Professor Peter Smith

Professor Peter Smith
FRS, FRSE, FNA, FEurASc, FRSB, F I Soil Sci.

Chair in Plant & Soil Science

Professor Peter Smith
Professor Peter Smith

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272702
fax +44 (0)1224 272703
The University of Aberdeen Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences
School of Biological Sciences
University of Aberdeen
23 St Machar Drive (Room G45)
Aberdeen, AB24 3UU
Scotland, UK


After obtaining a PhD in 1991, Pete Smith worked as a Higher- then Senior-Scientific Officer at the MAFF Central Science Laboratory until 1994. He then worked as a Band 6 and Band 5 Senior Research Scientist at Rothamsted Research before joining the University of Aberdeen as a Senior Lecturer in 2001.

He became a Reader in 2003, and Professor of Soils & Global Change in 2005. His main areas of expertise are in modelling greenhouse gas / carbon mitigation, bioenergy, biological carbon sequestration, global food systems modelling and greenhouse gas removal technologies.

He is co-leader with Prof Jo Smith of the Environmental Modelling Group  (2 Academic staff, 2 Senior Research Fellows, 15 Post-docs, 12 PhDs). He is also Science Director of Scotland's Climate Change Centre of Expertise (, and was Director of Food Systems of the Scottish Food Security Alliance-Crops (, and Theme Leader of the University-wide theme, Environment and Food Security (, until 2015. He is editor for Global Change Biology and Global Change Biology Bioenergy.

He was a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award holder (2008-2013), Royal Society Research Fellow (2008-2013), and is a Fellow of the Society of Biology (FSB; elected 2008), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE; elected 2009), a Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Science Acedemy (FNA; elected 2017); a Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences (EurASc; elected 2018) and a Fellow of the Royal Society (London; elected 2017).


Research Interests

Global change impacts on ecosystems, soils, agricultural and land based options to mitigate climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, environmental and agricultural sustainability, global carbon cycle, ecosystem modelling, food security, ecosystem services, bioenergy (including BECCS) 

Current Research

Numerous projects on the above areas funded mainly by the research councils and the EU

