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Colin Campbell

Staff picture: Colin Campbell
Chief Executive
Chief Executive
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute

Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK

Dundee DD2 5DA


Colin is Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute and is responsible for leading the organisation and its staff in delivering the Corporate Plan. He has been in post since Feb 2016. Prior to this he was Interim CEO from September 2015 and before that was Director of Science Excellence responsible for the strategic development of the excellence of the institute's scientists, facilities and resources. He has 28 years of research experience in soil microbiology/soil science applied to agri-environment issues. His expertise lies in fundamental and applied studies on the effects of pollutants on soil microorganisms and soil health and in understanding how microbial diversity contributes to ecosystem functioning. Colin was also Director of the Institute’s Post-Graduate School which has over 120 registered students, registered at 30 different universities from around the world.

He is a Guest professor in the Soil and Environment Department, Swedish Agricultural Sciences University (SLU), Uppsala, Sweden and has worked in Australia and China looking at semi-tropical and temperate ecosystems there.

He has broad interest in sustainable development and has developed the vision and mission of the institute around the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He sits on the Scottish Government’s Forum for Natural Capital and has led research programmes on using the Ecosystem Approach to solve problems around land use decisions. He served on the RSE Commission of Inquiry "Facing up to Climate Change" and was a contributing author to the UK National Ecosystem Assessment. He is an associate editor with Soil Use and Management and the European Journal of Soil Science and has acted as an expert advisor and participant in several EU and UK Government workshops addressing issues of the sustainable use of soils.

Current research interests

Current projects include investigations into the extent of microbial diversity in soils and the factors controlling composition and distribution. He also studies of the use of biological indicators of soil health and the effects of recycled organic matter on soil micro-organisms to better define the sustainability of such practices with a specific focus on soil protection and Statutory limits for heavy metals. His work in Sweden with the Swedish Agricultural Sciences University (SLU) has been funded by a Swedish research council has been looking at micronutrient supply in farming systems in relation to localised soil resource-food quality issues. He is co-inventor of MicroResp, a novel physiological profiling method for characterising soils, sediments and waters and has other patents on novel molecular fingerprinting methods.


  • Iason, G.R.; Moore, B.D.; Lennon, J.J.; Stockan, J.A.; Osler, G.H.R.; Russell, J.R.; Campbell, C.D.; Sim, D.A.; Beaton, J.R. (2012) Plant secondary metabolite polymorphisms and the extended chemical phenotype., In: Iason, G.R., Dicke, M. & Hartley, S.E. (eds.). The Ecology of Plant Secondary Metabolites: from Genes to Global Processes. Ecological Reviews, Cambridge University Press. Chapter 13, pp247-268.
  • Bardgett, R.D.; Campbell, C.D.; Emmett, B.A.; Jenkins, A.; Whitmore, A.P. (2011) Supporting services., In: UK National Ecosystem Assessment. Understanding Nature's Value to Society. Technical Report. Cambridge, UNEP-WCMC, Chapter 13, pp499-534.
  • Dawson, L.A.; Campbell, C.D.; Hillier, S.; Brewer, M.J. (2008) Methods of characterising and fingerprinting soils for forensic application., In: Tibbett, M. & Carter, D.O. (eds.). Soil Analysis in Forensic Taphonomy. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 271-315.
  • Garland, J.L.; Campbell, C.D.; Mills, A.L. (2007) Physiological profiling of microbial communities., In: Manual of Environmental Microbiology (eds. C.J. Hurst, R.L. Crawford, J.L. Garland, D.A. Lipson, A.L. Mills, L.D. Stetzenbach). 3rd edition, American Society for Microbiology Press. ISBN 978155581376 ISBN 978155581376
  • Paton, G.I.; Bundy, J.G.; Campbell, C.D.; Maciel, H. (2004) Application of catabolic-based biosensors to develop QSARs for degradation., In: Predicting Chemical Toxicity and Fate (eds. M.T.D. Cronin and D.J. Livingstone). CRC Press Inc., pp373-388.
  • Birnie, R.V.B.; Curran, J.; MacDonald, J.A.; Mackey, E.C.; Campbell, C.D.; Gowan, G.; Palmer, S.C.F.; Paterson, E.; Shaw, P.; Henry, M.C. (2002) Land: trends and prospects for the environment and natural heritage., In: The State of Scotland's Environment and Natural Heritage (M.B. Usher). The Stationery Office, Edinburgh.
  • Cooper, J.N.; Anderson, J.G.; Campbell, C.D. (2002) How resilient are microbial communities to temperature changes during composting?, In: Microbiology of Composting (eds. Insam, H., Riddech, N. and Klammer, S.). Springer-Verlag,Berlin, pp3-16.
  • Rees, R.M.; Ball, B.C.; Campbell, C.D.; Watson, C.A. (2001) Sustainable management of soil organic matter., CABI, Wallingford.

