Cranfield University

Cranfield University

'Environment' is a key strategic theme at Cranfield. We have been contributing to the ‘green economy’ for over 40 years with deep expertise in environmental governance and sustainability, natural resource management, agriculture and land management, energy and the environment, environmental engineering for the treatment of water, wastes and contaminated soils and environmental health and food.

Strategic grants greater than £500,000 include partnerships with Defra, DECC, Yorkshire Water and Severn Trent; and commissions from The Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, EPSRC’s Supergen consortium and the European Commission. Recent high profile activity has included commissions on hydraulic fracturing, participation in the Schmidt-MacArthur Fellowship and inaugural Summer School, and recently commissioned analysis on resource security. We are undertaking leading international work on the fate of nanoparticles in the environment, on water and sanitation and food science. We have recently hosted visits from industry CEO’s, Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Research Council executives.


Much of our business results from clients using our research facilities. These include:

  • A 85 hectare experimental farm
  • Anaerobic digestion pilot plant
  • A pilot waste water treatment hall
  • A soil dynamics laboratory
  • Boreholes and shallow groundwater wells
  • Carbon capture pilot plant
  • GIS, remote sensing and visualisation suite
  • Land data for much of the planet including the national soils data set and a unique collection of world soil maps
  • Nanotechnology clean rooms and specialist characterization facilities
  • State-of-the-art environmental analytical facilities, including for trace analytes and biological samples
  • Research-grade glasshouses
  • Soil lysimeters.

These allow the generation of authentic data, at near industrial-scale, relevant to our clients needs. Many are unique to the UK and some unique within the world.

With a strong engineering base, supported by analytical skills in the social sciences, we offer a distinctive capability for industry, government and pedigree NGOs (World Bank, WHO, Oxfam etc).  

We deliver a vibrant postgraduate programme (over 250 MScs and 120 PhDs) across the engineering, science, business and policy spectrum of the environment sector, in tune with the sector's employers.  In the last two years, for example, we have:

  • built the training platform for the next generation of research engineers in the water sector through the collaborative EPSRC and industrially-funded training centre, STREAM
  • prepared new Government guidelines on environmental risk management for Defra
  • led the UK-US collaboration on advanced materials for low emission power plant
  • built new research partnerships on off-road dynamics and low carbon vehicles
  • led an industrial power generation consortium to support biomass co-firing in China, with DECC
  • developed the soil information system (maps and analytics) for the Republic of Ireland (ISIS)
  • established Cranfield as a major force in post-harvest technology and food quality.

We regard ourselves as collegiate in spirit and we maintain external partnerships with, for example, Imperial, Sheffield, the Hutton Institute, Rothamsted, the UKCCS Research Centre, SKM Enviros and the Questor Centre (QUB).

Organisation Information


  • 501 - 2000

Industry Sector: 

Organisation Type: 

  • RTO

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