Transformation in agricultural land management is critical to achieving Scottish Government’s aims of mitigating climate change, addressing the biodiversity crisis and achieving a just transition for land and agriculture.

Providing advice and collaborative learning opportunities through the Farm Advisory Service (FAS) is the key mechanism to deliver behaviour change in the agricultural sector. The Scottish Government is seeking to better integrate the FAS into an agricultural knowledge and innovation system (AKIS) for Scotland. AKIS is a system of innovation that links organisations, institutions, incentives and funding.

This research comprises an evidence review and options appraisal for an agricultural knowledge and innovation system for Scotland. 


Creating a responsive, inclusive AKIS for Scotland requires carving new pathways between actors and rethinking service provision. The Farm Advisory Service has had very positive reviews to date.

Pursuing many of the options identified in this report would represent a major re-organisation and re-allocation of resources. Detailed planning and consultation would be required to ensure that new approaches add value. Expansion of supports to cohorts in addition to farmers and crofters (eg foresters, community land owners, new landowners primarily focused on carbon offsetting or rewilding) will require reorientation of resources or increased investment. A collaborative approach across policy areas would be required to achieve an effective, system-wide transformation.

A list of options of action and enablers identified in the study can be found in the report.