Academic projects

Robot Highways
A £2.5 million InnovateUK-funded project with Saga Robotics, Berry Gardens Growers, BT, the MTC, Clockhouse Farm, and the Universities of Reading and Lincoln. The project will create the largest known global demonstration of robotics and autonomous systems technology that fuse multiple application technologies across a single farming system. Reading will be evaluating the economic impacts and exploring socio-ethical implications and responsible innovation, plus engaging growers, policy-makers and tech developers together to create suitable robotic tech for agricultural use. More info here.


Agri-environment governance post-Brexit
Agri-environment governance post-Brexit is a 750k grant led by the University of Sheffield (Dr Ruth Little); the University of Reading is conducting research on the co-design of the new Environmental Land Management scheme with Defra funded under the ESRC Governance after Brexit scheme. We are also doing some QR-funded research on ‘harder-to-reach’ farmers. Read more here.



Farmer mental health during COVID
A £240k project funded by ESRC. Reading is leading a project, in collaboration with the Universities of Exeter and Sheffield, on the impacts of COVID-19 on the mental health of farmers. We are particularly interested in the role of civil society organisations, such as charities and the Church, in helping farmers through the pandemic, also exploring the challenges faced by these organisations (e.g. funding). We aim to show how Defra and the devolved administrations can better support farmers and civil society organisations supporting them through challenging times.





Farmer behaviour change
led and funded by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board is working with 500 dairy farmers in Wales to improve proactive animal health planning. We are evaluating the success of behavioural change interventions.


Responsible innovation in practice
The British Academy/Leverhulme have funded a small project looking into the impact of the EPSRC’s responsible innovation framework on the practices of funded research.