We are committed to creating science-based solutions to tackle the most pressing environmental, economic and societal challenges that the planet is facing. For more than 50 years, our experienced team has contributed to enhancing natural capital and ensuring the future resilience of global food systems by developing and creating the necessary tools.
“One thing I’m really proud of is that the outcome of my PhD has resulted in a collaborative partnership that’s supporting over 7,000 small-holder farmers in Northern Madagascar. My PhD was sponsored by Unilever, and I worked directly with them to maximise the business impact my PhD could have. As a result, I joined them full-time after finishing my studies.”
Dr Siobhan Gardiner,
Global Director of Climate & Nature, ALDI SOUTH Group, (Environment and Agrifood PhD 2017)
UK No. 1
The new Agri-Informatics building was awarded best education building in the Local Building Authority (LABC) central region 2020 awards.
Our World Soil Survey Archive and Catalogue, (WOSSAC) covers 329 territories worldwide.
Just under two-thirds of our Environment and Agrifood learners come from outside the UK, representing 38 nationalities.
(Figures from July 2023)
Research in action
Increasing food safety and security of the Ethiopian peanut food chain
Our researchers are working with Ethiopian farmers, industry and universities with the aim of securing the Ethiopian peanut food chain against the high contamination of aflatoxins to reduce health risks.
Aflatoxins can be toxic and their consumption can lead to chronic effects, such as; the development of hepatic cancer, childhood stunting, disease and even death.
The project has identified the steps in the food chain where the contamination risk is highest and developed affordable science-based solutions that could be easily adopted by the workers.
The outcomes of the project will increase Ethiopian peanut productivity and, thus, secure increased local supply of high quality (low toxin) peanuts for our industry partner, which in turn will have beneficial impacts on the local rural economy.
Investing in innovative facilities
Just a few of the facilities available to students and clients to conduct their research at scale are:
- Food research laboratories: Within the University, we have research groups looking to making improvements throughout all stages of the food chain. From soils and soil analysis, plant genetics, seed biology, mycology and microbiology research facilities, to postharvest laboratories and bioinformatics. In all these groups, our learners will have access to sophisticated equipment and world-class facilities to develop their studies.
- Cranfield Urban Observatory: The entire Cranfield campus is a living laboratory – a testbed for transformative technologies to deliver enhanced social, economic and environmental outcomes in urban infrastructures. Our own airport, solar farms, water treatment facility and road testing environment are just some of the capabilities linking the campus-wide network of sensors, measuring the air, water, soil and wildlife.
- LandIS, the Land Information System, is a substantial environmental information system operated by Cranfield, and recognised by Defra as being the definitive source of national soils information. It contains soil and soil-related information for England and Wales including spatial mapping of soils at a variety of scales, as well as corresponding soil property and agro-climatological data.
- Environment Centre: Two new £3 million buildings for agri-informatics, atmospheric research and land-use observation systems. This is complemented by FAAM, which is the UK National Environment Research Council’s facility for operating the BAE-146 atmospheric research aircraft, the largest of its type in Europe, and which operates from the Cranfield campus.
- Soil research: These unique, world-leading facilities include the Wolfson laboratory for measuring soil carbon balances and fluxes under field conditions, and a pilot-scale plant phenotyping and soil health facility in a nine metre-high glasshouse for reproducing different soil conditions and investigating their effects on crop growth.
Pilot-scale plant phenotyping and soil health facility