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SRUC - Chair

Our origins


SRUC is a specialist higher education institution delivering tertiary education, research and consultancy, created in October 2012 from the merger of Barony, Elmwood and Oatridge Colleges with the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) as the host institution.

We currently operate our main education activities from six SRUC campuses across Scotland – Aberdeen (Craibstone Estate, Aberdeen), Riverside (Ayr), Barony (Parkgate, Dumfries), Edinburgh (King’s Buildings, Edinburgh), Elmwood (Cupar, Fife), Oatridge (Ecclesmachan, West Lothian) and also deliver teaching in collaboration with the Glasgow Botanic Gardens (Glasgow).

Who we are

Our Vision: Scotland’s Enterprise University at the heart of our sustainable natural economy

Our Mission: Creating and mobilising knowledge and talent. Partnering locally and globally to benefit Scotland’s natural economy.

These reflect the importance of the work that we do in helping meet the global grand challenges, in responding to the climate emergency, and in collaborating on unprecedented levels to make the changes that our sector is capable of. Our Vision and Mission translate not only to the global, but to the national, and local scales. Given that SRUC’s footprint reaches into many of the more remote and rural areas of Scotland, then our role as an anchor tertiary institution, that understands deeply the communities and regions within which we sit, is critical.

Our specialism is the Natural Economy, taking a systemic approach, maintaining a customer focus, and embracing new ways of working.

The Natural Economy is defined as comprising six sub-sectors that either directly use, rely or contribute to conserving natural resources, namely: tourism, food and drink, fishing and aquaculture, agriculture, energy (including renewables), and forestry, logging and manufacture of wood.

In 2018, the natural economy contributed £29.1 billion gross value added (GVA) to the Scottish economy – more than a fifth of its total – and employed 290,100 people. This equates to 11 per cent of all employment across Scotland. Whereas most of the GVA generated by the natural economy is due to energy, employment is more evenly distributed across tourism, agriculture, energy, and food and drink. Nature-related tourism made the largest contribution with over 87,000 jobs.

SRUC employs approximately 1,300 staff operating from 6 campuses, 8 farms, 25 consulting offices, 6 research centres and 8  veterinary surveillance centres located primarily across Scotland. SRUC’s principal purpose is to advance education, science, research and environmental protection and improvement in the rural and land-based industries, both domestically and internationally. The commercial consultancy, skills training and research activities are undertaken through SAC Commercial Limited. It is SRUC’s intention to become a fully-fledged university – a new and unique kind of university for the 21st century that is regional, accessible, market-focused and responsive to a diverse range of challenges in the emerging natural economy. We will be a strong and unique anchor institution where research, skills and business converge. Such convergence will create new insights that deliver big strategic leaps and completely new propositions for business, society and government.

All of this activity is firmly rooted in our distinctive ethos of a Scotland-wide presence through regional centres of global excellence. Our objective is to deliver on shared goals with government, business and other partners to drive forward the natural economy through inclusive growth, job creation and generation of commercial opportunities.

We will be a research-led organisation pushing on to fulfil higher, world leading goals. Our work will also deliver towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (now integrated within the NPF). Our regional presence in Scotland is essential to allow us to be responsive to local needs. The unique integration of our research, education and consulting specialisms are key to allowing SRUC to deliver an unparalleled service to our students and customers. We are moving towards a business model comprising integrated regional specialisms/faculties, which maximise the potential of our people and expertise while creating new opportunities for partnerships, co-location, investment and growth.

Each faculty’s activities will have a strong focus on, but will not be limited to:

NORTH:                    Rural Land Use and Veterinary & Animal Science
CENTRAL:                 Natural Sciences, Policy and Enterprise & Business
SOUTH & WEST:     Land Use, Pasture-based Agriculture and Forestry

As part of our commitment to excellence in multi-disciplinary work, we are establishing a limited number of cross-faculty, outcome driven Transdisciplinary Research Centres (TRCs) to develop research partnerships within Scotland, across the UK and internationally to tackle specific challenges.