John Crawford

Science Director - Integrated Solutions Lab Flagship Leader
Sustainable Agriculture Sciences Harpenden
Research Interests

I am primarily interested in the integrated behaviour of the soil-plant-microbe system and how the natural productivity, resilience and efficiency of the system can be optimised. I am also interested in how the behaviour of the system can be further enhanced by inputs so as to minimise the physical and environmental footprint of agricultural production. With a background in theoretical physics, my main contribution is in conceptual development and theory and I collaborate extensively with soil and plant biologists, and with physicists.

Management Responsibility

I am a member of the Institute Executive Committee and Scientific Director of the Delivering Sustainable Systems cross-institute research programme. This programme has around 80 fte staff with a budget of over £14M, and aims to develop methods for increasing production and quality while decreasing inputs.

+44 (0) 1582 763 133 ext: +44 1582 938010
Rothamsted Research, West Common, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ
Past Projects
Principal Investigator
  • iGCRF (Institute award) - BBSRC - Data & Resources for African Soils
Project Leader
  • *Nutritional Agroecology
  • STFC Newton Agri-tech JC The review and drafting of papers covering Sustainable Agriculture associated with agricultural practices in China
  • Remote sensing for sustainable intensification in China through Improved Farm Decision-Making Project
  • Optimisation of nutrients in soil-plant systems: Determining how phosphorus availability is regulated in soils
  • Quantifying Sustainable Systems

See Google Scholar here


Measures of esteem


  • Member of the BBSRC SARISA panel


  • Editorial Board of Risk Management
  • Editorial Board of Geoderma
  • Adjunt Professor at the Australian National University (ANU)
  • Member of the Progress Advisory Committee for the Malaysian Palm Oil Board
  • International Advisor for the Outcomes Australia Soils for Life Program


  • Member of the Australian Federal Ministers Working Party on Soil, Water and Food