More collaboration will play a key role in meeting the need for greater innovation in the changing economic landscape which faces Scottish agriculture, a leading academic has claimed.
Speaking at the annual SAOS co-operatives conference, principal and chief executive of the SRUC Professor Wayne Powell said that, like the industry as a whole, Scotland’s rural college had to work differently in the future.
Prof Powell said a recent review of SRUC’s operations had shown that it hadn’t been working as effectively as it could have been and change was needed.
“We had more than enough strategies but important parts of our overall approach were missing – and there wasn’t sufficient emphasis on our people, the overall culture, and the college was somehow lacking in the ability to be outward facing and to become involved in collaborative ventures,” he said.
One outcome of this review has been the ground-breaking collaboration
with Moredun on the provision of veterinary surveillance services. Prof Powell said the co-location at the Moredun campus had not only eliminated duplication of efforts and equipment, but had the additional benefit of adding value.
“Not only does this help us gain access to the best technical equipment but there is also more critical mass for the scientific teams involved and additional benefits from interaction with Moredun Research Institute scientists,” he said.
In a further example of his commitment to working with other organisation, he also proposed the funding of a collaborative post with SAOS, which would focus on the opportunities for innovative approaches within the field of agricultural co-operatives.