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Centre for Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences Research

Unit(s) of assessment: Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology

Research theme: Sustainable Futures

School: School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences


Now more than ever, our planet is facing some tough challenges. With a growing population putting inevitable pressure on the Earth’s resources, plotting the path to a sustainable future has never been more vital. We’re committed to developing research and innovation which can make a meaningful difference.

We undertake research in a range of land-based disciplines at NTU’s dedicated Brackenhurst Campus. This campus has a proud professional heritage, having delivered courses in these subject areas for over 70 years. Today we’re firmly focused on developing graduates with 21st century skills, scientific knowledge and experience.

Our high-impact research is focused around four core themes:

We aspire for excellence through international and interdisciplinary collaboration, and foster a research environment that rewards innovation. Our research is recognised both nationally and internationally, often informing professional practice across the sector.

Natural environment

Research in this area explores environmental issues, including the principles underlying the exploitation of natural resources and waste management

Research Areas:

  • Peatland monitoring and management
  • Nutrient cycling, eutrophication and algal bloom control in aquatic environments
  • Pollutants in soils, waters and sediments
  • Application of GIS, Remote Sensing, UAVs and spatial analysis
  • Glaciers and associated geomorphological change since the Neoglacial

Ecology and conservation

The ecology and conservation research group is comprised of research active staff and PhD students from the College of Science and Technology, who share an interest in species and habitat conservation and improving our understanding of ecological interactions.

The group’s research is largely applied in nature, and involves understanding the ecological consequences of environmental change caused by human activity. We do this by studying organisms at an individual, population, and community level, across a range of taxa. The findings are used to inform current and future conservation management.

Research Areas:

  • Urban Ecology
  • Aquatic Ecology
  • Behavioural Ecology
  • Wildlife and Habitat Conservation

Sustainable agriculture and food security

The group focuses on teaching modern production methods and management of plant crop, agronomy and post-harvest issues. We also specialise in delivering the knowledge and skills needed to implement safe practices in the production of food, as well as understanding microbial food spoilage and toxin production.

Research Areas:

  • Sustainability of agriculture
  • Innovations and attitudes and behaviour relating to agriculture and food
  • Vertical framing and urban agriculture
  • Horticulture and garden design
  • Animal physiology, and animal nutrition to improve gut health and production
  • Livestock behaviour welfare and housing

Animal behaviour, performance and welfare

The group focuses on research aimed at improving the welfare of captive, companion and performance animals. This multi-disciplinary group includes specialists in the assessment of animal health and welfare using a range of concepts and methodologies. In addition to the summaries below, further information relating to research in each of these areas can be found by following the relevant links.

Research areas:

  • Captive Species
  • Companion Animals
  • Equine Management and Equestrian Performance

PhD Funding

Find out everything you need to know about funding your doctoral studies – from tuition fees and loans, to studentships and external funding.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, 86% of NTU's research impact was assessed to be either world-leading or internationally excellent. The overall quality of each Unit of Assessment NTU submitted to REF in 2021 also saw an improvement from the previous REF in 2014.