October 6, 2017

Hypermetabolic N! New interdisciplinary research on Nitrogen

Over the last century, the amount of reactive nitrogen in the biosphere has almost tripled. Emma Cardwell and Claire Waterton have secured N8 Pump Priming funds to bring together a small interdisciplinary team to explore trends in the use of inorganic nitrogen in contemporary agriculture from combined sociological and ecological/environmental chemistry perspectives. We want to re-appraise research discussions about the problems and solutions commonly posed around N from a more critically-informed interdisciplinary perspective, via qualitative research. With others, we aim to establish: how contemporary nitrogen cycles have become established and normalised; what future cycles are likely; and what possibilities (and barriers) there are of re-imagining more sustainable nitrogen use in contemporary agriculture. This will combine the perspectives of environmental sociology and STS (Claire Waterton and Emma Cardwell, Sociology, Lancaster) with ecology and chemistry (Lisa Norton, CEH, Carly Stevens, LEC and Julia Cooper, SNES, Newcastle). The 6 month project will take place from May to October 2018.