University awarded top honour for soil science research

Four Scottish institutions collected a Queen’s Anniversary Prize from the Prince of Wales and Princess Royal.

Prince Charles with Aberdeen University staff
Prince Charles with Aberdeen University staff

A Scottish university has picked up a prestigious honour from the royal family in recognition of its ground-breaking research into the science of soil.

Representatives of Aberdeen University were presented with the Queen’s Anniversary Prize by the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal in a ceremony in London on Thursday – with other Scottish universities also being honoured for their work.

Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University was recognised for research in the advancement of photonics technology, Strathclyde University in Glasgow was honoured for its excellence in advanced manufacturing, and Glasgow University also picked up an award.

Aberdeen University principal and vice-chancellor Professor George Boyne described the award as a “great honour”.

Academics from the University of Aberdeen who have been awarded the honour (University of Aberdeen/PA)

He added: “The impressive work of our soil scientists will make a significant contribution in some of humanity’s greatest challenges, including climate change and the deterioration of our global soil resource.”

Charles and Anne presented representatives from the university with the prize, which is awarded every two years in recognition of world-class research.

The award comes after scientists at the university established a world-leading centre looking into soil science, developing state-of-the-art environmental models and creating biosensors for the assessment of pollution.

Their work has had a global impact, as the university made major contributions to last year’s Cop26 summit in Glasgow.

Professor Graeme Paton, head of the School of Biological Sciences, said he “could not be prouder of the staff and students” for receiving the honour.

“The research of our staff and students is making an immense contribution to some of the greatest challenges of our time and it is fitting that their tremendous efforts are recognised with this coveted award,” he said.

“The issues we face in maintaining sustainable soils are greater now than ever before and at Aberdeen we have the techniques, skills and people to address these challenges and make a real difference.”

Professor Marion Campbell, vice-principal for research, said: “The award of a Queen’s Anniversary Prize is testament to the excellent work being done by our soil scientists at the University of Aberdeen and I am pleased they have received this recognition.”

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