Protected Areas working with Universities

Many national park authorities and AONB boards have worked closely with their local Universities for many years. But new opportunities develop quickly so we have identified some of the latest examples of how protected areas are working with Academic Institutions to gain insight and research needed for the management and development of protected areas.

Examples of National Parks/AONBs working closely with academic institutions –


  • Peak District National Park Authority The project is developing a convolutional neural network to automate classification of land cover for the 555sq miles of the National Park from satellite and aerial photography, in partnership with Cranfield University and funded by the Alan Turing Network.”
  • South Downs NPA – promotes a specific project list on their web site, for Universities and students to investigate and receive support – working in partnership
  • Moors for the Future project (Peak District NPA and others) – research and monitoring section working with several universities to monitor long term trends in peatland restoration.
  • Exmoor NPA – offer students unpaid work experience
  • Lake District NPA – working in partnership with Lancaster University on `Smart Parks` (smart technologies) project
  • Newcastle University – Centre for Rural Economy – Briefing paper: National Parks in England (2010)
  • Malvern Hills – working with Centre for Rural Research (Univ. of Worcestershire) – Landscape Monitoring Project
  • North Pennines AONB – working in partnership with Durham University on their Dark Skies designation and ongoing monitoring of the project
  • Natural England – promote specific projects for Universities and students to investigate and receive support on National Nature Reserves – working in partnership –

Many Universities will have `Employers Advisory Boards`, where they welcome involvement from prospective employers in relevant industry sectors. The boards (generally meeting once or twice a year), will discuss industry needs from graduates, skills and training, as well as course development. Sheffield Hallam University Department of Natural and Built Environment Employers’ Advisory Board here