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Fri December 01 2023

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Research fund seeks to protect Scottish countryside

7 May 19 A research fund has been set up to explore ways of using data to help development decisions take account of the potential impact on Scotland’s countryside.

The UK government has announced that organisations can apply for a share of £250,000 for projects that support developer decisions in the Scottish countryside.

Datasets are useful in informing decisions around land management, said the annoucement. The funding of £250,000 is being made available through an Innovate UK Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition for projects that can demonstrate how datasets can be used to support the local environment.

The competition is looking for projects which will investigate how technology can deliver better targeted information and advice to users – including land owners, developers and local authorities – to support proposals that limit, damage or benefit conservation efforts.

Tourism in the Scottish countryside is worth as much as £420m a year, said the announcement. However, landscape damage and other changes can result in the loss of local distinctiveness and wildlife diversity, and erode the quality of nearby towns and cities.

Funding for the competition forms part of the GovTech Catalyst for Scottish National Heritage (SNH).

The competition is made up of 2 phases. A total of £250,000 has been allocated to phase 1. Around five research and development contracts are expected to be awarded, with projects starting on 1 October 2019 and lasting up to 3 months.

Phase 2 will be subject to outcomes of phase 1 and is expected to award two R&D contracts, drawn from successful phase 1 applicants. Up to £500,000 will be allocated to each contract to develop a prototype and conduct field testing. Phase 2 projects can last up to 12 months.

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