The James Hutton Institute

The James Hutton Institute

The James Hutton Institute

The James Hutton Institute is a brand new international research centre based in Scotland. The work we do is right at the top of the global agenda and involves tackling some of the world’s most challenging problems including the impact of climate change and threats to food and water security.

Company details

Craigiebuckler , Aberdeen , AB15 8QH United Kingdom
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Business Type:
Research institute
Industry Type:
University / Academia / Research
Market Focus:
Internationally (various countries)
Year Founded:
$10,000,000 US - $100,000,000 US

The James Hutton Institute brought together the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute and SCRI on 1 April 2011.

The new organisation combines existing strengths in crops, soils and land use and environmental research, and will make major, new contributions to the understanding of key global issues, such as food, energy and environmental security, and developing and promoting effective technological and management solutions to these.

The James Hutton Institute is an internationally networked organisation and operates from multiple sites, including two main ones in Scotland at Aberdeen and Dundee. It employs more than 600 scientists and support staff, making it one of the biggest research centres in the UK and the first of its type in Europe. The institute is one of the Scottish Government’s main research providers in environmental, crop and food science and will have a major role in the Scottish knowledge economy.

James Hutton (1726 – 1797) was a leading figure of the Scottish Enlightenment, an eighteenth century golden age of intellectual and scientific achievements centred on Edinburgh. He is internationally regarded as the founder of modern geology and one of the first scientists to describe the Earth as a living system. His thinking on natural selection influenced Charles Darwin in developing his theory of evolution.


We will be a world leader in research and engagement to deliver evidence-based solutions to the global challenges facing land and natural resource use both now and in the future.

To deliver the highest quality integrated and innovative science that contributes knowledge, products and services to meet the multiple demands on land and natural resources.


The James Hutton Institute brings together the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute and SCRI (Scottish Crop Research Institute) both of which have illustrious histories. The new institute was created on 1 April 2011.

Macaulay Land Use Research Institute
The Macaulay Institute for Soil Research was founded in 1930 through a benefaction from one of Canada's Scottish sons, Dr T.B. Macaulay (1860 - 1942), of the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. His aim was to improve the productivity of Scottish agriculture.

Dr Macaulay was a descendent of the Macaulays from the Outer Hebridean Isle of Lewis, Scotland. He was true to his Hebridean roots throughout his life, often giving large donations to Lewis, which funded various projects including a new library and a new wing at Lewis hospital.

In April 1987 the Macaulay Institute for Soil Research merged with the Hill Farming Research Organisation and became the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute.

MLURI was established to carry out research in support of the agricultural industry, taking account of the interaction between the industry and other land users, and set in the context of the environmental objectives of the UK Government and the European Union.

SCRI was created in 1981 with the amalgamation of the long-established Scottish Plant Breeding Station based in Pentlandfield, Edinburgh, and the Scottish Horticultural Research Institute in Invergowrie, Dundee.

It was in 1921 that the Scottish Plant Breeding Station (SPBS) was set up; at the same time as several other research stations, in response to recognition by farmers, landowners and the government that UK agricultural productivity and efficiency had fallen behind that of the rest of Europe and the world.

Some 30 years later the Scottish Horticultural Research Institute (SHRI) was established at the site of the former Mylnefield Farm on the western fringes of Dundee with the aim of undertaking organised research into the problems of horticultural production in Scotland.

As a world-leading centre of crop research and breeding a wide variety of crops have come under its gaze including brassicas, lilies and grasses but latterly focussed mainly on soft fruit, potatoes and barley.

Research has also been conducted into pests and diseases, sustainability, the impacts of climate change, biodiversity and high quality and healthy food.

In addition to its research remit, the Institute administers the Scottish Society for Crop Research, providing a link between farmers, processors and other interested individuals and its research. In 1987 the Institute assumed managerial responsibility for Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland (BioSS), formerly the Scottish Agricultural Statistics Service.

In 1989, SCRI established a commercial company, Mylnefield Research Services (MRS) Ltd, to market products, intellectual property and the expertise of both SCRI and MRS Ltd scientists.