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Lancaster at the forefront of environmental research in Europe


One of the largest environmental research centres in Europe opens in Lancaster this week. The £25 million Lancaster Environment Centre brings together around 300 researchers and lecturers, all working to find solutions to major environmental problems.

This joint venture between the Natural Environment Research Council’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the University of Lancaster is housed in a state-of-the-art laboratory on the University campus. It provides cutting-edge equipment and controlled environment facilities for the scientists who work there.

The centre, which officially opens on Tuesday 6 July, will build on the existing research strengths of the two partners. Exciting new Integrated Research Centres are forming within the Lancaster centre. These are producing new insights into sustainable management and use of energy, agriculture, water and chemicals in the environment.

The centre is already producing excellent research. For example, the scientists have helped to develop a new irrigation system that could reduce agricultural consumption of water by more than 50%, and they are managing and restoring areas that have been affected by radioactive contamination.

Professor John Lawton, Chief Executive of the Natural Environment Research Council says: "Understanding the impact we have on the environment is a number one priority. For a genuinely sustainable future we need a healthy economy, healthy people and a healthy environment. The new centre will help to deliver this challenging objective."

Professor Paul Wellings, Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University says " The new centre is a great example of collaboration between a Research Institute and a University. The Lancaster Environment Centre has the scale and range of skills needed to help deliver solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental problems."

Both the University of Lancaster and the Centre For Ecology and Hydrology have world-class reputations in the field of environmental science. Professor Lawton says, "Right now the work they do is more important than ever before."

Marion O’Sullivan | NERC
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