Institute sets sights on global answers

James Hutton Institute aims to be world leader in agricultural and environmental science studies.

The James Hutton Institute, which brings together the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute in Aberdeen and the Scottish Crop Research Institute in Invergowrie, has been officially launched.

The "super institute" will employ more than 600 scientists, researchers and support staff, making it one of the biggest of its type in Europe. It is named after the Edinburgh-born founder of modern geology, James Hutton.

The UK's chief scientist Sir John Beddington hailed the arrival, which he described as exciting. He said: "We desperately need more people to work in institutes likes this to think about the important problems of how we address our food, water and energy security needs."

The Scottish Government is the principal customer of the institute. In 2011-12 it will invest £25m in research and associated initiatives.

Scotland's chief scientific adviser Professor Anne Glover said: "The James Hutton Institute has the capacity to provide world-class research into how we can make the best use of our natural resources."

She added: "Scientists at the institute are well placed to make a global impact in issues such as food security, changes in land use and impacts of climate change.

"They will also have a strengthened role in supporting Scotland's rural economy and food and drink sectors."

KEY STAT

The amount of money that the institute will spend on research and development in 2011-12 - £25m

RESEARCH GOALS

The James Hutton Institute is home to a range of disciplines from cell and molecular, environmental and ecological sciences to social economics, geography and information and computer science.

In its sights will be challenges such as improving crop yields, developing sustainable farming methods, creating a low-carbon economy and supporting biodiversity. One of its goals is to find ways to balance demands on the land from farming, industry, housing, tourism and recreation.

The institute will continue to operate from centres in Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh. It also has research stations and farms in Aberdeenshire, Angus and Lanarkshire.


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