Contact Professor Ronald Corstanje

Areas of expertise

  • Digital Agriculture
  • Natural Capital
  • Soil
  • Soil Resources
  • Sustainable Land Systems
  • Water Science and Engineering


Professor of Data Sciences at Cranfield and Head of the Cranfield Environment Centre. He specialises in the application of spatio-temporal models to understand the nature and behaviour of natural systems and processes. He is interested in the application of (spatial) modelling tools to understand the structure and function of environmental systems and processes. Environmental systems are complex, and this expresses itself as complex but determinable spatiotemporal patterns. The application of these approaches has led to significant advances in our understanding on the spatial dynamics of ecosystem services, in particular in Urban areas. Another key area in which these techniques have proven invaluable is in the area of resilience as applied to ecological functions, allowing significant insights into the nature and functioning of resilience. Both these areas have significant societal significance, in helping inform how to infer resilience in the natural and man-made systems on which we depend, but also in how to design and plan the built environment to retain the benefits from the natural capital inherent in our greenspaces.

He joined Cranfield in 2008 after periods at Rothamsted Research and the University of Florida. He obtained his PhD from the University of Florida in 2003, Environmental Engineering degree from Wageningen University in 1997.

Current activities

Current and past activities include:

Digital Agriculture; developing agrifood systems models to support sustainable production within its landscape and ecology. Work supported by, BBSRC 'Soils for Life' (BB/M011860/: £236k) award (Co-I); Innovate 'To exploit satellite data for the precision management of grassland systems' (£145k; Co-I); AgriEPI block grant £5.5M for equipment on precision agriculture (no PI/Co-I; co-author together with Mouazen and Terry).

Environmental Informatics; modelling and mapping ecosystem goods and services. Work includes; NERC consortium grant 'Urban Biodiversity Ecosystem Services and Sustainability' (NE/J015067/1: £3.2M; Co-I and overall project manager; WP lead on modelling); BBSRC grant 'Fundamental Basis of Soil Biological Resilience' (BB/J000396/1: £624k; Nottingham lead; Cranfield PI); NERC 'Ecosystem Services Databank and Visualisation for Terrestrial Informatics' (NE/L012774/1: £207k; Co-I); NERC 'Ecosystem Services Scale dependency DTG studentship' (NE/K501360/1; £77k; PI); NERC 'Scaling and thresholds in earthworm abundance and diversity in grassland agricultural systems' (NE/K015338/1: £147k; Natural History Museum lead; Cranfield PI) ; NERC New Investigator grant 'Towards a general framework to assess scale dependency in environmental covariates' (NE/H000917/1: £33k; PI); 'A Bayesian Belief network to operationalize the concepts of Soil Quality and Health' (NE/P014313/1; £252,989; Cranfield PI)

Translational Science: Various UK and US government and agency projects (totalling > £ 500k; PI in all excluding Defra) involving data mining, modelling and predictions of ecological systems sustained by soil. Examples include work on Datamining STA performance (SFWMD, State of Florida); modelling global C stocks for bioenergy (Dept. of Energy and Climate Change, UK government); physical indicators of soil quality (Dept for Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, UK government). Various commercial contracts (totalling £150k, PI in all) with Unilever, G's growers on Agricultural Informatics, and Mott MacDonald on Ecosystem Services.


Translational research in which bespoke solutions are developed based on core science for industrial, governmental and non-governmental partners and clients.


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers