On 6 October 2017, the The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee wrote to the following organisations as part of its pre-budget scrutiny. ECCLR Committee focused its scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s draft Budget 2018/19 on the Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment (RAFE) Strategic research portfolio and consider several key agencies (Scottish Natural
Heritage, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Marine Scotland and Scotland’s Rural University College). EPIC is funded as part of the RAFE strategic research portfolio.
• How is the centre of expertise engaged in the development of the strategic research programme?
• How is the centre of expertise funded (project based or rolling funding?), are there set timescales attached to the funding and does this pose any operational challenges?
• How their work programme and priorities link with areas of Scottish Government policy priority, including those set out in the National Performance Framework and the needs of end users?
• How does the centre work with other higher education institutes and research providers?
Does the centre receive innovation funding? If so, how has this supported collaborative working and what have the outcomes been?
• What activities are supported by funding to underpin capacity? What costs are attached to this and what are the expected outcomes?
• How secure is this funding stream?
• How do you work with SEFARI?
• What additional benefit does it bring to the centre?
• The funds available through the contract research budget have declined significantly. How has this impacted the work of the centre?
• What do you consider to be the key challenges for the centre, the research community and research funding in Scotland over the next 10 years?
• Specifically what is the estimated impact of withdrawal from Europe on the centre, the research community and funding available to rural, food and environment research in Scotland?
• What steps do the Scottish Government and research organisations need to take to address those challenges?
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