Science Institutes Join Forces to Lead World on Rural and Environmental Research

The Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI) and the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute have agreed in principle to unite, strengthening Scotland's rural-environmental research capacity and further enhancing their international competitiveness.

It will be the first institute of its kind in Europe and the new organisation is expected to create an international office to reinforce its global presence.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead said:

“Scientific research is hugely important to our support for rural industries, our drive to grow the food and drink sector and our efforts to tackle global issues such as climate change and food security.

“Both SCRI and the Macaulay already enjoy well-deserved reputations for excellence. Together they will be in an even stronger position to compete in the international arena and to address complex global issues, further raising Scotland’s profile on the world stage.”

SCRI and the Macaulay already have extensive global links: SCRI has international development links to Africa and trade links to China and the Macaulay is active in more than 40 countries worldwide.

Both have international reputations for the quality of their scientific research:

  • SCRI’s genetics team was described earlier this year as “the world leader in barley and soft fruit genetics” by independent experts
  • The Macaulay competitively won over £5 million in new research contracts last year, including £1.8 million from the European Commission

Chairman of the SCRI Governing Board Peter Berry CMG, said:

“My board were united that this new venture will be able to undertake research of global importance and will once again demonstrate to the world the excellence of Scottish science and innovation. It is one of the things for which Scotland is rightly famous. SCRI and the Macaulay already share many areas of common interest; together we will bring scientific excellence with delivery.”

Michael Gibson CBE, Chairman of the Macaulay Governing Board, said:

“There are many opportunities for the new institute that build on the individual and combined strengths of the Macaulay and SCRI. The new institute will allow the staff of both the Macaulay and SCRI to use their expertise to enhance the health, wealth and quality of Scotland’s society in a truly global community.”

Image shows Professor Richard Aspinall, Chief Executive of the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute.

Published on 06 October 2009 in Sustainability and Communities