Research is a key part of NatureScot’s work. Our research priorities are guided by:

Our work is underpinned by science and evidence, and all our research projects are linked to the priorities set out in our Corporate Plan. Most of our research projects are carried out by external contractors and/or with partners such as government departments, research institutes and universities. NatureScot staff will identify a need, produce a research proposal, provide information, data and supervisory support, and publish the research reports at the end of projects.

Connecting with Universities and the Research Community

Our Corporate Plan sets out our three priorities – Protect, Restore and Value nature. The plan includes targets for 2026 and 2030 in order to meet the three priorities. Our research needs underpin the work required to meet these targets. The new Scottish Government’s Biodiversity Strategy and implementation plan will also direct our science and evidence needs.

NatureScot is keen to support CASE PhD studentships and Masters Projects that are aligned with our priorities. Each year we work with a range of Universities across the UK supporting the development of Doctoral Training Partnerships. We also work closely with Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) on developing proposals.

Some current examples of CASE PhDs include:

  • Understanding public opinion on conservation
  • Changes in upland aquatic plants in the UK
  • Exploring geovisualisations as place-based planning tools for collaborative marine and coastal management
  • Scottish seagrass Soundscapes: development of acoustics as a tool to monitor their health, role and restoration
  • Evaluating the landscape-scale benefits of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems for freshwater biodiversity

Getting in touch:

For University Staff, if you are working on a proposal that you think might be of interest to NatureScot, then please get in touch at [email protected] 

For prospective PhD students, please ask your supervisor to get in touch with NatureScot at [email protected] 

For Masters Students, if you are interested in any of our current projects please complete an expression of interest form and submit it to [email protected]

Research reports

A research report is one of the main outputs from our research projects, although we also produce infographics, story maps, posters and other materials to explain and illustrate our findings. Our reports summarise the findings of our research work and are reviewed by a senior member of staff before publication. External reviewers are often involved at this stage too.

Our published research from the last three years and archived research are available on our website.

To ensure that our research reports follow a standard format, we supply a template and instructions to follow with each research contract.

If you are unable to find the research publication you're looking for email [email protected] 


Get in touch if you're are unable to find the research publication you're looking for.

Email: [email protected]

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