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Professor in Soil Physics and Director of the Hounsfield Facility at the University of Nottingham, University of Nottingham

Professor Sacha Mooney holds the Chair in Soil Physics at the University of Nottingham. He holds a BSc in Geography and a MSc in Soil Science from the University of Aberdeen. He also holds a PhD from the Department of Agricultural Engineering at University College Dublin. At Nottingham he has previously headed the Division of Agriculture and Environmental Science and currently acts as Director of the Hounsfield Facility, an X-ray Computed Tomography imaging Centre dedicated to soil and plant sciences. He is the most recent President of the British Society of Soil Science and sits on the management board for the forthcoming World Congress of Soil Science to be held in Glasgow in 2022.

Professor Mooney’s research interests focus on the key role soil structure plays in controlling and regulating soil function. Particular expertise is focused on the imagery to quantify soil pore architecture across a range of spatial scales. He has published over 150 papers in the last 20 years showing soil structure is a key property with respect soil quality and health. His research has been funded by BBSRC, NERC, EPSRC, Leverhulme, Wolfson and ERC. He has worked on soil problems related to compaction, erosion, contamination and greenhouse gas emissions. He recently led a team of 30 scientists in the UK and Brazil supported by the Newton Fund (via BBSRC) concerned with minimizing pollution from the agricultural use of Nitrogen (NUCLEUS, BB/N013204/1). Amongst other research outputs the project developed a new agricultural system for smallholder farmers on the Amazonian periphery focused on the use of leguminous trees to fix nitrogen in the soil as opposed to artificial fertilisers. This work has recently been extended by a British Council project to widen access to the research to a large number of farming communities focused specifically on the concepts of sustainability to minimise land degradation and supports poverty alleviation efforts.

Experience

  • 2000–2021
    professor, University of Nottingham