Scottish Policy Group

Are you interested in informing the development of environment and science policy in Scotland?

sign up for our newsletter! updates and events

What is the BES Scottish Policy Group?

The Scottish Policy Group (BES-SPG) is a group of BES members promoting the use of ecological knowledge in Scotland. We highlight how this knowledge can aid policymakers’ with decision-making. We also support the involvement of ecologists in all levels of Scottish policymaking.

What does the BES-SPG do?

We help ecologists get their message to policymakers. We also assist policymakers in understanding ecological knowledge (and ecologists!). As an organisation we do not adopt policy positions or campaign on particular issues, but focus on increasing the use of evidence based ecological knowledge in policymaking. However that does not mean that our members don’t have their own views!

Our Aims:

1. Supporting ecologists to understand and get involved in policy making, and support policy makers in understanding ecology.

We bring together ecologists and policymakers, provide training for Scottish ecologists to develop their policy skills and provide briefings to members about the latest policy news. We achieve this aim through:

SHADOWING Experiences

Policy Guides


2. Promoting the use of ecological knowledge as part of a multidisciplinary approach to policy making. 

We highlight the benefits of using robust ecological evidence to inform policy. We run a variety of events that encourage understanding between ecologists and policymakers, including horizon scanning sessions and our ever popular “Pie and a Pint” (PAAP) series of informal gatherings. We also organised, often in partnership with others, policy-focused research conferences and sessions. We achieve this aim through:

Pie and a pint events and reports


3. Providing robust ecological evidence.

We act as a focal point to provide robust ecological evidence to the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and wider society. We respond to requests for information, and aim to provide evidence about upcoming policy issues through proactive briefings. We achieve this aim through:

SPG Consultation Responses


Why should I get involved with the BES-SPG?

Do you want to increase the impact of your own research, or help others increase theirs? Does your job require the latest and most robust ecological knowledge? If so, BES-SPG is for you!

By getting involved with the BES-SPG you will benefit from:

  • Support to communicate your ecological research to the relevant policymakers
  • Invitations to exclusive networking and policy engagement events
  • Developing contacts at the science-policy interface
  • Receiving dedicated briefings on the latest Scottish policy issues
  • Exclusive training opportunities
  • A forum to exchange ideas and develop novel applied research

Please see our leaflet here: BES_SPG_2021.

Committee Structure and Members

Chair Isabel Jones University of Stirling
Vice-Chair Chris Pollard  Forest Research
Policy Committee Representative Jeanette Hall NatureScot
Early Career Representative Jessica Hogan University of St Andrews
Ordinary Member Ruth Mitchell James Hutton Institute
Ordinary Member Hannah Grist The Scottish Association for Marine Science
Ordinary Member Chloe Bellamy Forest Research
Ordinary Member Ellie Wood The University of Edinburgh
Ordinary Member Lucy Quinn NatureScot


The Committee are supported by Sarah McKain, the BES Scottish Policy Officer.

Read our blogs           Read the SPG 5 year Strategy 2016-2021