We are proactive in setting the research agenda and undertaking theoretical and applied research in the areas of sustainable soil management, soil resources, soil biodiversity and soil ecosystem services.

Specific priority areas include:

  • Understanding soil physical, chemical and biological processes and their interactions that make up natural capital and the ecosystem services which flow from them, in the socio-economic context

  • Developing spatial geosciences techniques such as digital soil mapping and pedometric methods to represent thematic soil characteristics

  • Creating, maintaining and exploiting resource inventories and monitoring systems with Soil Spatial Informatics

  • Describing processes that expose or protect soils from threats; e.g. organic matter loss, erosion, contamination, compaction, loss of biodiversity and sealing; and developing policy and better technology for soil and land management in both rural and urban areas

  • Resource efficiency and valorisation of organic waste material as soil ameliorants.

About our research

Our expertise includes:

• Soil Systems - understanding and modelling soil physical, chemical and biological processes and their roles in delivering the full range of ecosystem services.
• Soil and Land Management - soil protection and degradation, and sustainable land management including soil policy formulation.
• Development of metrics of soil health - A key global challenge is to identify relevant physical, chemical and biological metrics of ‘soil health’ both in a crop specific and rotational context and use these to drive sustainable soil management and redress soil degradation.
• Spatial Geosciences - measuring, monitoring and assessing soils and their functions and services.
• Soil Spatial Informatics - creation and exploitation of soil resource inventories and development and implementation of monitoring systems.

Working with us

We have a strong and long-standing reputation for delivering practical business solutions together with industrial and public-sector partners, nationally and internationally.

We place a strong emphasis on the applied application of our science and because of this we have developed strong working relationships with a range of organisations, both commercial and non-profit making, including government, multinationals, independent enterprises, NGOs and conservation groups.

Our relationships with these clients enable us to understand and respond to their needs. Importantly we have many years’ experience in technical and financial project management. We deliver quality outputs, with due regard to agreed milestones, budgets and specifications (client expectations), so that the project aims and objectives can be met to time and to budget.

There are a number of effective means to partner with us. Sponsoring a Doctoral study over three years offers an in-depth means to explore fundamental aspects of a research area or domain. Doctoral ‘CASE Studentships’ are an effective means to provide mutually beneficial research collaboration between academic and partner organisations in the private, public and civil sectors.

By contrast, sponsoring a shorter, one year MSc by research student provides an effective means of addressing a subject and gaining more rapid outcomes.

A number of other mechanisms have been used to provide effective collaborations between companies and Cranfield researchers, including part-Government funded ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnerships’ (KTPs), or more substantive linkages through the various Innovate UK initiatives.

Our researchers also reach out nationally and internationally to undertake a range of contracted, bespoke and custom research on behalf of clients, where such work can vary from short exploratory desk-studies, to a full programme-based research offerings over several years.

Organisations engaging with us can benefit directly from our world-class facilities and services.

Clients and partners

We work with governmental and non-governmental organisations, and private sector companies throughout the world, including:

• Agricultural levy boards (e.g. AHDB, HDC, HGCA, Potato Council)
• Australian Research Council (ARC)
• Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
• Coal Authority
• Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
• Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC)
• Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
• Environment Agency
• European Commission (e.g. FP7; LIFE)
• Major UK and global Agri-businesses (e.g. Produce World, Greenvale, G’s Farm fresh, Pepsico, Unilever, AB Sugar)
• Foreign and Commonwealth Office
• Gas, electricity and water companies
• Joint Research Council (JRC)
• Lafarge-Tarmac
• National Assembly for Wales
• Natural England
• Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
• Resource sector companies
• Rio Tinto
• Supermarkets
• United Nations (UN)
• Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP).