The following academic units formed the submission to UoA 6:
- School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development
- School of Biology
- Following a reorganisation in 2017 the contributing units are now in the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Both Schools are major stakeholders in the cross-faculty, interdisciplinary research institutes:
- Institute for Sustainability
- Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal
- Institute for Ageing and Health - the link to this Institute is made through the Human Nutrition Research Centre
Our research is organised around six inter-related areas of activity under the theme of 'food security':
- integrated agricultural production
- integrative animal science
- ecology of managed environments
- food quality and health
- gene environment interactions
- social science of food, agriculture and rural development
Four case studies demonstrate the impact of our research:
Increased productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability of commercial soil-based greenhouse production systemsIncreased productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability of commercial soil-based greenhouse production systems
Newcastle research into improving commercial soil-based greenhouse productivity has led to an increase in profitability (due to higher yields and lower costs) and a significant reduction in the negative environmental impacts of commercial, organic and other soil-based greenhouse crop production systems in Europe (UK, Greece and Crete).
Newcastle's research has led to improved profits to UK organic tomato farmers estimated to be up to £100,000/ha/year and has allowed large scale organic glasshouse production to be a viable option to meet the demands of the UK organic market. In Greece increased profits are estimated at €25,000 per ha/year and in Crete the estimated value of reduced soil disease control and pest management is €110,000 per ha/year.
Find out more:
Improving animal welfare through effective pain assessment and alleviation in laboratory rodents and rabbitsImproving animal welfare through effective pain assessment and alleviation in laboratory rodents and rabbits
Newcastle University research has changed policy and practice relating to the provision of pain relief to rodents and rabbits. This has impacted on up to 35 million animals worldwide during the REF period. Having established the under-use of analgesics in laboratory rodents, Newcastle researchers developed objective pain scoring systems. These established that analgesics should be administered to rodents and rabbits, and that the efficacy of this treatment should be assessed objectively. The research resulted in changes to policy statements, institutional policies (both academic and industrial) and individual research worker practices in the USA, Canada, Australia, Europe and the UK.
This has produced clear benefits to the welfare of animals used in biomedical research, helps to satisfy public concerns that animals used in research should experience the minimum pain and distress, and improves scientific outcomes of research, since pain is an uncontrolled experimental variable, that can adversely affect study results.
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Biodiversity management of UK upland hay meadowsBiodiversity management of UK upland hay meadows
Increased post-war UK agricultural production has converted most species-rich upland hay meadows to species-poor rye-grass grassland, so that today only 1070 ha (hectares) undisturbed hay meadow remains. The way in which these upland hay meadows are managed and restored to conserve botanical diversity has been largely determined by research carried out at Newcastle University.
This research has been used by Natural England (an executive non-departmental public body responsible for England’s natural environment) to produce targeted management prescriptions for 2500 ha of farmland in northern England, and has informed National Park and AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) management on best practice for successful restoration of hay meadows. The research has ensured the successful restoration of more than half of the remaining upland hay meadows in England.
Dr Roger Smith
Increasing EU spending on environmental management and rural development from 2008-2013Increasing EU spending on environmental management and rural development from 2008-2013
The UK's decision to introduce voluntary modulation led directly from research conducted at Newcastle University (between 1993 and 2008) which demonstrated conclusively that broadening the scope of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies beyond supporting agricultural production through ‘modulation’ would greatly benefit the environment and rural economies.
The success of modulation in the UK then led to compulsory modulation being introduced throughout the European Union (EU). Up to 2013 modulation has generated outstanding impacts by providing more than €10b of new funding for environmental management and rural development across the EU.
Find out more:
- Professor Philip Lowe
- Professor Neil Ward
Find out about all our REF 2014 results.