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About Us

The Macaulay Development Trust is a charity which supports excellent research into the sustainable use of land and natural resources, for the benefit of people, their communities and the environment which aligns with the vision and legacy of TB Macaulay.  It has financial investments, which are managed on an ethical basis, and some investment property which generate the funds which are subsequently distributed in grants.

The Trust can trace its origins back to an endowment from Dr T B Macaulay in 1930 to establish the Macaulay Institute for Soil Research. The Trust was created as an independent charity in 1994 and now operates under a supplementary deed registered in 2011. The Trustees distribute funds for scientific research that progresses T B Macaulay’s vision and addresses current and future needs.

The Trust is registered as a Scottish charity (SC023988) and as such is regulated by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.

The current funding priorities and details of how to apply for funding are shown here while details of how to contact the Trust can be found here.


Thomas Bassett Macaulay was a descendant of the Macaulays of Lewis. His father was born in Fraserburgh and built up the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. His mother was from Edinburgh and two of his uncles were doctors trained in Aberdeen. T B Macaulay spent most of his life in Canada although he retained very strong connections with Scotland.

T B Macaulay became President of the Sun Life Assurance Company but had extensive outside interests including medical and agricultural research. In his leisure time, he was personally and directly involved both in improving the bloodlines of Holstein cattle and in carrying out experiments on breeding of maize with a view to developing an early ripening variety suited to Canadian conditions. In 1928 T B Macaulay established an experimental farm on Lewis to conduct research on the soils and land surface character in an attempt to improve agriculture and the use of land to support the socio-economic development of rural Scotland.

In 1930 T B Macaulay provided an endowment to establish a research institute, the Macaulay Institute for Soil Research, named after the family and in memory of his father. The aim of the Institute was to help fulfil his vision of improving the productivity and sustainability of Scottish agriculture through the application of sound scientific research.

Subsequently, T B Macaulay received honorary degrees from the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow in recognition of his contribution both personally, and through the research institute he established, to Scottish agriculture. The work of the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute is continued today by the James Hutton Institute.