What innovation means to us

Innovation involves the creation of something new: it's an activity, the bringing together of resources, findings, challenges and approaches etc, in new ways. From our unique position and science base the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) has the ability to convene groups and networks to produce innovative products and services.

Innovation at UKCEH

At UKCEH we see innovation as the mechanism that turns world-class research into action, enabling ideas, fostering partnerships and improving environmental and public well-being.

By combining ideas and challenges from businesses, NGOs and governments, UKCEH is able to channel existing knowledge and carry out new research to address specific needs. The results of this activity become concrete and impactful when forged into innovative products and services.  

Our innovation portfolio

Our portfolio includes work from the wide spectrum of terrestrial, freshwater and atmospheric sciences, addressing issues from predicting floods, assessing atmospheric ammonia, land use optimisation, to apps for ecological recording in the field:


Knowledge platforms to stimulate innovation

Our scientific work is relevant to all interested in how innovation can improve the environment. Scientific programmes address issues resulting not only in scientific papers but often in open platforms where users can interact with the science as a stimulus for innovation. UKCEH’s Environmental Information Portal has national platforms for lakes, droughts, rainfall, ecological status and atmospheric pollution etc. The Environmental Information Data Centre hosts a wide range of data sets to explore and case studies illustrate the wide impact of our work.



Creating innovative new businesses

UKCEH, with the UKRI Natural Environment Research Council, has created spin-out companies:

Working with business

The UKCEH Land Cover® plus: Crops is the first national map of arable crops utilising the Sentinel RADAR satellite. It provides the opportunity to develop a spatial understanding of how the UK's main arable crops relate not only to each other, but also their governing environmental factors. The innovations behind the Crop Map are the product of a collaboration between the Hampshire-based SME Remote Sensing Applications Ltd and UKCEH.


Detail from Land Cover plus Crops Map 2015 showing crop types

Practical guidance

  • Habitat Creation and Management is an informative and useful practical guide for conserving insect pollinators. The book is the distillation of a 20-year research partnership between Marek Nowakowski - a practitioner with a passion for wildlife conservation on farmland - and applied ecologists working for the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. 
  • Tree shelter belts for ammonia mitigation: CEH and Forest Research have developed a calculator and guidance for farmers, planners and tree planters so they can maximise the benefits of planting tree shelterbelts for ammonia recapture. Click through for the calculator, guidance and research background.

Opportunities for collaboration

We are always looking for new ideas and partners. If you are searching for a way to commercialise existing knowledge based on UKCEH research, or if you have thoughts on how to take our work to the next level, please get in touch with our Innovation Manager, Nicholas Corker.