What is Relu?

The interdisciplinary Relu Programme studies the social, economic, environmental and technological challenges facing rural areas in Britain. Teams of social and environmental scientists, in close collaboration with stakeholders, research: sustainable food chains, the management of animal and plant diseases, adaptation to environmental change, and integrated land and water management.

Between 2004 and 2013, Relu funded a total of 94 projects. The projects engaged around 4,000 stakeholders and the Programme forged close networks with key individuals and organisations. Relu brought together researchers from 40 distinct disciplines ranging from anthropology to water engineering, with the largest numbers coming from ecology, economics, human geography, environmental modelling and sociology. Relu teams all included natural and social scientists and merged qualitative and quantitative disciplines.

The Programme's data management policy encouraged good data practices amongst researchers and made sure that data were made available for archiving and sharing with the wider research community.

Relu was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), with additional funding from the Scottish Government and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).