School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development



Harnessing natural and social sciences for agriculture, food security and rural development.

There is increasing concern about food security and the sustainability of current agricultural production among UK and EU policy makers, consumers and civil society. This is driven by the predicted increase of the global population together with pressure on non-renewable or scarce resources (energy, minerals and water) and the need to increase food production while minimising negative impacts on the environment.

We aim to find solutions through strategic and adaptive research into sustainable agriculture, food systems and rural development.

Our research into agricultural production systems explores applications of agricultural science to enhancing productivity and sustainability in livestock and arable agriculture.

Our food systems research extends our activity through the food supply chain from farm to fork and spans consumer behaviour and human nutrition interests.

We undertake social science research addressing problems of sustainable development within the rural economy and society, and in relation to food, agriculture and rural policy.

Expertise groups

Research activity within the School is organised within five main expertise groups.

Much of our research is funded by the UK Research Councils (ESRC, NERC, BBSRC), EU, Defra, charities and industry. It is often carried out within interdisciplinary research teams involving soil, plant, animal and food sciences, as well as social sciences from a range of disciplines, including:

  • consumer science
  • economics
  • political science
  • sociology
  • human geography

The School hosts the Centre for Rural Economy and has close links with the cross-faculty Human Nutrition Research Centre. Our research falls within the scope of three of Newcastle University’s societal challenge themes, sustainability, ageing and social renewal.

You can also find out the interests of individual members of staff and details of our research facilities and farms: Cockle Park and Nafferton.