Scotland's Rural College
I head SRUC’s Future Farming Systems Research Group . Our research interests are driven by the need to understand and facilitate change in farming systems, not just in Scotland but throughout the world. Change is essential as farming adapts to climate change, population growth and diminishing stocks of the resources on which agriculture depends.
For farmers and others in the food sector to make the most of this opportunity at minimum risk requires knowledge of the complex interactions that govern the processes that convert these resources into safe and wholesome food. This information is a resource in itself, an input to agriculture that may be used in place of other (more expensive and/or more damaging) inputs to produce food more sustainably.
Creating these knowledge inputs requires research to ensure that the right information gets to the right people at the right time and in the right form to aid their decision making. Research is also needed to ensure that it is actually used.
Developments in information and communications technologies are making it cheaper and easier to deliver these knowledge resources to agriculture. Often research is needed to cut down the volumes of information available, selecting only those that relate to the particular circumstances of the decision maker.
To ensure we can capture the whole system in ways relevant to farmers our research is conducted on whole farm platforms. We use interdisciplinary research that captures the decision makers’ perspective through socio-economic approaches while retaining the in-depth understanding of the biological processes concerned as well. The particular focus of my research is on the economics of animal health and welfare and the contribution that this can make to sustainable agriculture.
Andreas Soteriades - Trade-offs in sustainable agriculture