A new alliance of excellence has been set up in Scotland to tackle the global challenge to feed a growing world population.

The Scottish Food Security Alliance-Crops draws together expertise from the Universities of Aberdeen and Dundee and the James Hutton Institute – to create a critical mass of internationally-recognised excellence in crop science, soil science, environmental modelling, and human nutrition.

Researchers from different disciplines will work together to tackle the challenges of sustainable food production, the depletion of natural resources including productive land, water and nutrients, and the impacts of climate change on society.

The Alliance was formally launched at The Royal Highland Show, Ingliston by the chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink, James Withers. Commenting on the initiative Mr Withers said: “As Scotland looks to produce more with less resources it has never been more important for our leading universities and research institutes to collaborate.

“The food and drink industry needs armed with emerging science and understanding. With that, we’ll play our part in rising to the food security challenge and, in so doing, secure economic success for Scotland too.”

Members of the Alliance will collaborate on research projects to enhance crop yield and optimise resources by integrating crop and soil science, improve nutritional quality and safety in the food chain, assess the impacts of farming on the environment, and harness the productive potential of diverse kinds of landscape.

The aim will be to provide practical solutions for the agricultural industry, and the knowledge which will inform decisions by policy-makers and funding bodies.

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