The Scottish Rural Futures Essay Prize

Topic: “What are the implications of ‘Brexit’ for rural communities in Scotland?”

The Scottish Rural Futures Essay Prize will be awarded for the first time in 2018.

The prize is sponsored jointly by the Scottish Consortium for Rural Research (SCRR) and the Scotia Agricultural Club (Scotia).

Prize sponsors

SCRR is a consortium of organisations active in research into land, freshwater, coastal and marine resources, and their uses – including farming, forestry, aquaculture and recreation. Nearly every major research organisation in Scotland that is engaged in some aspect of rural research is a member. Scotia’s membership is drawn from present and former senior staff of Scottish Higher Educational bodies, Research Institutes and kindred organisations concerned with agriculture and other rural activities. SCRR and Scotia both aim to stimulate interest in and debate about issues that affect the current state and future of Scotland’s rural sector, its environment and communities.

Competition for the prize

Competition for the prize will be through assessment of an essay on a topic chosen by SCRR and the Scotia Club that will vary from year to year.

The prize

The prizewinner will receive £150, a certificate and an invitation to the SCRR-Scotia Lecture at which the prize will be awarded.

The prizewinner’s school will also receive £150.


Students in the last two years of their secondary education are eligible to apply. Students other than a prizewinner may apply in a second year. A prizewinner may not apply after having won the prize.

Only two submissions are allowed from each school. All schools in Scotland are eligible to select essays for submission from their student population.

The essay

Essays should be no more than one thousand words long and must be submitted electronically as pdf or Word documents. Essays must be original. Any submissions that are assessed as plagiaristic will be ignored. Schools, in their selection process, are asked to ensure that the submitted essays are the individual work of the student.

Assessment and selection of the prizewinner

All submitted essays will be assessed by a Panel comprising two representatives of SCRR, two representatives of Scotia and an independent assessor nominated by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS).

The criteria for assessment (with no order of priority) will be:

  • Evidence of awareness of major issues that apply to the topic
  • Evidence of rational analysis of the options that apply to the issue in question
  • Imaginative reasoning
  • Style and substance
  • Clarity of expression
  • Clear conclusions based on rational argument

The decision of the panel will be final. No appeals will be allowed.

Prize ceremony

The Prize will be awarded at the SCRR-Scotia Lecture. This also will be launched in 2018 and will be an annual event. The lecture will be given by a prestigious speaker and will be open predominantly to school groups and other young people with an interest in rural matters. The topic of the lecture will be linked to the chosen essay topic. The venue for the lecture may change from year to year but in 2018 will be in Edinburgh. The date for the 2018 lecture has yet to be finalised but will be in late May-early June.

Submission process

Essays should be sent to Professor Willie Donachie at the following email address:

Submission deadline

The deadline for receipt of essays for assessment for the 2018 competition is January 31 2018

Announcement of the winner

The winner of the 2018 competition will be contacted before 30 April 2018

Topic for the 2018 Competition

The topic for the 2018 Scottish Rural Futures Essay prize is: “What are the implications of ‘Brexit’ for rural communities in Scotland?”

You can download this information as a PDF document using this link...