Research Grants

Funding during last 10 years

Title Funding body Dates Partner share (£)
China Partnership Award – SOC dynamics in forest ecosystems BBSRC 01/04/04-31/03/07 24820
CarboEurope-IP EU 01/01/04-31/12/08 289286
SEAMLESS-IP (WP2) EU 01/01/05-31/12/08 45000
Coupling soil C & N models to GCMs Hadley Centre/Defra 01/06/05-31/08/06 50000
NitroEurope-IP EU 01/04/06-30/03/11 298480
Quantifying the role of ecosystems in the carbon cycle (QUERCC) NERC-QUEST 01/10/05-30/04/09 164372
TSEC-Biosys NERC-TSEC 01/10/05-30/09/08 138374
CarboEurope-GHG EU 01/01/02-31/12/05 41500
Environment Agency EA 15/01/05-30/04/05 2500
Biofuel review SEERAD   45018
Discretionary - -  
UK Emissions by Sources and Removals by sinks due to land-use, Land-use change and forestry NERC-CEH/DEFRA 01/05/06-30/04/09 58622
Support for SSSA Annual meeting in Utah Royal Society 01/11/05-30/11/05 3500
Astley PhD 6th Century Studenship    
PICCMAT EU 01/01/07-31/12/08 43386
UK Bio energy crop suitability mapping study Defra 01/02/07-07/03/07 5000
Managing soil organic carbon in Irish agricultural systems Irish-Dept. Ag. & Food via Trinity College Dublin 01/10/08-30/09/10 70000
QUEST-GSI NERC-QUEST 01/04/07-30/03/09 101151
Cruickshank Trust Fund Cruickshank Trust Fund 10/06/07-31/08/07 2315
ClimSoil EU 15/01/08-15/10/08 22815
QUATERMASS NERC-QUEST 01/11/07-31/10/09 140821
Modelling agricultural land management practices Met Office / Hadley Centre 28/04/08-31/10/08 49550
Carbon Finance Project Methodology World Bank 01/06/08-31/05/10 15440
Upland ecosystem: carbon storage and sequestration Natural England 15/10/08-14/11/08 3000
SP0567 Assembling UK-wide data on soil carbon (and greenhouse gas fluxes) in the context of land management Defra 1/11/08-31/12/10 41119
Potential GHG impacts of future LULUCF activities in developed countries Defra 1/11/08-30/04/09 30000
DEFRA soil threats Defra 01/01/09-31/12/09 32000
Review of GHG emissions from agriculture International Fertiliser Association 01/12/08-31/04/09 18201
CC-TAME EU 01/06/08-30/05/11 140504
Carbo-Extreme EU 01/06/09-30/05/12 199125
BESSA NERC 01/01/09-31/12/09 15838
NERC Robinson/Smith/Millard/Midwood Project NERC 01/09/09-30/08/12 500000
QESM Methane NERC 30/04/09-31/12/09 47000
Roadmaps Integrating RTD in Developing Realistic GHG Mitigation Options from Agriculture up to 2030  DECC 01/04/09-31/03/10 2100
PhD Emily Bottoms CEH 01/04/08-31/03/11  
Royal Society-Wolfson research Merit Award Royal Society 01/10/08-30/09/13 62500
Are tropical uplands regional hotspots for methane and nitrous oxide? NERC 01/03/10-28/02/13 358391
Estimates of future agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation in China Defra/DfID 01/11/09-30/10/12 425569
GHG Europe EU 01/01/10-30/09/13 324687
Provide a Quantitative Estimate of and Review the Contribution of Priority Habitats to Mitigation of Climate Change Defra 01/01/10-30/03/11 42,140
Spatial mapping and evaluation of energy crop distribution in GB to 2050 NERC/UKERC 01/04/10-30/10/11 110179
GACA Unilever 01/04/10-30/04/11 21104
CARBONES EU 01/05/10-30/04/13 87273
Review of GHG emissions from agriculture Unilever 01/05/10-31/05/10 3783
Policy options for LULUCF in Europe EU 10/11/09-09/11/10 8244
GHG emissions from agriculture Princeton / HP Foundation 01/05/10-30/08/10 6667
Accounting for the GHG impacts of LULUC due to biobased ingredients Unilever 22/08/10-31/03/11 47336
Interaction between C, N and water in UK soils (Homan Wong's PhD) NERC 01/04/10-30/09/13 75000
UK NEA Coordinating Lead Author fund UNEP 01/07/10-31/03/10 10000
Scoping study SP1105-populating the land use cmponent of the LULUCF GHG Inventory Defra/NERC 01/07/10-02/03/10 32653
India Partnering award BBSRC 01/05/10-30/04/14 24476
GHG mitigation from Chinese agriculture NERC 01/07/10-31/11/10 6352
Development of an assessment on GHG emissions from the agricultural sector FAO 24/08/10-23/11/10 7700
Jenny Farmer PhD project CLSM/Macaulay 01/09/09-30/08/12 3000
Cool livestock farming in Europe Greenpeace International 01/11/10-30/04/11 4315
Jon Hillier KET Award University of Aberdeen 12/12/10-30/07/10 12175
InveN2Ory Defra 01/12/10-31/03/15 694858
Data management and modelling for the agricultural GHG inventory Defra 01/12/10-31/03/15 60000
Andy Robertson PhD Shell/CEH 01/02/11-31/01/14 48000
Centre of Expertise on Climate Change - Mitigation Scottish Government 01/04/11-31/03/14 452530
Committee on Climate Change - Bioenergy Expert CCC 01/04/11-31/12/11 6674
ELUM ETI 01/06/11-31/04/14 599800
Centre of Expertise on Climate Change - Directorate Scottish Government 01/04/11-31/03/16 210000
RSE International Exchange Programme India Royal Society of Edinburgh 19/09/11-16/10/11 2100
SmartSoil EU 01/11/11-30/10/14 299540
Iniobong Essiet PhD College funding CLSM 01/10/11-30/09/14 9000
IPCC CLA Support DECC 01/04/11-31/03/14 30000
Impact on global ecosystem services of UK energy supply UKERC 01/01/12-31/03/14 300000
SEER ESRC 01/03/12-31/12/12 43619
RSE International Exchange Programme (Rafaele Casa) Royal Society of Edinburgh 02/06/12-23/06/12 1813
Saana Tykka's PhD fund James Hutton Institute 01/10/12-31/03/16 42000
Permafrost catchments in transition: hydrological controls on carbon cycling and greenhouse gas budgets NERC 01/10/12-31/09/16 273875
FACCE-JPI MACSUR Cropland Hub BBSRC 01/08/12-31/07/15 64734
EFS Theme Budget University of Aberdeen 01/09/12-31/08/13 30000
Saana Tykka - 51232501 -RTSG PhD funding University of Aberdeen 01/09/12-31/03/16 3000
Joseph Oyesiku-Blakemore - 51233548-RTSG PhD funding University of Aberdeen 01/09/12-31/03/16 3000
GREENHOUSE NERC 01/04/13-31/03/17 211388
Pete Smith  secondment to the JHI (10%) James Hutton Institute 01/08/12-31/03/16 61070
The Counterfactual land uses to bioenergy crops (Phase I and II) DECC 01/12/12-31/01/14 170000
Capture crop and grassland management impact in UK soil carbon LULUCF Inventory Defra 22/10/12-28/02/14 98094
Wales Glastir Axis II Project Welsh Government 01/05/13-31/08/14 51823
Khadiza Begum PhD fund CLSM 01/08/13-30/07/16 3000
Henri de Ruiter's PhD fund EFS Theme 01/10/13-31/03/17 17500
Impacts of sugar cane production in Brazil BBSRC 31/07/14-30/07/18 48980
Genome-wide association mapping and landscape scale modelling of heritable ionomic diversity in Arabidopsis thaliana populations BBSRC 01/09/13-31/08/16 236132
BALI project   01/04/14-31/03/18 209366
Total     8596277
Further Info

