(left to right) Dr Carmen Hubbard, Professor Nigel Harkness, Professor Guy Garrod, and Professor Sally Shortall..jpg


2nd Feb 2023

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Newcastle University’s Centre for Rural Economy (CRE) celebrated 30 years of supporting sustainable development in rural areas.

The birthday celebration took place at Alnwick Castle and was hosted by His Grace the Duke of Northumberland. Professor Nigel Harkness, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Newcastle University and CRE Director, Professor Guy Garrod, welcomed the guests while Professor Sally Shortall, Duke of Northumberland Chair of Rural Economy, also gave a speech.

The event highlighted CRE’s achievements over the last three decades. It was an opportunity to showcase some of the current research and discuss some of the challenges that may face rural areas over the next 30 years.

The celebration featured a discussion panel on ‘Major challenges in rural in the next 30 years’, with members from industry, local government, land stewardship and farming, while Dr Carmen Hubbard, Director of Agriculture, Food Systems and Rural Development, delivered the closing remarks.

Professor Garrod said: “We are witnessing an immense transition within agriculture and, coupled with the challenges facing the rural economy with the rising cost of living, it is more important than ever to have high-quality research to help shape the future direction of farming and ensure the sustainability of our rural communities.”

His Grace the Duke of Northumberland added: “CRE was set up in memory of my father who died in 1988. He was a very strong voice in support of the countryside and all aspects of the rural economy. I am delighted to have supported CRE over the last 30 years, seeing it evolve and thrive at the forefront of national and international research into rural economies, land management and food production and I look forward to maintaining that link in the years ahead.”

CRE specialises in interdisciplinary social science and applied policy research, including rural employment, rural, policy, farmer and consumer behaviour, rural tourism, environmental management, and rural communities and organisations.

Professor Nigel Harkness said: “CRE is one of our world-leading research centres whose work has an impact regionally, nationally and globally. As a Social Science research centre, based in our School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, CRE connects researchers across the University. The interdisciplinary approach to research means that students at Newcastle University get to benefit from cross-Faculty teaching. In this way, the Centre is inspiring new generations of interdisciplinary thinkers, researchers and practitioners.”

In 2013, CRE won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, in recognition of the excellence of its research and teaching. It is one of the founding university partners of the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE) which was established in 2020 with funding from Research England.