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The University of Reading is in the top 125 in the world for Physical Sciences (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024, by Subject).


Our academics focus on key issues at home and abroad, from the social and economic impact of developments in the UK, to studies of Brazilian rainforests, Caribbean towns and livelihoods in Africa.

We work with business and industry, charities and non-governmental organisations, and link with other departments whose expertise provide a diverse and stimulating research environment.

aerial view of solar panels

Research specialisms

We've undertaken respected research in a number of key areas including:

  • soil science
  • hydrology
  • climate science
  • landscape and landforms
  • caring societies
  • environment
  • resilience and transformation
  • the theory and practice of participation and social impact.

Research groups and centres

All our staff belong to one of the following research groups:

Also based in the department are the following research centres and groups:

Research impact

Based on the most recent Research Excellence Framework assessment (REF 2021), the University of Reading is ranked 3rd in the UK for research power in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences (Times Higher Education, Institutions Ranked by Subject, based on its analysis of REF 2021).

100% of our research impact has been classed 'outstanding' or 'very considerable' (REF 2021, combining 4* and 3* submissions – Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, and Anthropology and Development Studies).

Close up of PhD student's hand pointing with a marker pen while giving a lecture

Meet the team

Our community of staff includes internationally renowned and award-winning academics, recognised for the excellence of their teaching and research.


PhD study

As a PhD student in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science at Reading, you will be part of a dynamic research community.


Dr Sally Lloyd-Evans' story

My work is about using participatory research to empower communities to act for social change. I believe in helping people to undertake research that enables communities to tackle policy issues from the grassroots.

Dr Sally Lloyd-Evans

Associate Professor in Human Geography

Athena SWAN Silver Award