Group Manager Future Farming Systems, SRUC
Professor Alistair Stott heads SRUC's Future Farming Systems Research Group, with research interests 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. To understand change it is necessary to look at the whole system. For example, reduced use of antibiotics in agriculture demands many other changes in farming practice to protect animal and human health, animal welfare, food security, farm incomes and the carbon footprint of agriculture.
Coping with these complex interactions requires interdisciplinary modelling approaches that capture the scientific details of the main processes concerned alongside the economic aspects that govern farmers' reactions to change. Facilitating change requires that complex research outcomes are delivered to farmers in ways that allow them to make the right decisions needed for sustainable food production. Developments in precision agriculture and associated big data applications are increasingly able to address this need.
Professor Stott works with Agrimetrics, the world's first Big Data Centre of Excellence, for the whole agrifood industry to bring disparate datasets together in support of sustainable agriculture.