About BioSS

BioSS specialises in the development and application of the quantitative methods needed to enhance scientific knowledge and impact.

Our vision is to improve science & society through an understanding of variation, uncertainty and risk.

Our mission is to develop and apply quantitative methodologies with a rigorous mathematical and statistical basis.

a loch viewed through mossy tree branches


We are recognised internationally for our work at the interface between the mathematically-based sciences and a wide span of applied sciences covering agriculture and the rural economy, the environment, food and health.

Our principal funder is the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS).

We are one of the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI), working collectively to deliver a portfolio of strategic research and translational activities commissioned by RESAS.


Our Values

There is a strong collegiate ethos in BioSS, through which our people at different sites combine to form a shared capability which has few parallels elsewhere in the world. This sense of shared purpose is expressed in a set of core values which are emergent properties of how BioSS thinks and works. Our values are summarised as:


Although formally a part of the James Hutton Institute, BioSS interacts scientifically with external organisations as if it were independent. This perceived independence is central to the success of BioSS: it is enshrined in recognition of the James Hutton Institute acting as "guardian" of the BioSS for its key stakeholders. The activities and development of BioSS are guided by a Strategic Planning Group which includes representation from all principal stakeholders.

Internal management of BioSS is led by a Director, supported by an Executive team. The Executive includes the Heads of Research, Consultancy and Operations.  These are joined on the BioSS Management Group by three Research Leaders, five Principal Consultants, Research Operations Manager,  IT Manager and Administrative Officer to determine, implement and communicate strategic decisions. A number of working groups focus on specific issues to shape working practices within BioSS.

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Interdisciplinary working

BioSS employs around 50 staff across four locations to reflect the geographical distribution of the institutes with which we collaborate most closely, including offices on the Kings Buildings science campus of the University of Edinburgh. This strategy helps BioSS staff work closely with scientists from other organisations and disciplines whilst maintaining our own distinct scientific profile.


The principal funder of BioSS is the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS). Substantial additional funding for BioSS is secured each year from a wide range of sources from the public and private sectors, both national and international.



BioSS has accreditations for ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO 14001 (environmental management). View our certificates: ISO 9001 and  ISO 14001. Alternatively to view on the official website, click here and search for “The James Hutton Institute” + “United Kingdom”.

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We hold Investors in People Gold status.