  • Fitzpatrick, J.; Brewer, M.; Campbell, C.D.; Morgan, P.; Hollingsworth, P.; Newbold, J.; Bestwick, C.; Dawson, L.A. (2020) The Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes’ (SEFARI) responses to COVID-19., Summary Report, 13pp.
  • McKee, A.J.; Sutherland, L.A.; Lilly, A.; Aitkenhead, M.; Campbell, C. (2014) On-farm assessment of soil carbon status., Self-published Report for Quality Meat Scotland and research participants; to be published on JHI website.
  • Towers, W.; Matthews, K.B.; Campbell, C.; Bell, J.; Miller, D.G.; Buchan, K. (2012) Future CAP Payments: issues for the use of the Land Capability for Agriculture classification and Maps to determine single farm payment values., Report to the Scottish Government CAP regionalisation workstream, 12pp, 10 September 2012.
  • Black, H.I.J.; Ritz, K.; Harris, J.A.; Cameron, C.; Campbell, C.D.; Chamberlain, P.M.; Creamer, R.; Pawlett, M.; Wood, S. (2011) Scoping biological indicators of soil quality, Phase II., Defra Final Contract Report SP0534.
  • Sugden, D.; Werrity, A.; Caldwell, E.; Campbell, C.D.; Dlugolecki, A.; Hanley, N.; Kerr, A.; Webb, J. (2011) Facing up to climate change: breaking the barriers to a low-carbon Scotland., Report of RSE Committee of Enquiry, Royal Society of Edinburgh, ISBN: 978 0 902198 46 3
  • Paterson, E.; Campbell, C.D.; Coull, M.C.; Shand, C.A. (2011) Geochemical atlas for Scottish topsoils., The Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen, 43pp.ISBN 978-0-902701-007
  • Campbell, C.D.; Cooper, P.; Crooks, W.; Sinclair, A.; White, D. (2010) Impact of long term sewage sludge additions to biological functions in Scottish soils., Final Report to The Scottish Government. CR/2008/03
  • Hough, R.L.; Booth, P.; Avery, L.M.; Rhind, S.; Crews, C.; Bacon, J.; Campbell, C.D. (2009) Risk assessment of the use of PAS100 green composts in Scottish livestock production., Report prepared for the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
  • Hough, R.L.; Campbell, C.D.; White, D.; Crews, C. (2009) Study of the levels of plant derived toxins in compost., Quality Meat Scotland.
  • Hough, R.L.; Booth, P.; Rhind, S.M.; Avery, L.M.; Bacon, J.; Campbell, C.D.; Crews, C. (2009) Risk assessment of application of composted wastes to land., WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme).
  • Dick, J.; Smith, P.; Smith, R.; Lilly, A.; Moxey, A.; Booth, J.; Campbell, C.D.; Coulter, D. (2008) Carbon - a GROWING issue., National Farmers Union of Scotland.
  • Dick, J.; Smith, P.; Smith, R.; Lilly, A.; Moxey, A.; Booth, J.; Campbell, C.D.; Coulter, D. (2008) Calculating farm scale greenhouse gas emissions., National Farmers Union of Scotland.
  • Towers, W.; Black, HJ.I.J.; Campbell, C.D.; Hough, R.L. (2007) EU Soil Framework Directive: Macaulay Institute response., Scottish Government Soil Policy Unit.
  • Towers, W.; Grieve, I.C.; Hudson, G.; Campbell, C.D.; Lilly, A.; Davidson, D.A.; Bacon, J.R.; Langan, S.J.; Hopkins, D.A. (2006) Scotland's soil resource - current state and threats., Report to SEERAD.
  • Black, H.I.J.; Wood, C.; Parekh, N.; Chamberlain, P.M.; Scott, A.; Ritz, K.; Harris, J.A.; Campbell, C.D.; Towers, W. (2005) SP0529 Scoping biological indicators of soil quality. SQID Phase I : Prioritising biological indicators of soil quality for deployment in a national scale soil monitoring scheme., Contract Report to DEFRA.
  • Singh, B.K.; Campbell, C.D. (2005) Genetic process., Patent Office of Britain.
