Associate feature: The role of science is more important than ever

Written by Colin Campbell on 3 November 2017 in Comment

Colin Campbell, chair of SEFARI, on the need for science to tackle the challenges of the future

We hear regularly of new evidence on big challenges – climate change, the obesity crisis, food security, biodiversity loss, rural economy resilience. The planet’s population continues to rise, but we must live within environmental limits. Increasingly these issues must be considered within a shifting political and economic environment.

The role of science, and the use of the knowledge which science generates, is more important than ever – but this has to be demonstrated more effectively. We must deliver for those with short-term needs - a farmer making a land use decision, a business deciding how to invest, an individual making food choices, or a policymaker looking for a new way of working. Alongside, we must continue investment in longer term, strategic research which allows us to understand, for example, how the quality of our important peatlands, soil and water has changed over time, and how policy and land use decisions have contributed.

There are many organisations and individuals whose mission is to seek solutions. In Scotland we have access to such expertise on our doorstep.  SEFARI - Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes – is a new collective comprising: Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland (BioSS); The James Hutton Institute; The Moredun Research Institute; The Rowett Institute (University of Aberdeen); Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE); and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

SEFARI is delivering “Leading Ideas for Better Lives” by working across Plant and Animal Health; Rural Economy; Agriculture; Land and Communities; Climate and the Environment; Food and Drink Innovation; Healthier Food and Science Education. The SEFARI Gateway has been developed to ensure the research we produce is available in the right format, for the right people, at the right time – whether in the policy, business or public arenas.

Check us out online at www.sefari.scot, on Twitter @SEFARIscot or contact at info@sefari.scot

Colin Campbell is chair of SEFARI

Categories

Related Articles

Nicola Sturgeon "confident" in legality of decision to ban fracking
12 January 2018

Petrochemical company Ineos this week announced it had applied for the decision to ban fracking in Scotland to go to a judicial review

Carbon footprint of Scotland's homes falls by a quarter over eight years
4 January 2018

Growth of renewables, improvements in energy efficiency in housing and more environmentally friendly government policies have all helped drive down greenhouse gas emissions generated by...

Conservation groups urge ministers to complete network of Marine Protected Areas
2 January 2018

Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and WWF Scotland call on ministers to end the wait for consultation on further MPAs

Scotland as a global tech hub of the future
31 December 2017

Some of the top minds in Scottish business, government and academia gather in Edinburgh to discuss Scotland’s potential as a tech hub of the future

Share this page