Environmental research is centre-stage at the University of Reading. Two hundred academics, and hundreds of postdoctoral researchers and PhD students come together within our Environment theme to explore, understand, and address the challenges of environmental changes, both natural and those shaped by humans.
Some recent highlights of our world-class research include:
Impact of WW2 bombs felt at the edge of space: Bombing raids by Allied forces during the Second World War sent shockwaves through Earth’s atmosphere big enough to weaken the ionosphere (the electrified upper atmosphere) above the UK, according to Reading research.
Plastic pollution takes to the skies: Reading research has shown that tiny fragments of plastic eaten by water-dwelling larvae of flying insects - such as mosquitoes - are retained inside the adult insect during metamorphosis, giving plastic pollution a new pathway into the environment.
Cloudiness and climate change: Global warming is accelerating as time passes. Models predict that trend is set to continue even if we manage to rein in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere – but why? Dr Paulo Ceppi's research shows that it's down to increasingly cloudless skies over the Pacific Ocean.
Weather and crops: A system for estimating rainfall is directly benefiting the lives of 250 million people across Africa. TAMSAT(Tropical Application of Meteorology using Satellite data and ground-based observations) provides early warning of potential food shortage crises by integrating data sources to better identify weather patterns likely to result in low crop yields.
Fitness to survive: Evolutionary biologists have discovered how vastly different species can co-exist on Earth. Regardless of their size, all organisms - from blue whales to bacteria - transmit roughly equal amounts of energy to the next generation.
British birds: Ecologists at Reading have measured how garden bird feeders may actually be boosting populations of invasive grey squirrels.
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We collaborate with the very best researchers and users of research, nationally and internationally. These partnerships better enable us to play a critical role in tackling environmental challenges and provide solutions that are both adoptable and adopted.
We work closely with organisations such as:
International space agencies
University Institutes, Centres, Clusters and facilities
We have several centres of research and facilities focusing on specific environmental issues, including:
Institute for Environmental Analytics – translating environmental research into commercially-relevant solutions.
Walker Institute – an interdisciplinary research institute supporting the development of climate-resilient societies.
Soil Research Centre – tackling the decline in soil health and quality.
Centre for Past Climate Change – quantifying historical climate change and seeking to understand the co-evolution of human society and environment.
Data Assimilation Research Centre – theory and applications in all areas of the geosciences.
Water@Reading – providing flood, drought and water-quality monitoring, forecasting and early-warning systems, in the UK and abroad
Land Surface Processes cluster – uses computer simulations and observations to study interactions between the land and atmosphere.
Chemical Analysis Facility – open-access analytical instrumentation, and advice on access to external facilities, such as beamlines.
Cole Museum of Zoology – University museum and collections relating to zoology and natural history.
Agrimetrics – The world's first Big Data Centre of Excellence for the whole agri-food industry.
Technologies for Sustainable Built Environments (TSBE) – bringing together academic and industry partners for applied research in built environment and energy.
Postgraduate Research Opportunities
Want to join some of the world's leading environmental researchers, with a fully-funded PhD research studentship at the University of Reading? We have PhD positions available starting in September 2018.
For information on postgraduate research opportunities within the Environment Theme, please visit our research division pages or the Graduate School's website.