School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development

Staff Profile

Professor Carlo Leifert

Res Dev Prof of Ecological Agriculture


Carlo was appointed as Research Development Professor for Ecological Agriculture at Newcastle University in 2000 and as Director and Trustee of the Stockbridge Technology Centre Ltd (STC) in 2001.  

At Newcastle he is a member of the Food Security Network in the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability (NIReS) and leads the Nafferton Ecological Farming Group (NEFG) which currently manages:

  • EU and DEFRA funded R&D projects focused on improving resource use efficiency, productivity and food quality and safety in organic and ‘low input’ crop and livestock production systems and
  • the MSc course in “Ecological food and farming systems”

Carlo has successfully co-ordinated large EU R&D projects under framework 4 (Improbioseed), 5 (BrightMOP)  and 6 (QualityLowInputFood) and currently co-ordinates two FP7 large collaborative R&D projects (NUE-Crops and LowInputBreeds).

Between 1999 and 2009 Carlo has worked as a consultant for TESCO, being a member of TESCO’s Food quality and Safety expert panel and advisory board of Nature’s choice/Nurture, which is TESCO’s quality assurance auditing system for its global produce supplier base. He is currently a Visiting Professor at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science and a member of the academic advisory board of the von Thünen Institute (the German Federal Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) and the BENAKI Phytopathological Institute (the regulatory authority for pesticide registration and main organisation doing crop protection focused R&D in Greece).  

Prior to his appointment at Newcastle University he worked as a research manager in a plant biotechnology/breeding company (Neo Plants Ltd. 1986-1990), as technical director of a vegetable production and processing firm (Howegarden Ltd.; 1996-1999) and as a MAFF Research Fellow/Lecturer at Manchester (1990-1993) and Lecturer/Senior Lecturer at Aberdeen University (1993-2000).  

As an agriculture apprentice/student he has worked for over two years on farms in Germany, Greece and Israel in the late 1970's and early 1980's.


Research Interests

Organic agricultural systems development (especially horticultural crop production and pig and poultry production systems)
Food microbiology and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems.
Food processing technology (including the development of alternative sanitation strategies to hypochloride)
Crop protection (biological control of diseases and pests; agronomic and physical control methods)
Soil Science and fertility management
Composting technology and quality assurance systems
PCR based GMO-detection methods
Control of gastrointestinal diseases in monogastric farm animals (pigs/poultry)

Reviewer for French National Research Agency Infrastructures.


Degree Programme Director for MSc in Organic Farming and Food Production Systems.

I lead postgraduate modules in; ACE8064 Ecological and Sustainable Farming Standards and Quality Assurance; ACE8067 Ecological and Sustainable Field Crop Production Systems; ACE8091 Ecological and Sustainable Greenhouse Crop Production; ACE8072 Ecological and Sustainable Perennial Crop Production.

Developing an MSc in Food Security.