Rural policy projects
We aim to inform the development of future policies by gathering evidence and sharing knowledge. Our research projects focus on a range of issues of importance to the sustainability and resilience of Scotland's rural and island communities and businesses.
Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme (SGSRP)
Our Rural Policy Centre researchers are working on a variety of research and knowledge exchange outcomes within the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme 2022–27. Topics of research include the feasibility of a circular economy model on Scottish islands and water resource management issues in coastal communities in Scotland. We are also looking into shaping the future of sustainable, inclusive and just rural and island communities in Scotland.
Previous work on the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme 2016–22 was mainly undertaken in the area titled 'Communities and Wellbeing'. More information on our work in these areas can be found in our case studies of island repopulation initiatives.
Rural Movements Report
In 2019, the Scottish Government committed to support the development of a rural movement in Scotland. To inform the development of the movement, SRUC was commissioned in 2021 to explore the key characteristics, roles and methods of engagement employed by established rural movements in other European countries, to develop lessons to guide the Scottish approach.
The research looked at rural movements in ten countries: Albania, England, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Sweden. The findings demonstrate how rural movements represent an organised approach to providing a network and voice for rural areas, their people and those working to support rural development.
SRUC will continue to work with the Scottish Government, Scottish Rural Action and others to support the development of Scotland’s rural movement in 2022 and beyond.
You can read the full report on our Pure platform.
The Rural Report
The Rural Report focuses on the wider rural business base, providing evidence to help fill the knowledge gaps beyond farming, forestry and rural estate sectors.
The first rural business survey was published in October 2018. It surveyed 1,500 businesses in Aberdeenshire, Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Borders and Tayside. The findings from our ongoing research make a significant contribution to improving our understanding of Scotland’s rural business base. You can download the full reports below.
International experience of community, communal and municipal ownership of land (2020)
Commissioned by the Scottish Land Commission, SRUC (cooperation with the James Hutton Institute), the University of the Highlands and Islands, the University of Aberdeen and Ting Xu, is conducting a review of international experience of community, communal and municipal land ownership.
Post Brexit implications for agriculture and associated land use in the highlands and islands (2018)
The Highlands and Islands Agricultural Support Group (HIASG) commissioned Andrew Moxey (Pareto Consulting) and Steven Thomson (SRUC) to consider the potential impacts of Brexit on the Highlands and Islands Region. The overall aim of this study was to ascertain the possible implications of Brexit for the agricultural sector (including crofting) and related land use in the highlands and islands, and to consider the associated impact on the environment, rural communities and economy.
Our Rural Brexit Hub has information on all the Brexit-related activities taking place across SRUC.
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (COE) commissioned SRUC’s Rural Policy Centre to give evidence on the development of rural areas, focusing specifically on the diversity of rural regions across Europe and the particular challenges faced by remote and sparsely populated areas.
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