Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Defra research in agriculture and environmental protection 1990-2005; summary and analysis - ES0127

Project overview
The review will cover the programme of Environment Protection (Agriculture) research since 1990. This includes water and air pollution with nutrients and soil issues as well as the impacts of climate change, but not biodiversity/ farmland conservation or pesticides.

The project will be operated over five phases, each with some form of deliverable:

• Phase 1: The Set-up phase. The deliverable for this phase will be a comprehensive list of past projects to be reviewed, grouped into programmes and sub-programmes, with identified leaders and/or reviewers agreed upon.
• Phase 2: The Steering phase. The deliverable will be a description of the structure of the final review document, and agreements with identified programme reviewers to produce summary documents.
• Phase 3: Topic review phase. The agreed programme and sub-programme reviewers will each produce a summary of the research in their sections.
• Phase 4: Drafting of the final document. The individual reviews will be collated together and the complete final document drafted by the editor.
• Phase 5: Completion phase. The deliverables for this final stage will be the main review document and a subsidiary “policy report”. A verbal presentation of the final reports will also be a deliverable in this phase of the project.

Submissions will be made to Defra after phases one, three and five.

Project management
The project will be managed by an ADAS research scientist (Dr John King) acting as project co-ordinator, with assistance from Dr Gillian Goodlass. The technical content of the work, however, will be overseen by a Steering Committee meeting at strategic occasions throughout the project. The Steering Committee will consist of the Editor-in-chief (Dr John Sherlock), two ADAS Editors (Dr Andree Carter and Dr Brian Chambers) and the project co-ordinator from ADAS (Dr John King). This committee will take overall responsibility for the content and structure of the final review document, and identifying key scientists from collaborator organisations to oversee topic authors.

A wider group of scientists, consisting of the Steering Committee and key scientists from collaborators identified above, will be brought together to decide on the content of sections within the final review and authorship of these topic areas.

The project manager (and assistant) will be responsible for approaching the scientists in collaborating organisations to write topic-sections of the report, and negotiating time and payments available. Agreement in principle has been obtained already from two major contractors, namely IGER and NSRI, and it is anticipated that co-operation will also be forthcoming from other collaborators such as Rothamsted Research, Warwick HRI and SRI. Should the originally agreed resource allocation for outside collaborators (£37000) prove to be insufficient to complete the task, once the scope of the undertaking is fully realised, then a fully costed submission for further work will be presented to Defra at the end of phase one.

The project manager (and assistant) will similarly be responsible for approaching and securing agreement to write topic summaries for programmes and sub-programmes from other key scientists within ADAS. They (co-ordinator and assistant) will also carry out preliminary editing and checking of submitted summaries, and of finally preparing the final reports for submission to Defra.

The overall scientific content of the report will be the responsibility of the Editor–in-Chief , Dr John Sherlock, though in consultation with the ADAS editors Dr Andree Carter and Dr Brian Chambers. The Editor-in-Chief will have the final say in the scope and content of the individual programme and sub-programme summaries received from collaborators, before inclusion into the final draft review. Communication between the editors and programme authors will be via the project co-ordinator. The Editors and co-ordinator will jointly be responsible for verbal presentations to Defra on completion of the project.

The work has been divided into five phases occurring sequentially over 9 months. The approximate timeplan for each phase is shown in the GANTT chart below, and will be overseen by the Steering Committee meeting at strategic occasions throughout the project. The Steering Committee will consist of the Editor-in-chief (Dr John Sherlock), two ADAS Editors (Dr Andree Carter and Dr Brian Chambers) and the project co-ordinator from ADAS (Dr John King). The work encompassed by each phase is described below the GANTT chart under each phase heading.

Year 2004 2005
Month Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul.
Phase 1……..
Phase 2……….
Phase 3……………………
Phase 4………...
Phase 5
Meetings:- S S+ S+ S
Reports: - Costs Progress Final

(S= Steering committee; S+ = steering committee plus others)

Phase 1
Project co-ordinator to scope the information available from Defra and Contractors, and negotiate its retrieval and copying. Information will consist of a full project list from Defra along with programme groupings and statements of original policy aims and objectives for each programme. The co-ordinator will approach each contractor organisation with a list of projects and request whether full and/or abstract reports are available (also bibliography of associated papers).

Phase 2
Steering committee to meet and collate projects into topic areas for chapter structure of final document. Meeting will also identify individual editors to review each topic area, and estimate the time and cost likely to be incurred for each. Current rough estimate is about 10 people @ £2000 to £4000 each. Steering Committee to communicate Review structure and costing with Defra project officer for approval.

