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Cross-departmental research centres

Many of the research challenges we face today, particularly the pressing environmental problems, require approaches that draw on insights and technical advances from more than one discipline. Animal and Plant Sciences is involved in a number of research centres in the University which cross traditional Departmental boundaries, working together with researchers from different disciplines to focus on particular topics.

Centre for Terrestrial Carbon Dynamics


The NERC Earth Observation Centre of Excellence for Terrestrial Carbon Dynamics (CTCD) opened on 1 January 2002. Its objective is to provide the scientific basis for understanding the role of terrestrial ecosystems in the carbon cycle and to reduce the uncertainties in the terrestrial carbon budget. This major initiative combines the expertise of leading ecologists, mathematical modellers, forest specialists, Earth Observation scientists and statisticians, drawn from five institutions: the Universities of Edinburgh, Sheffield and York, University College London, and Forest Research. CTCD currently employs five research scientists who, along with leading experts, work in an integrated multi-disciplinary environment.

The Robert Hill Institute - Centre for Photosynthesis Research

Growth chamber in the AWEC

The Robert Hill Institute (RHI) - Centre for Photosynthesis Research was established in 1989 to consolidate and enhance the University’s reputation for research into photosynthesis. Research in the Institute focuses on all aspects of photosynthesis in plants and micro-organisms, from molecular and cellular aspects to ecophysiology and global change. The Robert Hill Institute combines genetic, spectroscopic, biochemical and cell biological approaches to analyse processes such as light harvesting, effects of biotic and abiotic stress and plant responses to elevated CO2, food security and biofuels.

Other interdisciplinary collaborations

In addition to the formal research centres above, staff in APS collaborate individually with researchers in many other departments, including: Engineering, Sociological Studies, Geography, Landscape, Mathematics, History and Town and Regional Planning.