External Responsibilities

  • Science Director of Scotland’s Climate Change Centre of Expertise (2011-present)
  • Director-Food Systems of the Scottish Food Security Alliance – Crops (2013-present)
  • Theme Leader of cross-University theme on Environment & Food Security (2012-present)
  • Convening Lead Author for Agriculture and Forestry Chapter of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report,Mitigation volume (2010-2014)
  • Convening Lead Author of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, Mitigation volume, Chapter 8 Agriculture (2004-2007)
  • Lead Author of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Good Practice Guidelines 2006 (2004-2006)
  • Convening Lead Author of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Good Practice Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Inventories for Land-Use, Land-Use Change & Forestry (2002-2004).
  • Scientific Steering Group member of International Soil Carbon Network (2013-present)
  • Member of Defra’s Science Advisory Council (2011-2013)
  • Science Leader (and management committee member) for the UK community land surface model of the UK globalclimatemodel: JULES (soil C & N component) (2007-present).
  • Expert Advisor on bioenergy issues to UK Committee on Climate Change (2011)
  • UK National Ecosystem Assessment Expert Group Member (2009-2011)
  • Coordinating Lead Author forUKNational Ecosystem Assessment Chapter on Regulating Services (2009-2011).
  • UKForesight Project on Global Food and Farming Futures,Expert Review Leader on Competition for Land (2009-2010).
  • Member of Programme Development Group for the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (2008-2013).
  • New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre’s International Science Advisory Group (ISAG) (2010-present).
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh Convener for the Organismal and Environmental Biology sectional committee (A3) (2011-2013)
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh Fellowship Committee Member (2009-2013)
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh BP Fellowship Committee Member (2010-present)
  • Steering Committee Member of European Union – Framework V/VI CarboEurope Consortium (2002-2003)
  • Lead Author for the IPCC Special Report on Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (published in 2000)
  • Member of IPCC/OECD Working Group on the IPCC Revised Guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories (1996)
  • Chair of Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE)’s Global Soil Organic Matter Network (SOMNET) (1996-2002)
  • Co-leader of GCTE's research focus on Soil Organic Matter (1996-2000)
  • Professorial selection committee for Danish Institute of Ag. Sciences (2002-2003)
  • NERC/BBSRC Soil Science Advisory Committee member (2003-2008)
  • Member of the International Geosphere Biosphere Program (IGBP) Global Carbon Cycle Project (1998-present).
  • Chair and Convenor of EU-Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Initiative (TERI) Workgroup 8 on Policy Conflicts in Terrestrial Ecosystems Research (1999)
  • Management Committee of EU-COST Action 627 “Carbon Storage in Grasslands” (2000-2006)
  • Workgroup 3 (modelling) Chair of EU-COST Action 627 “Carbon Storage in Grasslands” (2000-2006)
  • European Climate Change Programme Working Group Agriculture (WG7) member (2001)
  • European Climate Change Programme Working Group “Soil Carbon Sinks” (WG7a) member (2002)
  • European Climate Change Programme Working Group Research (WG6) member (2001)
  • Member of Scientific Organising Committee of European Society of Agronomy (ESA) annual modelling symposia 1999 and 2001
  • International Review Panel member of Australian Greenhouse Office National Carbon Accounting System (1999-present)
  • International Scientific Steering Committee member of the Federal US-funded multi-institutional project on carbon sequestration inUSagriculture, CASMGS (2001-2005).
  • Steering Committee of International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development-International Policy Council Platform on Climate Change, Agriculture and Trade (2009-2010)
  • UK Co Chair of Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Working Group of UK-China Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Network (2009-present).
  • Associate Editor for the Journal of Environmental Quality (1997-2003)
  • Editorial Board Member of Acta Agronomica Hungarica (1998-present)
  • Editorial Board Member of International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability (2006–present)
  • Editorial Board Member of Biaban / Desert (2006–present)
  • Editorial Board Member of Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2006-present).
  • Editorial Board Member of Greenhouse Gas Management & Measurement (2010-present).
  • Editorial Board Member of Journal of Subtropical Resources and Environment (2006-present)
  • Editor of Global Change Biology (2nd ranked among 134 environmental science Journals) (2007-present)
  • Editor of Global Change Biology Bioenergy (2009-present)

