Plans to commission a Scottish Centre of Expertise in Biodiversity have been announced as part of the new draft strategy for the environment, natural resources and agricultural research programme.
The Centre will bring together experts who will advise policymakers in government, local authorities and public bodies on how best to combat biodiversity loss. The Centre will be established during the course of the next research programme which begins in 2022.
The draft strategy also sets out plans for funding research on topics not previously included in the research programme. These include air quality and the circular economy.
The research programme currently receives £48 million of Scottish Government investment annually. It supports nearly 1,500 jobs directly and indirectly across Scotland. It also enabled research institutes to leverage in £28 million in additional funding from other UK and international funders in 2018/19.
A public consultation on the strategy is now open, seeking views on future research priorities and delivery mechanisms.
Environment and Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham MSP said:
“As we look forward, how we use our land and other natural assets will all need to be re-imagined in order to build Scotland’s green recovery from COVID-19 and address the twin threats of biodiversity loss and climate change.
“Scotland is playing a central role in developing environmental solutions to the global climate and nature crises, and our response is based on the strongest possible scientific evidence. Our environment, natural resources and agriculture research programme is central to achieving this.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“I am proud of the progress that we have made in Scotland in responding to the global climate emergency and enhancing our natural environment. However, there is still much to do, and it’s vital that our future policy decisions are rooted in evidence. The research priorities and plans set out in this strategy will be central to this approach.”
The consultation will be open until Monday 14 December.
The five research themes within the programme are:
Plant and Animal Health
Sustainable Food Systems
Human Impacts on the Environment
The strategy follows the recent Programme for Government, which set out a number of actions being taken forward to ensure a green recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including tackling biodiversity loss and climate change.