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Rural Economy and Land Use Programme - SD0403

The Rural Economy and Land Use programme (RELU) is managed jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Natural Environment Research Council, SEERAD and Defra. The programme will develop - within a socio-economic framework - future research-based options for sustainable land use. Integrating social, political, economic, technical and environmental perspectives, RELU will help to ensure that the vision of the Government's Rural White Paper, Our Countryside: The Future, can be achieved and sustained.

The aim of RELU is to provide a body of evidence, supported by underpinning research, that can be used to inform policy and practice in this area. The programme is expected to contribute to the long-term outcome of achieving a rural economy that meets social and economic objectives, with protection of the rural environment and a modern, sustainable and competitive agricultural industry.

This programme will pursue an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to research on rural issues, in order to exploit opportunities for synergy between the communities supported by the participating Councils and maximise its added value. Work will be relevant and timely, as well as scientifically excellent. It will address problems at an appropriate range of scales, and the relationships between them - from individual fields and farms to the wider landscape and rural economy in their national and international contexts.


To deliver integrative, interdisciplinary research of high quality that will advance understanding of the social, economic, environmental and technological challenges faced by rural areas, and of the relationships between them.

Capacity building

To enhance and expand capabilities for integrative, interdisciplinary research on rural issues.

Knowledge transfer

To enhance the impact of research on rural policy and practice by involving stakeholders in all stages of RELU, including programme development, research activities and communication of outcomes.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2009

Cost: £1,000,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Economics and Social Research Council
Rural Development