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Jean Robertson

Staff picture: Jean Robertson
Environmental and Biochemical Sciences
Environmental and Biochemical Sciences
Head of Infrared Spectroscopy
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Jean Robertson is an Infrared Spectroscopist and Head of the IR Section of the Analytical Group at the Institute. She has worked at the Institute in the IR Section since 2004, becoming head of the section in 2005, which encompasses both the analytical techniques of FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared) spectroscopy and NIR (Near Infrared) spectroscopy.

Current research interests

Her expertise in FTIR spectroscopy was first developed through her PhD, awarded in 1990, in which she studied structures of organometallic compounds using this technique. Through her work at the Institute she now applies this expertise in IR spectroscopy to a wide range of naturally occurring samples. She has developed the specialist knowledge necessary for interpreting the complex FTIR spectra of minerals, soils, sediments, fungal species and vegetation. An FTIR spectrum provides a "chemical fingerprint" or chemical overview of a sample encompassing both organic and mineral components and is therefore particularly applicable to the combined study of soil mineralogy and organic matter. From the samples generated for the National Soil Inventory of Scotland a soils database has been created for which the IR section has provided high quality FTIR and NIR spectral data. Analysis of relationships between this spectral data and the other data held for the soils, including mineralogy and wax markers from vegetation input, will be a key research interest, particularly in relation to changes in soil organic matter. Another key area of research is the development of NIR calibrations for the prediction of parameters for a range of materials including soil, animal faeces and vegetation. Effective calibrations allow analysis to be provided in a quick, cheap and environmentally friendly manner and significantly extend the number of samples it is possible to work with for a given project. Development of suitable calibrations will have a potentially highly significant input into a range of ecological and environmental monitoring projects.


  • Roberts, D.; Torrance, L.; Stirton, G.; Britton, A.J.; Craig, C.; Kyle, C-A.; Abel, C.; Macaulay, C.; Fielding, D.; Watson, H.; Pohle, I.; Robertson, J.; Maxwell, J.; Irvine, K.; Sutherland, L-A.; Dawson, L.A.; Shepherd, L.; Miller, P.; Ellis, R.; Richards, S.; Blok, V.; Hackett, C.; Kettle, H. (2018) Women in Science., The James Hutton Institute, 25pp.

Printed from /staff/jean-robertson on 10/06/23 09:39:04 AM

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.