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Major investment in Scottish Centres of Expertise to combat climate and environmental challenges

ClimateXChange, along with three other Centres of Expertise that are at the forefront of providing vital research on the challenges facing the environment, agriculture and rural economies, have been awarded multi-million pound contracts by the Scottish Government as announced by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the Royal Highland Show on 24th June 2022.

ClimateXChange is Scotland’s centre of expertise on climate change, based at ECCI. It brings together researchers and policy-makers, acting as a knowledge broker between the two to create evidence-based policies for a low carbon, climate ready Scotland.

Over £35 million pounds has been secured to deliver scientific support, research and advice on key issues affecting the climate, water, animal disease outbreaks and rural communities.

The 5-year investment package will be split between the Centres specialising in climate research ClimateXChange (CXC), the Centre of Expertise for waters (CREW), the Centre for animal disease outbreaks (EPIC) and SEFARI Gateway which leads on knowledge exchange and innovation. This investment will see SEFARI Gateway formally become a Centre of Expertise alongside CXC, CREW, EPIC, and the Plant Heath Centre (PHC).

The ‘Centre of Expertise’ model is unique to Scotland and this continued investment will further strengthen existing partnerships, helping to safeguard against a wide range of issues which affect the rural economy, environment and the communities that depend on it.

Funded by the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS) the Centres provide an efficient, accessible and coordinated route for government to access scientific expertise, as part of the wider Scottish Government Portfolio. The Portfolio is one of the largest for agri-environment research in the UK and represents a total investment of around £250million (over five years) in strategic research, supporting expert advice and national research resources through partnerships across the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutions (SEFARI), Scottish universities, colleges, and research organisations across Scotland. Investment in the Portfolio ensures that Scotland maintains its position at the very cutting edge of advances in agriculture, natural resources and the environment.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Scottish Government provides significant funding to our major research institutes to explore issues such as plant and animal health, and food security. In total, we are investing £250 million over the next five years - almost £50 million a year, which will support more than 150 projects.”

“They cover issues which are of central concern to the agriculture sector – such as the resilience of livestock to climate change; how to reduce climate change emissions from farming and livestock; and the way in which anti-microbial resistance and pathogens spread into the food chain, and then into humans.”

“The support confirms our determination – in a tough financial climate – to ensure that Scotland continues to make an important contribution to research on agriculture and the environment, contributing to the success and sustainability of our farming and food sectors.”

The Centres of Expertise draw upon the wide ranging, cutting-edge research expertise available from the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI), Scottish universities, colleges, research organisations across Scotland, and also their wider UK and international networks. 

Each bespoke centre delivers policy-relevant evidence with impact, and have their own style, leadership & governance - allowing the flexibility needed to able to deliver ‘the right information at the right time in the right manner’.