  • Gibbs, P.A.; Chambers, B.J.; Carlton-Smith, C.H.; Chaudri, A.M.; McGrath, S.P.; Bacon, J.R.; Campbell, C.D.; Aitken, M.N. (2004) Effects of sewage sludge applications to agricultural soils on soil microbial activity and the implications for agricultural productivity and long term soil fertility: Phase 2. Final Report., UK Water Industry Report No. 03/SL/04/4, 2004, 374pp+xiii.
  • Campbell, C.D.; Smith, A. (2004) Analysis of total petroleum hydrocarbons in drill cuttings in compost windows., BP Exploration. Confidential report.
  • Campbell, C.D.; Cameron, C.M.; Smith, A. (2004) Biodegradation of hydrocarbons in two oilfield waste drill cuttings., BP under MRCS Contract 274 - follow up to MRC242. Confidential Report.
  • Campbell, C.D.; Cameron, C.M. (2003) Testing the efficacy of proprietary amendments designed to enhance the degradation of hydrocarbons in oilfield waste drill cuttings., MRC242 - BP. Confidential Report.
  • Edwards, A.C.; Campbell, C.D.; Paterson, E. (2003) Review of the scientific rationale underpinning the establishment of woodchip corrals., Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department, 17p.
  • White, D.; Campbell, C.D. (2003) Report on sole carbon source utilisation patterns of lux-marked Pseudomonas spp., gfp-marked Pseudomonas fluorescens and a lux-marked Bacillus subtilis and their respective wild type strains., Dr O.G.G. Knox, Department of Plant and Soil Science, University of Aberdeen.
  • Aitken, M.N.; Sym. G.; Douglas, J.T.; Campbell, C.D.; Burgess, S.D.J. (2002) Impact of industrial wastes and sheep dip chemicals applied to agricultural land on soil quality., SEPA, Stirling, Scotland.
  • Campbell, C.D.; Paton, G.I.; Towers, W.; Paterson, E.; Dawson, J.J.C.; Cameron, C.M.; Coull, M.C.; Christie, P. (2001) A biological classification scheme to assess the sensitivity of Scottish and Northern Ireland soils to heavy metals., Technical Report SR(00) 09 to SNIFFER, Edinburgh, June 2001.
  • Williams, P.A.; Campbell, C.D.; Stucki, G. (2001) Report of Expert Panel on "MAROC" Project., EU Environment Programme.
  • Chapman, S.J.; Campbell, C.D.; Edwards, A.C.; McHenry, J.G. (2000) Assessment of the potential of new biotechnology environmental monitoring techniques., Report to Scotland and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research (SNIFFER), Report No. SR(99)10F, 62pp.
  • Chambers, B.J.; Gibbs, P.; Chaudri, A.M.; McGrath, S.P.; Carlton-Smith, C.H.; Hall, J.E.; Hallett, J.E.; Bacon, J.R.; Campbell, C.D.; Cooper, P.; Coull, M.C.; Aitken, M.N.; Sym, G.; Kirkland, I. (2000) Effects of sewage sludge applications to agricultural soils on soil microbial activity and the implications for agricultural productivity and long term soil fertility., Second annual report of the co-ordinated research programme(1998-2002), PhaseII, CSA4751, 31 July 2000, 146pp.
  • Chambers, B.J.; Garwood, T.M.; Chaudri, A.M.; McGrath, S.P.; Carlton-Smith, C.H.; Hall, J.E.; Hallett, J.E.; Bacon, J.R.; Campbell, C.D.; Coull, M.C.; Aitken, M.N. (1999) Effects of sewage sludge applications to agricultural soils on soil microbial activity and the implications for agricultural productivity and long term soil fertility., First annual report of the co-ordinated research programme (1998-2002), PhaseII. CSA4751, 31 July 1999, 148pp.
  • Campbell, C.D. (1999) Report to the Royal Society - BP Joint Project (Q726) with Chinese Academy of Sciences., Royal Society.
  • Chapman, S.J.; Campbell, C.D. (1999) Effects of native woodland expansion on soil carbon balance, Abernethy Forest - Final report., Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report F98 AC103 (Unpublished report).

Printed from /staff/colin-campbell on 02/10/22 05:35:07 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.