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James Hutton Institute to cut 70 jobs

Professor Iain Gordon
Professor Iain Gordon

Seventy jobs are to be axed at the James Hutton Institute, it was revealed today.

Bosses at the world-renowned Scottish farming and environmental research centre have announced plans to cut scientific and administrative posts.

The job cuts come as the institute faces a £1.8million deficit due to its government funding having been slashed by £2.5million over the last three years.

Management are to set up a voluntary redundancy scheme, but a spokeswoman for the institute was unable to say if there would be compulsory redundancies if not enough volunteers came forward.

The institute has 600 staff split between Invergowrie, Dundee and a site in Aberdeen.

Chief executive Professor Iain Gordon said: “Staffing reductions in some areas will enable us to focus our activities on key strengths and areas for growth.

“This is just one element of the changes we are undertaking to make the institute the world leader in research to support the sustainable use of land and natural resources.”

He has set an ambitious target of 15% growth in commercial research contracts, but even then the institute faces a £1.8million deficit in the current year.

It is understood that lead scientists have been charged with raising £180,000 each, annually, from outside contracts.

Paradoxically, there is still recruitment being undertaken for new research work identified in a strategy paper as “key areas of strength, potential growth and sustainable income to ensure the long term future”.

It is understood these new posts are short-term and on more flexible contract terms than those applying to existing staff.

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