Defra’s “Evidence Investment Strategy 2010-13 and beyond” (EIS) sets out the direction, priorities and scope for Defra’s knowledge base.
The Strategy recognises three main challenges for Defra and wider society:
- sustainable food production
- climate change adaptation and mitigation
- protecting ecosystem services
(Humans benefit from resources and processes that are supplied by natural ecosystems, these are currently known by the wider scientific community as ecosystem services)
It also recognises five priorities as follows:
- prioritise investment between programmes;
- a focused delivery of evidence and innovation where it is most needed, in both the short and the long term
- increase co-operation using partnership working to share investments, knowledge and expertise
- develop and organise the right skills, expertise and capabilities
- refine our processes to embed evidence into business processes
The EIS also recognises the importance of increased coordination of research within Defra, and partnership working and leveraging of research funding with other government departments, Research Councils and the Technology Strategy Board.
We will need to make the most of the funding opportunities available in Europe and wider through, for example, the EU’s multi-billion Euro R&D Framework Programme (FP7) and increase co-ordination of the national research programmes across Europe.
Research on issues such as supporting a strong and sustainable green economy which is resilient to climate change, affects several departments.
Cross government prioritisation of funding and research are important for Defra’s knowledge base, and are key issues for Defra.