The Scottish Government provides around £70 million of funding each year towards a wide range of environmental, biological and agricultural research. This builds on a century-long history of support for research on food and agriculture in Scotland, while biodiversity research at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh goes back to the 17th Century.
Most of this research is now carried out through the Scottish Government's Main Research Providers (MRPs). Research in these institutes differs from universities in being both directed and long-term. Both of these attributes are becoming increasingly important as governments respond to the complex challenges facing them. Scottish Government funding of science at the MRPs forms an important part of Scotland's science base, enhancing Scotland's reputation for excellence and relevance in rural, agricultural and environmental research.
The MRPs make substantial contributions to the objectives and targets of the National Performance Framework (NPF). The MRPs also represent a significant source of innovation and enterprise activities, for which a variety of support is available. Reports of two studies reviewing these areas were completed in 2010.
The Scottish Government established a Co-ordinated Agenda for Marine, Environment and Rural Affairs Science (CAMERAS) in 2009 to ensure that science funded in these areas is better co-ordinated and supports the Government's single purpose of sustainable economic growth. More information and papers can be found at CAMERAS.