Crop scientists believe research links will continue

Despite the EU's prominent role in funding agricultural research in the UK, Scottish scientists remained upbeat about the future at one of the country's leading institutes yesterday.

Projects included the latest work on raspberry research. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Dr Rex Brennan, leader of the soft fruit breeding group at the James Hutton Institute, said that while the situation still remained unclear, ongoing projects and ones in the pipeline were set to continue – and that the institute remained positive that relationships with establishments on the Continent would continue.

Speaking prior to a field event focusing on the Institute’s work on soft fruit, he said that funding for the many projects came from a variety of sources, which also included the Scottish Government, partnerships with industry and from the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board.

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Dr Bill Macfarlane Smith, honorary secretary of the Scottish Society for Crop Research – which also provided pump-priming funding for research projects – said that the world-leading calibre of many of the researchers at the Hutton and other Scottish research institutes was likely to ensure a healthy funding and ongoing relationship with establishments around the globe.

Projects on display at the event included the latest work on raspberry research, with the recent launch of Glen Dee leading the field of a number of new varieties which were in the pipeline.

Dr Susan McCallum, blueberry breeder, said that research in her area was aimed at gaining more of the UK’s estimated £237 million spent on blueberries for growers in this country. She said that breeding varieties more suited to the UK’s climate could push the share beyond the current 10 per cent of the market.