‘The future of rural science is in safe hands’

A report on our online mini-conference, ‘Science for Rural Recovery and Resilience’ – held on November 11, 2020

The Scottish Consortium for Rural Research (SCRR) held our second mini-conference where Early Career Researchers (ECRs) shared their new research, focused on how they can guide us to move beyond these challenging times. They told us what they’d been researching, looking to how rural Scotland moves into the 2030s and beyond, plus shared their own personal resilience as their work has been interrupted this year. We had a shortcut to the latest thinking, interacted with some of Scotland’s rural researchers and made new connections in an informal atmosphere.

More than 40 of us joined via Zoom and were enlightened by ECRs’ exciting new work in the areas of: bees adapting to land use policies as our essential pollinators; strengthening dairy cows’ resilience through improving their traits; improving resilience of chickens in their local environments; health and wellbeing benefits of community land ownership; sheep methane emissions and mitigation strategies; helping to satisfy meat demand through microbiome-based breeding strategies in beef cattle; and development of sustainable, science-based rural tourism.

We also voted in real time for the best poster and presentation. The winner was Bobby Macaulay (Glasgow Caledonian University; @bobmacaca) for his work on health and wellbeing benefits of community land ownership, with the runner-up being Naomi Lean (Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and University of Edinburgh) who presented on sheep methane emissions and mitigation strategies.

Everyone who joined us thought it was a brilliant event and we’re already planning the third one! Thanks so much to all presenters and participants.