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Our outdoor classrooms and research facilities – University of Reading

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Our outdoor classrooms and research facilities

Learn in our modern farms and facilities.

With a base on our award-winning parkland campus, you'll benefit from a modern university setting and learn in a ready-made fieldwork environment. This complements the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development's own facilities located on our nearby farms, which include indoor teaching and classroom facilities and habitats such as farmland, woodland and the rivers Loddon and Thames.

Education facilities

Reading's ongoing investment in high-quality teaching and learning facilities includes extensive resources, from libraries and computing to laboratories and wireless networking.

Our building features lecture theatres with modern equipment and student PC rooms with printing facilities. In addition, you will have access to our undergraduate common room with study and social space and a café.

Located at the centre of our campus, the Library is open 24/7 during term time and contains more than a million volumes in addition to online databases and journals. It comprises a study area, group study rooms, PC suites, photocopying facilities and a café.

Across campus you will have 24-hour access to PC facilities and wireless internet use. Email, file storage and library access are provided to all students and many resources are available from anywhere, including via mobile devices, allowing you to study when and where it suits you. Interactive online tools, including our virtual learning environment, provide you with study resources and learning materials.

Centre for Agri-Environmental Research

Located in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development on the University's Whiteknights campus, the Centre for Agri-Environmental Research brings research disciplines together to meet increasing food demands while protecting the wider environment. Of particular interest are the inter-relationships between land management, biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services such as pollination, pest control and the recycling of nutrients.

While focused primarily on plant and animal ecology, our research is developed collaboratively within a wider multi-disciplinary context, and we work with a wide range of external organisations and individuals within the UK and overseas, including the RSPB, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Rothamsted Research, Waitrose and Sainsbury's.

University farms

Our 180-hectare Sonning farm is home to our Crop Research Unit. Research carried out here is concerned with how climate variability and change affect crop productivity, the interactions between crop genotype and environment, and how the crop growing environment affects crop quality and food safety.

Located on our 580-hectare Arborfield farm, the Centre for Dairy Research (CEDAR) is home to our large dairy herd. Research here includes studies of the environmental impacts of livestock production, the quantification of greenhouse gas emissions and the relationships between grassland composition, biodiversity and feed value.

Our two farms provide easy access to a range of habitats for student experimental or survey work, including arable field margins, hedgerows, wet grasslands, woodlands and riverbanks.

The University has recently developed a new community nature reserve on 18 hectares of farmland at Langley Mead in Shinfield, and student projects there have involved studying the colonisation of the site by species of plant and insect.

Visit the Langley Mead page for more details.

Other Research facilities

Crop and Environment Laboratory

  • A dedicated, controlled environment facility for crop science research that comprises plant growth chambers, controlled greenhouses, and modified polytunnels.
  • Research focuses on how climate variability and change affect crop productivity, the interactions between crop genotype and environment, and how the crop growing environment affects crop quality and food safety.
  • Visit the Crop and Environment Laboratory page for more details.

National Fruit Collection

  • Based at Brogdale Farm, the National Fruit Collection is curated and maintained by Reading in collaboration with the Farm Advisory Services Team on behalf of the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and is one of the largest fruit collections in the world.
  • Includes more than 3,500 named apple, pear, plum, cherry, bush fruit, vine and cob nut cultivars.
  • Visit the National Fruit Collection website for more details.

Soft Fruit Technology Group

  • Specialises in the characterisation of soft fruit crop responses to the environment, with the aim of optimising crop production techniques.
  • The Group has worked closely with industry partners over the past 20 years on strawberry, raspberry and blackcurrant crops, in order to allow growers to get the best out of their crops and to allow breeders and agronomists to understand better how to exploit the full potential of existing and new genotypes.

International Cocoa Quarantine Centre

  • The exchange of germplasm is important for cocoa breeding and many related activities. Our facility ensures that this vital need can be satisfied without transferring pests and diseases from one cocoa-growing region to another.
  • Visit the International Cocoa Quarantine Centre website for more details.



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