Our research

We are committed to delivering our primary purpose of protecting and improving the Scottish environment by using research to explore and develop the evidence that underpins our work and testing and applying that knowledge.

We have included our research on our website, in three sections:

  • Understanding people and the environment - The changing needs of society and changes in government priorities also require research work, to understand the relationship between environment and human health,  and how to influence and inform human behaviour to keep the environment protected.
  • Tools, techniques and technologies - One of our priorities is to develop our capacity to detect, assess and monitor new environmental threats identified by our regulatory, planning, problem-solving, emerging issues and horizon scanning processes.
  • Data information and knowledge -  This information leads to risk-based action to protect and improve the environment, safeguard communities and improve well-being.

Funding and research & development (R&D) programme

We run an annual internal research and development (R&D) programme which funds a number of projects focused on resolving our priority issues. We are always searching for novel and innovative ways to resolve the environmental problems which affect the environment and human wellbeing and health. Within this programme, we will consider awarding occasional, small-scale (generally less than £20,000) grants for research and development.  

To find out more, please download our Research and Development Framework 2014-19 and review our current research and development programme.

Research liaison and collaboration

We recognise the importance of working in partnership with other Scottish and UK funders of environmental research, like Scottish Natural Heritage, and work with initiatives such as Living with Environmental Change  to coordinate the UK’s wider research agenda.   

The Shared Agency Regulatory Evidence Programme (ShARE) funds joint research between the UK and Irish Environment Agencies (SEPA, Environment Agency, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Natural Resources Body for Wales and Environmental Protection Agency Ireland).

SEPA also works closely with a wide range of research institutes and universities. 

If you think you can collaborate with SEPA on a research and development project, contact us.

Knowledge exchange

As well as directly collaborating with researchers, outputs from our research projects are available online, to enable researchers and the general public to access the research that we produce and promote open access to research.