The Scottish Government’s research strategy identifies three overarching issues which cut across all areas of, and provides the strategic context for, the overall research effort. These Cross-Cutting Themes are:
- Responding to Climate Change
- Protecting Biodiversity
- Environmental, Social and Economic Sustainability of Rural Scotland.
Each of the Major Research Providers (MRPs) has appointed Cross-Cutting Theme Champions to progress the work. A progress report on the Cross-Cutting Themes has been produced and can be read below.
Climate change is widely recognised as one of the most serious environmental threats facing our planet. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and environmental sources are already making a significant impact on the world's climate through effects on global concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere and ozone depleting substances. The consequences for land use, the environment and rural communities in Scotland need to be better understood, as do the drivers for climate change and how they can be mitigated. This CCT will integrate outputs from the four research programmes in order to generate products and knowledge to enable Scotland to respond to climate change and which help mitigate the release of GHG.
Biodiversity is economically important through the supply of food, natural products, environmental services and natural heritage. It also enriches our lives and is a measure of the sustainability of our society. Global concerns over the loss of biodiversity are also relevant within Scotland where, as in other countries, biodiversity is under threat from a number of factors including development, intensive agriculture, climate change and pollution. This CCT will integrate relevant outputs from the research programmes in order to generate knowledge and products that enable Scotland to protect and enhance the biodiversity found in rural areas and consider the implications of change.
This theme aims to produce knowledge and capability for the development and implementation of evidence based policy and practice that ensures the environmental, economic and social sustainability of rural Scotland. Rural areas play an essential part in Scotland's economy and quality of life and the sustainability of rural Scotland is addressed by many key Scottish Government policies. This CCT will interact with the outputs of the four research programmes in order to inform an integrated holistic approach to land management. This includes the human dimensions of land management and rural communities. Many of the desired theme outputs will require an inter-disciplinary approach.
Work on all three Cross-Cutting Themes has been progressing as part of Programme 1 and the other RERAD research programmes. Examples of outputs on Cross-Cutting Themes include the following.
- CCT Champions have raised awareness of climate change aspects of research carried out by all the MRPs.
- Each MRP has produced a brochure/document summarising their climate change research.
- CCT Champions and other MRP staff have disseminated outputs of the research relevant to protecting biodiversity to a variety of target audiences.
- A one-day conference for NGOs, government representatives and researchers on 'Supporting Natura 2000 sites: current practice and emerging issues' was held.
- CCT Champions have raised awareness across all programmes and institutes of the need for, and importance of, research on sustainability.
- A spatial land use change database for Scotland to analyse trends in sustainability has been created.
A full progress report on the Cross-Cutting Themes 2006-2008 can be viewed below.