Rural Exchange


NISRIE logo This Novel Insights on Scotland’s Rural and Island Economies (NISRIE) project is funded within the Rural Futures Theme of the Scottish Government's 2022-27 Strategic Research Programme on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.

The evolving evidence reveals that the rural and island business base is different in terms of characteristics and needs from that of urban areas. Further, new economic opportunities are emerging for rural and island businesses in terms of green recovery and growing the natural economy. The success of rural and island economies relies on functional economic infrastructure, yet persistent issues regarding affordable housing, transport and digital connectivity continue to hinder economic development in some locations. 

Many knowledge gaps remain on rural and island economies so this NISRIE project aims to:

  1. Provide improved quantitative evidence on the rural and island business base in Scotland, including insights on their unique characteristics, challenges, and aspirations and issues and opportunities through digital use within business;
  2. Develop operational context insights from priority rural and island businesses sectors (case studies);
  3. Explore the particular characteristics of, and opportunities and challenges facing, community wealth building activities in rural and island contexts;
  4. Assess infrastructural barriers to rural and island economic performance (including relating to housing and digital connectivity) and how these impact on the lived experiences of rural and island business owners and employees;
  5. Model how the evolution of agricultural support and UK free trade agreements may impact on rural and island economies;
  6. Generate new and innovative understandings of, and recommendations to support, regional food economies in rural and island locations in future.


You can hear Project Lead, Steven Thomson, talk more about the aims and objectives of the NISRIE project on the SRUC podcast, transcript available here.

Further Reading

More within the NISRIE project


Rural & Islands Insight Report 2023

This report is the first of an annual series of reports stemming from research funded by the Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Programme 2022-27...[more]


NISRIE Analytical Framework

There are a wide range of geographic classifications available to assess socio-economic data in Scotland....[more]

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