Scottish Crop Research Institute

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The Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI) is an agricultural research centre based at Invergowrie, near Dundee, employing over 350 staff. It has an income in excess of £13m, the majority from public funding. However, its corporate backing is disclosed neither on its website nor to enquirers.

The SCRI's Annual Report of 2006 [1] lists among its commercial research collaborators the GM and chemical giants Bayer Crop Science and Syngenta and the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

The SCRI was among the consortium of 3 Research Contractors (Rothamsted Research is another) who undertook the UK Government's £3M+ three-year programme of GM Crop Farm-Scale Evaluations.

The SCRI's director is Professor John Hillman, who succeeded the SCRI's Acting Director, Mike Wilson. Both Hillman and Wilson are staunch advocates of GM crops. They even co-authored an article defending GM crops for a book edited by the far-right free marketeers Julian Morris and Roger Bate.

Under Wilson and Hillman's direction, the SCRI's promotion of itself and its science to the media and the public has become synonymous with the promotion of GM crops. In this they were assisted until his retirement by the SCRI's chief information officer, Bill MacFarlane Smith, who is also part of the biotech-industry funded lobby group CropGen and an Honorary Research Fellow of SCRI.

In 2000 Hillman used the SCRI's annual report to attack organic farming. This was widely publicised, thanks to MacFarlane Smith and an SCRI press release: "Leading expert reopens GM food debate"[2].

The SCRI is a member of the BioIndustry Association, whose tagline is 'Encouraging and Promoting the Biotechnology Sector of the UK Economy'. John Hillman was formerly on its Board of Directors.

Contents

Commercial wing

The SCRI has a commercial wing, Mylnefield Research Services (MRS), which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SCRI. It was established in 1989 to enhance "competitiveness, understand and fulfil the needs of industry and maximise the value of SCRI intellectual property and resources." [3] MRS benefits SCRI through annual Gift Aid and provision of services, without any external financial assistance.

MRS is then subdivided into the Mylnefield Trust and Mylnefield Holdings Ltd. (MHL) Mylnefield Trust and Mylnefield Holdings Ltd (MHL) were established in 2000 in order to give the SCRI Group the flexibility it requires to grow. Central to this growth is the creation of a number of spin-off companies, such as Scottish Potato Technology Ltd, in which MHL on behalf of the SCRI Group will hold equity.

In 2006 the Trust had funds of approximately £400K,achieved mainly through donations from MRS Ltd.

To date the Trust has financially supported: - a Research Incentive Fund; - an Educational Officer at SCRI; - a hardship fund for an overseas student; - various research projects valued at £48,751.[4]

During the financial year 2006-07 The Trust supported three projects amounting to £7,552. During the same financial year The Trust supported scientific publications up to a value of £10,000.[5]

MRS is involved in several LINK projects at SCRI:

Finances

The income of MRS increased to £1.99 million in 2005/2006 and MRS transferred £1.32 million to the SCRI Group, including £90K Gift Aid to the Mylnefield Trust and £125K Gift Aid to SCRI. Contract research (66%) is the largest contributor to income, followed by lipid analysis (15%) and royalties (10%).[7]


Contact Details

  • Address: SCRI, Invergowrie, Dundee, DD2 5DA, Scotland, UK
  • Tel: +44(0)1382 562731
  • Email: info@scri.ac.uk
  • Website: http://www.scri.ac.uk/


Notes

  1. Annual Report 2006, SCRI
  2. "Leading expert reopens GM food debate", press release, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Feb 2000, as of September 2008 no longer available on the internet
  3. Annual Report 2006, SCRI
  4. Nigel W. Kerby & Jonathan B. Snape, "Mylnefield Research Services", 2006
  5. Nigel W. Kerby & Jonathan B. Snape, "Mylnefield Research Services", 2006
  6. Nigel W. Kerby & Jonathan B. Snape, "Mylnefield Research Services", 2006
  7. Nigel W. Kerby & Jonathan B. Snape, "Mylnefield Research Services", 2006
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