Middlesex University website - Info

The Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research

Learning and research for sustainable agro-ecosystems by both farmers and scientists.

ESRC RELU award 0084

November 2005

Dr. Fergus Lyon (1), Dr. Sarah Clarke (2), Dr. Frances Harris (3), Prof. Martin Wolfe (2), Dr. David Gibbon (4).

1. Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research, Middlesex University.
2. Elm Farm Research Centre.
3. School of Earth Science and Geography, University of Kingston.
4. Rural Livelihood Systems ( RULIVSYS Ltd.), Craven Arms, Shropshire.


This project is based on the premise that knowledge production on rural environmental issues requires a collaborative systems approach that involves a range of stakeholders (especially farmers) and crosses disciplinary boundaries. We use the term agro-ecosystems to refer to the relationships of humans and natural resources in the production of agricultural goods and environmental services. However, the complexity and diversity of such agro-ecosystems presents challenges to researchers who are conducting research. This requires greater understanding amongst scientists and between scientists and farmers, recognising each other's strengths and weaknesses, and finding ways of working together.

This report explores how researchers can examine whole systems, how farmers learn about their systems, how researchers can carry out interdisciplinary research, and how farmers and researchers can collaborate. This interdisciplinary subject is examined by a team of social, environmental and biological researchers, examining ten cases of farmer researcher collaboration with the aim of identifying good practice in interdisciplinary research on agro ecosystems in UK agriculture.

Full Report

Short Report

Briefing note: Involving farmers in research