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SRUC Launches New Strategy To Deliver For Rural Scotland

20th April 2017

Scotland's Rural College launches its new strategy today (19.04.17), setting out the direction it will take to better serve Scotland's rural communities and economy.

The launch begins a month-long period of discussion with staff, students and stakeholders to determine how the goals set out in the discussion document, ‘Towards a new strategy for SRUC', should be delivered effectively at regional, national and international levels. See the strategy at https://www.sruc.ac.uk/engage .

The document describes how SRUC will strengthen the ways in which the three key areas of its business - research, education and consulting - work together to deliver benefits to the rural sector. With a presence across Scotland emphasis is placed on SRUC’s continued regional delivery, involving strengthened industry and community partnerships and a greater commercial approach. This will require a decentralisation of decision-making to ensure local needs are well understood and acted upon quickly and appropriately.

Professor Wayne Powell, Principal and Chief Executive of SRUC said: "Since taking up post as Principal and Chief Executive last year I have seen at first hand the world-class expertise that exists across SRUC’s broad span of interests.

"Our mission means we have a responsibility to everyone with an interest in Scotland’s rural economy to provide the scientific knowledge, skills and technical training needed to drive forward modern agriculture and the land based sector. We must achieve this in the presence of globally disruptive forces such as climate change and dietary shifts. We are superbly positioned to convert these challenges into new opportunities for rural Scotland.

"However, to fulfil this potential and realise our ambition we need confidence, imagination and creativity together with a willingness to change the way we work, operate and think as a sustainable institution. This is at the heart of our strategy and involves everyone at, and with a stake in, SRUC. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss the strategy - and indeed the future of SRUC – at discussion events over the coming month."

A central aspect of the strategy involves the proposed unification of SRUC’s research and education activities in a single College of Agriculture and Rural Economy. This would be closely integrated with the new SAC Ventures, which will comprise SAC Consulting, Veterinary Services, the Farm Advisory Service, and new companies formed as a result of increased commercial activities. Prof. Powell believes this structure would allow SRUC to maximise the generation and communication of new knowledge of benefit to rural industries and communities.

SRUC will seek to increase its global influence and impact while also returning benefits to Scotland. Prof. Powell stressed that the institution can make a significant contribution to tackling the ‘grand challenges’ of providing nutritious food for a growing world population and mitigating the effects of climate change.

Emphasising SRUC’s role in supporting agriculture, SRUC Chairman Pat Machray said: “Key to our activities will be strengthened links with existing and new industry partners. Scotland’s food and drink sector is an immense success story, in which producers play a fundamental role. Farmers are key to not only sustaining and growing the sector even further over the coming years but also in responding to big challenges including food security and climate change. A big part of our strategy is about ensuring that SRUC’s combination of research, education and consultancy serves farming and the wider agri-rural economy in the very best and most responsive ways possible."

SRUC invites comments on the strategy between now and Friday 12 May. Open meetings will be held around Scotland, with additional opportunities to respond online. More details can be found at www.sruc.ac.uk/engage.

Open meetings to discuss the strategy will be held at the following locations. See www.sruc.acuk/engage for further details:

Barony Campus, Dumfries – 6pm on Monday 24 April

Elmwood Campus, Cupar – 6pm on Thursday 27 April

Edinburgh Campus - 6pm on Tuesday 2 May

Ayr Campus – 6pm on Monday 8 May

Aberdeen Campus - 6pm on Tuesday 9 May

Inverness (Damfield Suite, Kingsmills Hotel, Culcabock Road, Inverness, IV2 3LP) – 6pm on Wednesday 10 May

Scotland’s Rural College supports innovation and sustainable development in agriculture and the rural sector in Britain and internationally. We are one of the UK’s leading agriculturally-focused higher education institutions, offering a unique blend of research, education and consultancy.

SRUC’s research and education activities operate from six campuses and eight farms and research centres across Scotland. Our consultancy arm, SAC Consulting, supports more than 12,000 farms and rural businesses across the UK from 25 consultancy offices and eight veterinary disease surveillance centres.

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