Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture

An agency of central government, Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) occupies modern offices and laboratories at Roddinglaw in the City of Edinburgh, 6 miles (10 km) west southwest of the city centre, together with Gogarbank Farm, which lies immediately to the south.

SASA are involved in seed testing, crop certification, disease diagnosis, chemical analysis, research and development, together with training services, all of which are available to commercial organisations and individual farms. Established in 1923 as a seed testing station at East Craigs farm (W Edinburgh), which the Board of Agriculture had purchased three years earlier. This site was shared with the Scottish Plant Breeding Station (SPBS) which moved to Pentlandfield in the early 1950s. A significant expansion came after the Second World War through work in plant quarantine and disease control through the introduction of certification schemes. The need for field trials brought the acquisition, in the early 1970s, of three farms that were the property of Gogarburn Hospital; Gogarbank, Overgogar and Roddinglaw farms were merged into one unit, now called Gogarbank Farm. The organisation became the Scottish Agricultural Science Agency (also SASA) in 1992 and began work in molecular biology, which subsequently developed into genetic fingerprinting and a role as an inspectorate for genetically-modified crop varieties (adopted 2000).

SASA relocated from ageing buildings at East Craigs to purpose-built accommodation at Roddinglaw in 2006, consolidating office, laboratory, glasshouse and field-based activities all on one site. The hangar-roofed building was designed by Parr Architects and built 2004-05 by Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd. The East Craigs site was sold for development as housing.

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