Professor Ian Dodd

Professor of Sustainable Agriculture

Research Interests

As an Australian, Ian is used to droughts, and regularly applies them to plants “in his care”, to understand the fundamental mechanisms by which plant root systems communicate the effects of drought to the shoot. This research has been applied to improve crop water use efficiency (“crop per drop”) in aiming to guarantee food production within a changing climate.

Ian’s primary responsibility in the department is being Director of Study of the MSc Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security

Published research

His published work includes over 70 refereed journal papers (see link above), many on the irrigation technique known as “partial rootzone drying” which was derived from a laboratory experiment originally conducted at Lancaster. More recent papers have also examined the effects of naturally occurring soilborne bacteria and various soil amendments on crop growth and water use.

He has collaborated extensively with European researchers via the following FP7 projects

SIRRIMED: Sustainable use of irrigation water in the Mediterranean region (

DROPS: Drought tolerant yielding plants (

ROOTOPOWER: Empowering root-targeted strategies to minimize abiotic stress impacts on horticultural crops (

WATBIO: Development of improved perennial non-food biomass and bioproduct crops for water stressed environments (

Additional funding sources include

  • the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
  • Horticultural Development Council (HDC)

Current research

The PhD students he supervises work on a range of topics including root physiology and phenotyping, deficit irrigation techniques, crop nutrition and urban agriculture. His laboratory regularly receives overseas visitors, especially from drier parts of the world (than UK) such as Spain, Italy, Turkey and China.


Ian is currently:

  • handling editor of the Journal of Experimental Botany
  • associate editor of the journal Irrigation Science
  • Member of the Plant Sector Group of the Technology Strategy Board


Ian’s teaching includes:

Outside interests

When not engaged in academic duties, Ian can be found at the Bowerham Lawn Tennis Club where (predictably) his favourite surface is grass

Soil Hydrology research platform underpinning innovation to manage water scarcity in European and Chinese cropping systems
01/09/2018 → 31/08/2022

Physiological characterization of heat-tolerant bean genotypes in simulated future environments to enhance post-conflict regional development
01/04/2018 → 31/03/2019

Rutherford Fund Strategic Partner Grant 2018
01/04/2018 → 31/03/2019

Field Evaluation of Rhizobacterial Inoculants for Enhancing Lettuce Production
01/08/2013 → 31/03/2014

FP7: WATBIO Development of improved perennial non food biomass and bioproduct crops for water stress
01/11/2012 → 31/10/2017

Sub Project 2.3: Improving Spike Fertility and Plant Development by Modifying Its Sensitivity to Environmental Cues
01/11/2012 → 31/10/2013

Enhancing crop quality and diminishing water use in bedding plants
01/10/2012 → 30/09/2015

Intensifying Cut Salad Production With A Novel Vertical Growing System (TSB)
01/04/2012 → 30/09/2012

FP7: ROOTOPOWER: Empowering root targeted strategies to minimize abiotic stress impacts on horticultural crops
01/01/2012 → 31/12/2015

Detection and amelioration of rootzone ethylene production in protected crops
01/10/2011 → 31/12/2014

ICA:Cement Kiln Dust
01/10/2010 → 30/06/2014

01/07/2010 → 31/03/2014

Field-based Phytohormone Phenotyping to Select Climate Resilient Cereal Varieties
01/01/1900 → …

  • Centre for Global Eco-innovation
  • Improving global stewardship
  • Plant and Crop Science