Outdoor access and recreation – corporate report

Research opportunities on National Nature Reserves in England

Natural England provides a range of dissertation projects for further education students to study on selected reserves.



Natural England’s National Nature Reserves (NNRs) have been used for environmental research for decades and there are hundreds of reports and published papers based on them.

Dissertations and similar projects provide students with opportunities to work on high quality sites and to contribute to the research and management of Natural England’s NNRs.

There are 3 principles for studying on NNRs:

  • you should aim to provide some results of benefit to the reserve and/or the wider environment
  • the project will not adversely affect the reserve
  • you study safely

How to register an interest

If you are interested in any of the suggested topics as part of your studies, contact the reserve associated with your chosen project.

Natural England will contact you by telephone or email to discuss the project further.

If successful, you should agree with your supervisor to send a full proposal of your project to your Natural England project co-ordinator. This should include:

  • dates
  • background information you will need from us
  • equipment and methods to be used
  • logistics such as travel and accommodation
  • project outputs

Natural England will accept or refine your proposal, confirm what you will be doing by letter and send you a permit and a health and safety risk assessment.

Once you have completed your project, you should send Natural England an electronic copy of it.

Natural England cannot provide financial support or accommodation.