The University of Reading undertakes research focussing on real-world issues affecting society both in the present and in the future.

The University of Reading undertakes research focusing on real-world issues affecting society both in the present and in the future. Our interdisciplinary research strengths fall into three main spheres: Food security, Climate & environmental sciences, and Health.

The School of Agriculture, Policy and Development are world leaders in research and teaching, maintaining a reputation developed since the 1800’s. Our focus is to provide the individuals and knowledge to address the major challenges and opportunities in our sector for the 21st century. We address food production, the sustainability of agroecosystems, food security, adaptation and mitigation to climate change, food chains and health, poverty alleviation, and consumer behaviour and choice. We are the UK’s top university for impact in Agricultural Sciences. The School of Agriculture, Policy and Development was ranked 11th in the world in 2013, the highest UK ranking in agricultural sciences.

The Centre for Food Security at the University of Reading joins together existing areas of research excellence to provide a platform for real-world research into the challenges of ensuring global food security. We collaborate with policymakers, industry and the global research community to help ensure resilient, sustainable and healthy food chains. At Reading, we have an international reputation for research spanning the whole food chain, and in particular, we have strengths in the areas of the food chain and health, sustainable agriculture and biodiversity.

Waitrose Collaborative Projects

For further information please contact Prof Simon Potts.

Ecosystem services in sustainable agriculture: maximising productivity and environmental benefits.

Paul Tyson is a NERC CASE studentship whose project aims to understand and manage risks to the Waitrose soft fruit supply chain by:

  • Determining the dependency of production on ecosystem services such as pest regulation, pollination, soil fertility and water availability
  • Understanding and quantifying the impact of production on ecosystem services and the wider environment (carbon, biodiversity, soil and water resources)

The research aims to develop novel management practices aimed at optimising ecosystem services to maximise the economic and environmental benefits of production systems. The project is supervised by Prof Simon Potts, Dr Martin Lukac and Dr Alison Bailey.

Carbon audit of soft fruit production systems

This project, led by Dr Martin Lukac, is carrying out an audit of carbon stocks contained in soils and plant biomass in hedgerows and permanent grassland on a soft fruit farm. The research aims to provide an insight into:

  • Carbon sequestration benefits of converting the farm from arable to low disturbance production
  • Estimate annual carbon accumulation in soils and in perennial plant biomass
  • Suggest ways of improving carbon storage and decreasing the carbon footprint of the business

Pollinator Factsheets

Dr Martin Lukac

Martin highlights the urgency in building sustainable plans to ensure resource to feed 9 billion people.