Significant investment into our facilities is sparking international collaborations and attracting funding. Our research groups and facilities enable industry-led research and innovation.

Following millions of pounds of investment, the University of Leeds Farm is being developed as a digitally-connected smart farm and terrestrial observatory. The site hosts the recently opened National Pig Centre, a leading research facility for pig nutrition, behaviour, health and production system research.

It is also being developed to create Leeds Farm Terrestrial Observatory, a £3M suite of instrumentation and research tools based with the arable farm operation and linked to a global observatory network. It is a large scale outdoor laboratory that forms part of the GFEI and supports the Smart Agri-Systems research programme. The Farm will provide commercially relevant agricultural, ecological, earth and environmental research.

Specialist research groups

  • Our Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) and capital investment in the environment, crops and agrifood area will establish the University of Leeds Farm as a world-leading terrestrial observatory. It will allow the study of Earth’s critical zone, the thin surface planetary layer that supplies most of our life-sustaining resources. The CZO will combine research in agriculture, biology, Earth systems and data science to support student education, research, training and commercialisation.
  • The capital investment will also support urban food consumption with the establishment of an Urban Food Observatory. The urban observatory will combine quantitative flow analysis of food within cities, related environmental and waste emissions, and food consumption and dietary health patterns, and both qualitative and quantitative research on consumption behaviour and practices of individuals and households. Interventions to modify behaviour within the urban food system will also be possible.
  • The Centre for Plant Sciences conducts research into plant genetics and the molecular mechanisms plants use to convert sunlight into food. It investigates how this can be harnessed and put to use, and has significant experience in root biology and how roots affect soil structure and health.
  • The Human Appetite Research Unit investigates aspects of nutrition from a whole lifespan perspective.
  • Our Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL) is one of Innovate UK’s Centres for Agricultural Innovation. CIEL is focused on improving animal nutrition for better animal welfare and increased productivity. The University of Leeds Farms hosts the centre's £11m pig research unit.
  • The Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences is a diverse institute for atmospheric research, making fundamental advances in our understanding of climate change, weather, atmospheric composition, palaeo-climates, and impacts on our planet and society.
  • Water@Leeds contributes substantial expertise to areas such as improving water management in agriculture areas and predicting the effects of climate change on water availability.
  • Leeds Institute for Data Analytics specialises in big data collection and analysis and has developed state of the art physical and IT infrastructures to deliver high quality data, access, protection and exploitation.
  • Our Sustainability Research Institute provides expertise in environmental social science, exploring a wide range of issues including climate change, energy, transport, water, resource use, land use, conservation, cities and communities, business and lifestyles.
  • Leeds School of Food Science and Nutrition conducts fundamental research to understand the mechanisms by which food and its components impact our health. The school develops innovative research to increase food availability throughout the year, improving food safety and security, and nutritional health, ranked 1st in the UK for Food Science and Nutrition, The Guardian university league tables 2020 and Top 100 in the world for Food Science and Technology ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2019.
  • The School of Law is one of the UK’s leading law schools, ranked 4th in the UK for research impact (REF 2014).