2013-03-13 xml
New Institute Launched to Support Rural SW Scotland

SRUC is playing a leading role in a new institute set up to support regional development in rural South West Scotland.

The Crichton Institute is a collaborative venture involving SRUC, the Universities of Glasgow and the West of Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway College, the Open University and the Crichton Carbon Centre, with wider strategic partners.

Michael Russell MSP

Michael Russell MSP

The Scottish Funding Council has awarded a four-year funding package of nearly £1 million to the partner bodies to develop a programme of applied research, business engagement and policy development. In addition, a Regional Observatory is to be established that will act as a one-stop access point for information, analysis and evaluation of opportunities and issues facing the area.

The Rural Policy Centre’s Sarah Skerratt and Jane Atterton are Co-Directors of the Institute’s policy function. Their activities include informing policymakers about evidence generated by the Institute’s research. Briefings and events will help to raise South West Scotland’s profile in regional and national debates.

Jane Atterton said: “The policy activities of the Rural Policy Centre and the Crichton Institute will be highly complementary and mutually beneficial. For example, the RPC’s ‘Rural Scotland in Focus 2012’ report highlighted a range of challenges facing the South of Scotland - including the vulnerability of key settlements and an ageing workforce – but also opportunities, including in the food and drink sector and tourism. These issues will be explored further in work undertaken by the Crichton Institute.”

The new venture was officially launched this week by Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Michael Russell MSP.

Speaking ahead of his visit, Mr Russell said: “This launch is significant at many levels. It brings together the academic partners on site in a way that strengthens existing collaboration and, as a result, helps sustain that critical regional resource that is the Crichton Campus.

Just as important, the Crichton Institute will see much stronger joint working between those on campus and businesses, communities and agencies across Dumfries and Galloway and across rural south of Scotland.

Funding from the Scottish Funding Council has made the venture possible and I am looking forward to visiting the campus and to exploring how we can now maximise that all-critical exchange of knowledge and ideas that can so transform how regions and their businesses and communities perform.”


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