Strategic Economic Case for Agri-Food University in Scotland

In 2018, Scotland Rural College (SRUC) commissioned us to undertake a study on the economic case for creating an enterprise university for the rural sector and what this would mean for Scotland’s economy.

This study benchmarked Scotland’s performance against comparator nations that already have a rural university, namely Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and New Zealand. It found that these nations enjoy significant advantages over Scotland, in terms of better productivity in the agricultural and primary sectors, as well as much greater research and development (R&D) investment.

For example, in terms of primary sector productivity, the gross value added (GVA) per job was €30,331 for Scotland, compared to €64,169 for the Netherlands and €99,676 for Norway. At the same time, R&D investment into the primary and agricultural sectors across the UK was also shown to be significantly lower than the other nations being benchmarked – just €6.65 per capita for the UK, compared to €53.37 for Norway and €30.51 for the Netherlands.


If Scotland is able to rise to the challenge, and match the top performing comparator countries the prize that can be won is substantial.

The report outlines the opportunity for Scotland to put systems in place to match the comparator countries studied in this report – with the establishment of an enterprise university for the rural sector as a core component – then it could mean an additional £4.5bn GVA per annum to  Scotland’s economy.

The full report is available to download from the link below:

The press release is available to read on the SRUC website via the link below

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Simon Cleary

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