Soil Science

With a vision of enabling more sustainable use and management of soil resources for improved quality of life and a resilient environment, our mission is to advance understanding of dynamic interactions between physical, biological and chemical soil properties and processes across a landscape continuum, and impacts of land use and management on soil quality and ecosystem functioning.

Aim

Our aims include:

  • being a world-leading academic source of, and platform for, high-impact soil research, with global networks and state-of-the-art facilities,
  • generation and communication of science-based knowledge regarding sustainable soil/land management for local to global stakeholders
  • developing the skills of soil scientists to enhance the contribution of soil science to realizing sustainable systems world-wide.

Composition

Research lines

The Soil Science Cluster has identified 5 main Research Lines through which to accomplish our mission, and which contribute directly to both WIMEK’s Grand Challenges and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These Research Lines are the result of a Soil Science Cluster wide participatory process involving staff members and PhD students. Our main Research Lines are the following:

Soil-water interactions
Focus: Transport processes of water and associated sediment and solutes over, within and through soils at multiple spatial and temporal scales, including effects on plant growth and other ecosystem services/functions. 

Multi-functional land evaluation
Focus: Improved functional soil information and knowledge to support policy making and land management plans that will secure soil as a resource and various ecosystem services, from the local to global scale.

Bio-diverse agroecosystems
Focus: Interactions between biodiversity, soil management and land use, and ecosystem functioning at different spatial and temporal scales using experimental, observational and modelling approaches.

Nutrient cycling and contaminant mitigation   
Focus: Understanding mechanisms of the chemical, physical and biological processes regulating, cycling and sequestering nutrients and contaminants in soil, to support sustainable management of inputs and outputs, and their availability in relation to the intended soil functions.

Soil carbon management and climate change
Focus: Soil carbon sequestration in various contexts and at different scales, especially related to maintaining soil functions and ecosystem services.

Within each of these Research Lines a range of research topics have been prioritized, which are regularly reviewed and will evolve as needed, and as opportunities arise.

Organisation

Leadership and direction of the Soil Science cluster is driven by two teams: the Soil Science Cluster Chairholders and the Research Line leaders. The Chairholders meet monthly to discuss opportunities for collaboration across the chair groups, including education, and provide oversight in management of the cluster and the research lines. Every 3rd month, the Research Line leaders, who meet periodically as well, join the chairholder meeting to discuss the direction and development of the research lines, and think collectively about new opportunities for their further development. Throughout the year, individual research line topics are presented at lunchtime meetings, where all involved and interested staff including PhDs and Post Docs are invited. At these meetings the Research Line leaders provide updates on ideas and lead discussion looking for new opportunities and wider collaboration within the cluster. 

Soil Science Cluster visual.JPG