Gerard Heuvelink holds an MSc in Applied Mathematics from Twente Technical University (1987) and a PhD in Environmental Sciences from Utrecht University (1993). He was an assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam until 2003, and had a dual appointment as senior researcher at Alterra and associate professor at Wageningen University from 2003 onward. In 2011, he changed his Alterra appointment for a position as a senior researcher at ISRIC - World Soil Information. Gerard has been a visiting professor at the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing) since 2011. He is deputy editor of the European Journal of Soil Science and editorial board member of five more international scientific journals. In 2014 he was awarded the Richard Webster Medal from the Pedometrics Commission of the International Union of Soil Science and in 2019 the Peter Burrough medal of the International Spatial Accuracy Research Organisation.
Gerard was appointed as special professor in Pedometrics and Digital Soil Mapping as of 1 June 2017. The professorship is funded by ISRIC - World Soil Information and positioned within the Soil Geography and Landscape chair group of Wageningen University.
The professorship focuses on the development and application of mathematical and statistical techniques to analyse and model spatial and temporal variability in soil. This is achieved by combining these techniques with knowledge of soil processes and patterns. Digital soil mapping is an important field of application, as efficient and accurate soil mapping requires a sound understanding of soil variation. The scientific challenge is to move beyond simple statistical relationships and truly integrate pedogenetic knowledge in digital soil mapping, as well as to improve and quantify the accuracy of soil maps. In close collaboration with other WU researchers in the soil domain, this professorship contributes to a better understanding and modelling of soil processes and patterns at multiple spatial and temporal scales. The results are essential to supporting quantitative environmental studies that require accurate regionalised soil information, such as global and regional studies on food security, climate change, biodiversity, land and soil degradation, and water scarcity.