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Feeding the Future

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

Research theme: Sustainable Futures

School: School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences


Sustainable vertical farming and precision agriculture

With growing populations and climate change, sustainable agriculture is more important than ever. And because around 70% of the UK's fruit and vegetables come from the EU, our food systems will have to undergo some major restructuring after Brexit.

We are researching how to improve yields and use resources efficiently. New urban farming systems can provide fresh, safe, and nutritious food all year round. We will see a whole host of benefits, from increased sustainable, to community wellbeing and local employment.

Addressing the Challenge

Food security demands a radical rethink of agriculture

We have developed two vertical farming showcases. Using cutting-edge technology like precision control systems and advanced lighting, we can optimise crop production and quality. A number of funders see the huge potential of our work. We've received support from Innovate UK, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Chinese government, and industry organisations.

On the 1st February 2018, Prime Minister Theresa May visited the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) which has maintained a strong relationship with NTU, and collaborates with the university in the field of vertical farming. The Prime Minister expressed her appreciation for the achievements made by Chinese scientists in the field of high-tech agriculture. She said, both Britain and China are committed to improve crop yields and sustainable agricultural development, and are striving to reduce the impact on the environment in the process of agricultural production.


Collaborative answers to a global problem

With his expertise in sustainable agriculture, nutrient use and plant genomics, Professor Chungui Lu leads the work.

We are collaborating with:

  • CambridgeHOK
  • Growing Underground
  • Saturn Bioponics
  • Nottingham City Council
  • University of Nottingham
  • Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China)
  • Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)

From the UK to China, our research is already helping many countries commercialise urban farming systems. Communities can feel confident that their food production is safe, efficient and sustainable, helping to reduce their environmental impact of food production.


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