Scottish researchers to present at international rural conference

Published Monday, 9th April 2018 in Research news

Sruc rural scotland
Innovations in rural Scotland will be discussed at the OECD Conference

Researchers from SRUC and the James Hutton Institute, both part of the SEFARI collective, are speaking at this week’s OECD Rural Development Conference, Enhancing Rural Innovation, in Edinburgh.

Dr Jane Atterton, Manager and Policy Researcher of SRUC’s Rural Policy Centre, will take part in a panel session on social innovation and community-led initiatives; while Dr Andrew Copus, an economic geographer based at the James Hutton Institute’s Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences in Aberdeen, will discuss the long-term planning and prioritisation of rural services.

Rebecca Audsley, Climate Change Manager at SAC Consulting, part of SRUC, will give a presentation on Farming for a Better Climate, a programme which demonstrates practical, low-cost or free measures to help farmers improve efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint.

Hosted by the Scottish Government and co-hosted by the European Commission and DEFRA, the conference begins at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre today (Monday 9 April) and runs until Thursday. The SRUC and Hutton speakers are presenting on Wednesday.

Part of a series led by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), the conference will encourage the exchange of experiences and good practice from member countries, including Sweden, Mexico, Australia, Canada and Japan. It will be attended by more than 300 high-level government officials, key rural policy experts and stakeholders.

Dr Atterton said: “We are seeing more and more examples of rural communities and businesses coming together and ‘doing things for themselves’, from forming healthcare co-operatives to owning land and managing local services. These activities are the result of many different drivers, and often require community members to demonstrate a whole host of different skills and expertise. The OECD Conference is an excellent opportunity to showcase Scottish rural innovation to the world, and to explore what we can learn from elsewhere.”

Dr Copus said: “The potential human and social capital benefits of community-based service provision could turn out to be the silver lining of the cloud of austerity.”

The full agenda of the conference is available here.

Journalists who would like to attend the conference should register here.

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