Admin Responsibilities

  • Science Director of Scotland’s Climate Change Centre of Expertise (2011-present)
  • Director-Food Systems of the Scottish Food Security Alliance – Crops (2013-present)
  • Theme Leader of cross-University theme on Environment & Food Security (2012-present)


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  • Teh, YA, Diem, T, Jones, S, Huaraca Quispe, LP, Baggs, E, Morley, N, Richards, M, Smith, P & Meir, P 2013, 'Methane and nitrous oxide fluxes from the tropical Andes' Biogeosciences, vol. 10, pp. 17397-17438. [Online] DOI:
  • Abdalla, M, Saunders, M, Hastings, A, Williams, M, Smith, P, Osborne, B, Lanigan, G & Jones, MB 2013, 'Simulating the impacts of land use in Northwest Europe on Net Ecosystem Exchange (NEE): The role of arable ecosystems, grasslands and forest plantations in climate change mitigation' Science of the Total Environment, vol. 465, pp. 325-336. [Online] DOI:
  • Setia, R, Gottschalk, P, Smith, P, Marschner, P, Baldock, J, Setia, D & Smith, J 2013, 'Soil salinity decreases global soil organic carbon stocks' Science of the Total Environment, vol. 465, pp. 267-272. [Online] DOI:
  • Davis, SC, Boddey, RM, Alves, BJR, Cowie, AL, George, BH, Ogle, SM, Smith, P, van Noordwijk, M & van Wijk, MT 2013, 'Management swing potential for bioenergy crops' Global Change Biology. Bioenergy, vol. 5, no. 6, pp. 623-638. [Online] DOI:
  • Wong, H, Hillier, J, Clark, DB, Smith, J & Smith, P 2013, 'An explicit and computationally efficient method to initialise first-order-based soil organic matter models-The Geometric Series Solution (GSS)' Ecological Modelling, vol. 267, pp. 48-53. [Online] DOI:
  • Pan, G, Huang, Z, Wang, J, Li, H, Chabbi, A, Paustian, K & Smith, P 2013, 'Conference Report: Soil organic matter dynamics: Beyond carbon: A report of the 4th International Symposium on Soil Organic Matter Dynamics' Carbon management, vol. 4, no. 5, pp. 485-489. [Online] DOI:
  • Wang, S, Wang, S & Smith, P 2013, 'Two Spatial Non-Nested Tests for Weight Structure in the Spatial Autoregressive Model' Geographical Analysis, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 345-358. [Online] DOI:
  • Pogson, M, Hastings, A & Smith, P 2013, 'How does bioenergy compare with other land-based renewable energy sources globally?' Global Change Biology. Bioenergy, vol. 5, no. 5, pp. 513-524. [Online] DOI:
  • Reichstein, M, Bahn, M, Ciais, P, Frank, D, Mahecha, MD, Seneviratne, SI, Zscheischler, J, Beer, C, Buchmann, N, Frank, DC, Papale, D, Rammig, A, Smith, P, Thonicke, K, van der Velde, M, Vicca, S, Walz, A & Wattenbach, M 2013, 'Climate extremes and the carbon cycle' Nature, vol. 500, no. 7462, pp. 287-295. [Online] DOI:
  • Whittaker, C, McManus, MC & Smith, P 2013, 'A comparison of carbon accounting tools for arable crops in the United Kingdom' Environmental Modelling and Software, vol. 46, pp. 228-239. [Online] DOI:
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