
  • Providing food chain and food security analyses
  • Development of crop and livestock products with improved nutritional qualities and greater resource efficiency and resilience to climate change

Theme 6 - Animal/Plant Health and Disease and Animal Welfare 

  • Improving farm productivity and sustainability, through improvements to plant and animal disease control and enhancement of farm animal welfare
  • An emphasis on policy relevant research, knowledge exchange and the needs of a broad end user base, including Scottish businesses

Theme 7 - Healthy Safe Diets 

  • Producing the evidence and tools to improve the adoption of healthy, sustainable diets
  • Links food produced across the food chain through to economic output and in relation to enhanced human health
  • Informed by emerging imperatives influencing food choice and behaviour, including consideration of carbon usage and sustainability
  • Significant industry relevance

Theme 8 - Vibrant Rural Communities 

  • Understanding the linkages between social and economic performance in rural economies
  • Assessing mechanism for greater stakeholder empowerment through new governance frameworks
  • Examining how greater social and economic synergies can be developed between urban and rural places
  • Understanding the drivers of differential economic performance
  • Designing and evaluating actions that deliver to the Scottish Government's overarching aim of sustainable economic growth

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