The Scottish Government's Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS) funds a portfolio of Strategic Research to build a platform of knowledge to strengthen policy and contribute to national outcomes and the Scottish Government's single purpose.
Scottish Government and soil research (outcomes)
Most of the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS) funded research is carried out by the Scottish Government's Main Research Providers (MRPs) through the Strategic Research Portfolio. In the new Strategic Research Programme 2016-21, soil research will be primarily delivered under a dedicated work package (WP1.1) under the Natural Assets theme, focusing on soils in semi-natural systems. There are close links to research on soils in more intensive agricultural systems in the Productive and Sustainable Land Management theme, and interaction throughout the Programme has been built in to support delivery of integrated outputs. Through the Underpinning Capacity element of the wider strategic portfolio, soil resources such as the National Soil Archive and Scottish Soil Database will be maintained and developed to support the needs of an increasingly digital world.
The Scottish Government has also established a Co-ordinated Agenda for Marine, Environment and Rural Affairs Science (CAMERAS) to ensure that science funded in these areas is better co-ordinated and supports the Government's single purpose of sustainable economic growth. This is delivering a Soil Monitoring Action Plan for Scotland.
The Scottish Government has also set in place a Soils Engagement Group which aims to provide a non-technical forum for exchange of knowledge, ideas, and expertise among policymakers, agencies, other public bodies, and the strategic programme researchers.
Main Research Providers (MRPs) & Centres of Expertise
The Main Research Providers with soil research expertise are:
- The James Hutton Institute (Hutton)
- Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)
- Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland (BioSS)
Centres of Expertise also provide soil research and analysis aimed at meeting short-term policy needs, including soil, climate and water interactions.
Outputs from the Strategic Research Portfolio 2011-2016
Knowledge Scotland highlights key research carried out by the Scottish Government’s Main Research Providers (MRPs).
Summaries of 2011-2016 research outputs on selected topics are also available including Soils: environment, health and society, Peatlands, Utilising diversity for sustainable agriculture, Ecosystem services and more.
Expected outcomes from the 2016-2021 Strategic Research Portfolio
A new Centre for Knowledge Exchange within the Scottish Environment and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI), aims to make the outputs of RESAS-funded research accessible to a wide audience. SEFARI will use a variety of activities to explore topical issues, to improve the impact of the research and ensure its broader benefits are realised.
A Soils Engagement Group meets approximately quarterly to support the MRPs in their soil-related knowledge exchange and provide a forum for exchange of expertise, information and ideas between researchers, policymakers and wider stakeholders with an interest in soils.
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