Project co-ordinator to contact individual topic reviewers, to obtain their co-operation and furnish them with any copies of projects and Defra programme aims necessary for their reports. Set target date for reviews to be completed by end of March 2005.

Phase 3
Steering Committee to meet with topic reviewers, where possible and beneficial, to agree topics and projects covered by each review, and nature of the requirements of each review.

Topic reviewers to carry out their work and produce summaries of progress made by projects reported on. Project co-ordinator to liase between reviewers and collate reports as they are completed. In addition the project co-ordinator will compile a bibliography of published work by the authors of project reports associated with each topic area and make this available to reviewers and editors as appropriate.

Phase 4
Steering committee to meet with topic reviewers, to agree responses and obtain a brief overview of each topic. Meeting will also identify any late needs and/or omissions, and plan the editing of the final document.

Editor-in-chief will edit topic reviews into coherent final report, with assistance if required from whomever appropriate. During this, the Editor will identify areas in particular need of comment for current and future policy.

Phase 5
Steering Committee to meet and get an overview of final document and approve it. In addition, the specific findings in need of comment with respect to current and future policy will be reported and individuals identified to make a final short report on policy implications to be attached to the final report.

Co-ordinator to contact policy report individuals and supply copies of final report as necessary. In addition these short reports will be collated into a subsidiary report on the Policy implications of the review.

Once both reports are agreed they will be presented to Defra by Editor in chief and steering committee if appropriate. A verbal presentation will be given, as well as written and electronic reports.

Report structure and content
Three reports in total are envisaged as the final package deliverable to Defra. These are:
1. The summary review of research in agriculture and environmental protection between 1990 –2004.
2. The current and future policy implications of the research in agriculture and environmental protection between 1990 –2004.
3. A verbal presentation of the above two reports by the steering committee team to key Defra personnel.

1. The full scope of the research covered will be confirmed by Defra during initial consultations to determine the actual projects to be covered during phase one of the project. The actual topic areas for sub-division of the report will be decided by the steering committee, but it is envisaged that they will broadly follow the lines of original programmes of projects used by Defra with subdivision of larger programmes and those that were more diverse in their scope.

The content of each topic-section depends on the projects covered, and although the full range of relevant projects should be covered, some will inevitably be more influential than others and command a greater proportion of the summary. The nature of the content though will not be simply a re-writing of project summaries and abstracts, but a re-expression of the findings with respect to those from other projects and outside knowledge from a more authoritative standpoint than was capable at the time of writing. The authors of each topic -section will review the work with a primary focus on summarising the results with respect to general scientific knowledge in the topic area, and thus making the results accessible to a wider audience. Guidelines to focus and direct the reviewing will be drawn up by the steering committee and made available to topic-authors, to ensure that all sections maintain the above focus, and accessibility.

2. The above emphasis on summarising sometimes complex results will enable clear messages about past research which can inform current policy requirements, or identify policy areas that need addressing. These will be used to generate a second report which analyses the implications for current and future policy, and identifies gaps in the knowledge which were realised after the end of past research programmes. In this subsidiary report will be an assessment of current policy needs in the topic areas covered by the above review, and suggestions for future research in new policy initiatives that build upon the foundations set by this recent research.

3. The key points from the above two reports will be presented verbally to key scientists and policy makers in Defra (agreed upon at the time) to emphasise the scope and timeliness of the findings. The main summary report will be text and illustrations suitable for publishing in a comprehensive booklet if Defra decide that it is suitable. For this reason all chapters will be written in a common style aimed at an “intelligent lay-readership” on the same level as other recent summary brochures published by Defra (“Tackling Nitrates from Agriculture” and “Ammonia in the UK”) or popular scientific magazines (e.g. New scientist). The possible publication will be discussed after this presentation.
1. To produce an authoritative review of the research conducted into soil, water and air pollution and degradation, carried out under the Environment Protection (Agriculture) Programme administered by the Chief Scientist`s group in MAFF and Nutural Resources and Rural Affairs Directorate General of Defra, between 1990 and 2004.

2. To report on the policy implications of the reviewed science. This will involve linking the summarised research to Defra`s policy objectives, so that its relevance and implications for current and future policy is clearly described.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Defra research in agriculture and environmental protection 1990-2005; Summary and analysis   (352k)
• Final Report - Annex : Appendix 2: Agri-environment research, 1990-2005: Policy implications   (40k)
• Final Report - Annex : Summary review of research 1990-2005   (4949k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2005

Cost: £84,293
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Environmental Protection              
Overall Evaluation