This week the Institute has reached the €8 million mark in funding awarded during 2014-15 by the European Union’s biggest research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020. The awards are for research across six new projects to help solve some of the world’s most pressing issues, including food security, sustainability and renewable energy.
The Institute is presently leading or partnering on thirteen Horizon 2020 projects including two highly prestigious European Research Council grants, pointing to the strength of its offering in a European context: it’s a big and highly-regarded player.
Professor Bob Ferrier, Director of Research Impact at the James Hutton Institute, said: “Because we are strong across a number of related areas spanning land, crop, water, environmental and socio-economics, and because we tackle ‘whole problems’, that interaction stimulates innovation and cross-fertilisation of ideas, cemented by our close working relationships with partners and industry. This has been increasingly recognised by funders both in the UK and in Europe since the inception of the Institute five years ago and adds tremendous value to our ongoing investment from the Scottish Government.
“2015 has been an especially fruitful year, with €4.48m from the European Research Council and a further £1.3 million from the UK government’s Agri-Tech Catalyst.
“Our excellent science and recognised impact have helped build a strong brand that is highly valued in Europe and around the world.
“We’ve recently signed high-profile cooperation agreements with institutions in both China and India, which are a testament to our ongoing commitment to deliver tangible solutions to food and water security and shared agri-environment challenges.”
Since its creation in 2011, the James Hutton Institute has achieved significant funding from external sources in addition to the support it gets from public sources. For every two pounds the Institute obtains in public funding, it leverages an additional pound from other sources and creates at least 14 times that value in benefit for the Scottish and UK economies; impacts calculated by independent economists.
With the spotlight of the Year of Innovation in 2016 and as arguably one of Scotland’s knowledge economy foremost players, the Institute has its future sights set on developing an international-scale innovation hub for barley research, in which it is a world leader.
“Bringing the full array of research, translation, innovation and development under one roof is a known accelerator of innovation,” noted Professor Colin Campbell, the Institute\'s interim Chief Executive.
“In times of growing global pressures on resources, the speed of translation from laboratory to field will become an increasingly important factor for success and that development will consolidate our position as a leading provider of solutions for industry.”