Rural research in Scotland 2022: overcoming the challenges

SCRR Early Career Researchers *in person* mini-conference

November 17 2022, 1-3pm, Perth Conference Hall

 Scotland – along with the rest of the globe – experienced the Covid19 pandemic and its associated impacts. These impacts continue to be felt at multiple scales, in a myriad of ways, varying according to place, person and community.

Evidence shows that Early Career Researchers (ECRs) across Scotland continue to experience significantly greater personal and research challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic compared with academics who are later in their careers. This is particularly the case for those ECRs who have also experienced disadvantage, poverty, identify as BAME, LGBTQ+ and/or who took on additional caring responsibilities during the pandemic.

In this third SCRR mini-conference for ECRs, we have therefore decided to focus on the theme of challenges in two ways. Firstly, to create the opportunity for you to share your challenges as ECRs under the Covid19 pandemic. Secondly, to showcase how, in spite of these, you managed to produce research that seeks solutions to some of our bigger societal challenges in Scotland and internationally – around climate, the economy, and wider sustainability goals, at local, regional, national and international levels. You’ll also have the chance to tell us how SCRR can support you post-pandemic as an ECR.

Within SCRR, we celebrate the diversity of all that falls within “rural science” and welcome contributions from across all research fields, including research into land, freshwater, coastal and marine resources, and their uses – including farming, forestry, aquaculture and recreation, as well as all that connects with rural communities. As long as you’re Scotland-based, your research can be about Scotland or international.

We are delighted that, in 2022, you’ll be able to present your poster *in person* and give a short oral presentation. You’ll be presenting your results and ideas with others in the research community, and sharing with people from other organisations including charities, development organisations, colleges and local government. The focus will be on networking as equals, sharing ideas and fostering new connections.

There will be a Prize for the best poster, a Certificate of Participation, plus the opportunity to gain a Scholar Award by helping out beforehand and at the mini-Conference itself. We’ll also be promoting your research posters via social media, and helping you to promote your work too.

Places are limited, so you’ll need to apply via a very short application form, telling us your research area, how you have researched (or are researching) it, what you’ve found or expect to find, and ultimately why your work matters. The deadline for applications is 5pm Friday 21st October and we’ll let you know if your application has been successful by Friday 28th October. To request an application form, please email:

Let’s use this opportunity to celebrate how you as ECRs are addressing personal, research and societal challenges both in Scotland and internationally!

Our latest newsletter for summer 2022 – out now!

OUR LATEST NEWSLETTER is just out. Contents include…

  • Prof David Miller on the key role of rural areas in responding to challenges such as climate change.
  • Event report on the Peter Wilson lecture 2022.
  • Stars of the green screen.

It’s available to download in Newsletters.

SCRR/RSE Peter Wilson Lecture: The time for Rural is now

23 May 2022

The Royal Society of Edinburgh


The joint SCRR/Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) Peter Wilson Lecture was created in memory of the distinguished agriculturalist and former RSE General Secretary, Professor Peter Wilson CBE. Peter was a former Professor of Agriculture and Rural Economy at the University of Edinburgh. He was elected RSE Fellow in 1987, served as RSE General Secretary from 1996 until 2001, and in 2002 was awarded the Society’s Bicentenary Medal in 2002, an award reserved only for those who have given outstanding service to the Society. Following a short illness, Peter died on 29th January 2004.

This year was the 17th annual lecture. In 2020 and 2021, the lecture was held online due to the pandemic. In May 2022, we were delighted to hold the event in person at the RSE (with live-streaming available). We built in additional networking time prior to the beginning of the formal proceedings, and the tea and coffee room was buzzing with people reconnecting in 3D!

We were delighted to confirm that our speakers were:

·       Professor Julie Fitzpatrick OBE, Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) for Scotland, Scientific Director of Moredun Research Institute and CEO of The Moredun Foundation. She also holds a Chair in Food Security at the University of Glasgow’s College of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences.

·       Claire Taylor, Agricultural Communicator with Jane Craigie Marketing and Herald Columnist.

·       Dr Leslie Mabon, Lecturer in Environmental Systems in the School of Engineering and Innovation at the Open University.


The speakers addressed themes of “resilience” and “sustainability”, described as essential goals that we must reach. They highlighted how we must address connected crises of climate, biodiversity and livelihoods. They explained how research and practice in rural Scotland are already, and will continue, to support the opportunities and address the challenges that we’re facing, in Scotland, the UK and internationally.

Each speaker communicated with passion about their topic. They emphasised the extensive research base that already exists across Scotland, through the institutes, university and college networks, with a strong message coming through about the physical spread of researchers already embedded in rural Scotland – particularly Early Career Researchers (ECRs). The role of young people was a common thread, central to the future of rural Scotland – not just talking about young people but bringing them into the heart of dialogue now as solutions are talked through. A third theme was the obvious diversity of rural Scotland – not just geographically, but also in terms of what rural Scotland offers, including high-tech industry, space tech, quantum computing, carbon capture/storage, decommissioning of oil rig technology, as just a few examples. All three speakers were unanimous that the time for rural is now, in research, practice and policy, with the audience Q&A reinforcing this perspective. It seems that the Peter Wilson Lecture continues to provoke and encourage every year!

News Event update

Posters from our mini-conference now available

Posters from our online mini-conference in November 2020, which focused on the work of early career researchers (ECRs), are now available to download as PDFs

Read more

News Event report

‘The future of rural science is in safe hands’

A brief report on our online mini-conference focusing on the work of early years researchers, ‘Science for Rural Recovery and Resilience’ – held online, November 11, 2020

Read more

News Event report

Young people and the debate on climate change

Now available: a report, with a video of the full discussion, from our online replacement for the annual Peter Wilson lecture – held May 11, 2020

Read more

About SCRR

The Scottish Consortium for Rural Research is a collaboration between 24 organisations who work together to produce and share rural science for public good.

Our member organisations are active in research into land, freshwater, coastal and marine resources, and their uses – including farming, forestry, aquaculture and recreation.

Find out more

Members of SCRR

We have members throughout Scotland…

See the map

View a list of members

Next meeting

The 150th meeting of the SCRR Executive Committee takes place online on October 5, 2022 at 11am.