Soils Security Programme Coordinator

Lead Research Organisation: University of Reading
Department Name: Geography and Environmental Sciences

Abstract

The role of the Soil Security Programme Coordinator is to lead, manage and coordinate activities within the Soil Security Programme. This programme is aligned to the Global Food Security programme (http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/) which is where the UK's main public funders of food-related research and training are working together to meet the challenge of providing the world's growing population with a sustainable, secure supply of safe, nutritious, and affordable high-quality food using less land, with lower inputs, and in the context of global climate change and declining resources. The Soil Security programme focuses on the ecosystem services provided by soil namely; food security, climate mitigation and water and nutrient cycling.
The Coordinator will maximise the impact of the research within this £5 million pound investment by ensuring that the programme links with the wide range of programmes that are ongoing or developing across government and the research councils e.g. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Innovation Club (SARIC), Soil and Rhizosphere Interactions for Sustainable Agri-ecosystems (SARISA) and the Agri-Tech Centres. By close collaboration with the policy makers at Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs and the devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland the findings of the research will provide evidence to support current and developing policy such as the European Soils Framework Directive. Agricultural practitioners will also be co-opted into the programme so that improvements in production without negative impacts on the environment can be realised.
At the conclusion of the programme a cohesive soils community will have been developed that can deliver the aspiration of sustainable soils by 2030.

Planned Impact

The value of UK production from soils is £5.3 billion, with soil degradation costing £0.9-1.4 billion. Therefore it is essential that impact is maximised across the Soil Security programme, hence it is at the heart of this proposal. We will create dynamic linkages across the full suite of activities related to soils and their agricultural and ecosystem services to deliver the UK Government's aspiration of sustainable soils by 2030.
We will do this by achieving 3 objectives
1. To develop a soil community with free flowing knowledge exchange between the wide range of funding streams and their stakeholders which will extend beyond the lifetime of the Soil Security programme and thereby maximise its impact.
2. To raise the profile of the Soil Security programme nationally and internationally.
3. To inform the public of the need for sustainable soils in the context of land use and climate change.

These three objective will be addressed by intensive knowledge exchange activities. These will have three principal components one-to-one visits, workshops and community conferences these will determine the capability of the research community and its ability to address the needs of practitioners and policy developers. By establishing an integrated community we will maximise the impact of the UK Government's funding in the soils area and achieve a sustainable inccrease in agricultural productivity.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The Evidence Review provided to Defra identified a number of key areas where we currently have insufficient knowledge to provide evidence for policy i.e. carbon cycling ion organo mineral soils, economic evaluation of ecosystem services.
Exploitation Route They are still ongoing
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment

URL https://www.soilsecurity.org/
 
Description There are no findings as yet. However there has been considerable interest in the soil health area in the last 12 months. I have contributed to a number of meetings in my role as coordinator the most high profile of these were two presentations to MPs. These were both well received and resulted in press releases from the University. An enquiry into soil health was also launched by the Environmental Audit Committee. We have also recently published a policy note on Soil Health We have contributed to a number of launches in the soils space in Parliament and interfaced with a number of policy representatives. Our work has particular resonance with the 25 yr Environment Plan and the need for metrics to quantify soil health.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Education,Environment
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Evidence Review written for Defra
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
URL http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&ProjectID=18786&FromSearc...
 
Description Evidence to Soil Health Inquiry hosted by Environmental Audit Committee
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description Met with Defra Soils Team
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Recruited to the Natural Capital Committee
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact The Natural Capital Committee (NCC) is an independent advisory committee.It provides advice to the government on the sustainable use of natural capital - that is, our natural assets including forests, rivers, land, minerals and oceans.The committee's broad remit also covers the benefits we derive from natural assets, such as food, recreation, clean water, hazard protection and clean air.
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/natural-capital-committee
 
Description Soil Health Indicators Workshop
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
URL https://www.soilsecurity.org/
 
Description Further funding for Soil Security Programme - scheme not known
Amount £80,000 (GBP)
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2017 
End 12/2020
 
Description Innovation funding 16/17 for international development
Amount £70,000 (GBP)
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2017 
End 04/2017
 
Description NERC Capital Grant
Amount £1,160,000 (GBP)
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2016 
End 08/2017
 
Description Display at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This is a showcase of cutting edge science
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/2018/summer-science-exhibition/exhibits/
 
Description Interview on Radio Berkshire 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview on Anne Diamond show.
Unaware of follow on activities at this point.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Interview on the Naked Scientist 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview as part of a wider programme about soil.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/podcasts/naked-scientists/show/20151215-1/nocache/1/?cHash=38...
 
Description Meet with the Secretary of State for the Environment and Sustainable Food Trust 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact I was invited by Defra to discuss the soils component of the sustainability assessment tool proposed by the Sustainable Food Trust
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://sustainablefoodtrust.org
 
Description Presentation to Global Soil Security Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation to researchers, policy makers and third sector organisations. There was follow up with Soil Health Institute (USA), Soil Science Society of America (USA) and Soil and Land Use Section of the EU Joint Research Centre Ispra (Italy)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://gssparisen.wordpress.com/
 
Description Presentation to International Soils Event in Parliament 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A short presentation was given regarding the need to understand the complexities of soils so they can be managed appropriately.
The Soil Health Enquiry by the Environmental Audit Committee was announced at this event, I have been asked to provide evidence to this committee.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-commi...
 
Description Presentation to Save our Soils Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact I presented an overview of the Soil Security Programme and it aims and objectives to raise its profile to this diverse audience
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation to Save our Soils Event in Parliament 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A Save Our Soils event was hosted in Parliament where I presented the aims of the SSP. There was lots of discussion after. The main outcome was an invite from the Linnean Society to organise an event on soil biology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation to Waitrose Agriculture conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact We will be engaging with Waitrose and there Farm Management Plan
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I made a presentation to the ADHB (the primary levy body funding research in the UK) to their soils group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Talk at Parliamentary reception for the launch of the Sustainable Soils Alliance 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The SSP has linked with the Sustainable Soils Alliance to promote the improved maangement of our soils
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://sustainablesoils.org/