About Us

A Division of the Scottish Government Agriculture and Rural Delivery Directorate, our primary role is to provide scientific services and advice in support of Scotland’s agriculture and wider environment. Although much of our work is in support of arable agriculture we also provide services in food safety, wildlife management and crime whilst providing specialist advice to Scottish Ministers.

SASA occupies a world class laboratory, glasshouse and experimental farm facility on the outskirts of Edinburgh where a community of 100 scientists and their supporters?work?to ensure the quality, safety and security of our food supply in Scotland, and contribute to the quality of our environment.?

The work of SASA biologists and chemists is aimed at:

  • Ensuring the quality of seeds and tubers for planting, and new crop varieties;
  • Keeping field and horticultural crops free of damaging diseases;
  • Keeping serious pests of plants out of the UK and Scotland;
  • Acting as the Scottish Government's Inspectorate of genetically-modified crops;
  • Developing new and more sensitive diagnostic tests for pests and diseases;
  • Preserving and maintaining a wide range of historic, heritage and other varieties of potatoes, cereals, peas and brassicas;
  • Monitoring the pesticide load in our diet, and the pattern of use of pesticides in Scotland;
  • Protecting wildlife against deliberate or accidental poisoning;
  • Understanding the ecology of important vertebrate species (e.g. rabbits, foxes, geese).

SASA staff members are civil servants, doing their scientific work in relation to devolved matters for Scottish Government ministers, and for the good of people in Scotland. These web pages give details of what we do, including seed testing, crop certification, disease diagnosis, chemical analysis, surveys, training and other services that are available to commercial organisations and individuals. As the emphasis is on quality, an increasing proportion of our work is done by teams that are formally accredited under UKAS schemes.

For more information about SASA, including its aims and functions, see also the SASA - Helping Scotland Grow document.