NU Smart Farms

Rural Economy and Management Systems

Rural Economy and Management Systems

We continue our long tradition of working on policy and economic research.

Rural Economy

Centre for Rural Economy (CRE)

The Centre for Rural Economy (CRE) is a Newcastle University research centre. It specialises in interdisciplinary social science and applied policy research. CRE:

  • works towards the achievement of sustainable development in rural areas
  • boasts one of the most significant groupings of rural social scientists in Europe
Professor Sally Shortall, Duke of Northumberland Chair of Rural Economy

Rural Enterprise UK

Led by CRE, Rural Enterprise UK is an initiative for integrated research, enterprise and implementation. It works towards improving the fortune of rural SMEs across the UK. It informs government policy in environment, enterprise and business. Rural Enterprise UK:

  • leads a national rural small business survey
  • studies the contribution food-related SMEs make to the national economy
  • identifies opportunities for business growth in rural areas of the UK
  • finds ways to overcome impediments to raising productivity

On the farm and beyond

Researchers in CRE investigate how farms function as businesses and households, and how they fit into the wider rural economy. They investigate the process of engaging with individuals and communities, and how these sources of local expertise combine with academic research to support rural growth.

Consumers, food and society

CRE carries out research on consumer preferences, attitudes and how people react to new technologies on the farm and in food production. The work includes:

  • investigating consumer behaviour
  • food safety and risk in the food chain
  • food waste and consumer attitudes towards it
  • innovations in foodstuffs and processing
  • food product labelling and enhanced nutrition
  • data, research synthesis and meta-analysis

Management Systems

Farm Business Survey

The Farm Business Survey is Defra-funded. It is a long-term study of the performance of UK farming based around the economic benchmarking of farm business performance. The Newcastle Team covers the North of England. They provide up-to-date information on farm incomes and offer economic reports.

Take part in our Farm Business Survey.

Agricultural economics and policy

Newcastle has a long track record of research on the economics of agriculture. Our research extends from farm businesses to environmental policy and international trade. Our researchers explore:

  • farmers’ behaviour and preferences
  • their attitudes to technological innovation
  • the effective design of policy instruments, particularly in the area of agri-environment

Explore the Centre for Rural Economy.

Rural energy

Cockle Park Farm is a demonstration site for the National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI).

The Anaerobic Digester and Combined Heat and Power Unit meet more than 50% of the farm's energy needs and supply heat to nearby buildings.

We are now developing energy management systems to smooth peaks in demand and the storage of surplus output.