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Kit Macleod

Staff picture: Kit Macleod
Information and Computational Sciences
Information and Computational Sciences
Senior Catchment Modeller
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


I am an integrative catchment scientist whose research (Google Scholar profile) is focussed on three nested areas (see Figure 1 below):

  1. Understanding multiple functions, resultant benefits and trade-offs of temperate catchment systems;
  2. Integrating natural, social and computer science to improve understanding  and managing of catchment systems; and
  3. Advancing the theory as well as the practice of integrative systems based approaches.

A diagram showing the linkages between my core areas of research.

Figure 1: A diagram showing the linkages between my core areas of research.


Current research interests

PhD student supervision


Bob Surminski (University of Abertay). Developing and testing geovisualisation approaches for understanding multiple-benefits from Scottish agricultural systems.


Sabine Peukert (University of Exeter). Impacts of farm-scale ecosystem management on water quality in intensively managed grasslands. NERC CASE.


Allan Puttock (University of Exeter). Developing an understanding of vegetation change and carbon budgets in semi-arid environments.

Current research projects


NUTCAT2050 Hydrology-phosphorus interactions under changing climate and land use overcoming uncertainties and challenges for prediction to 2050

2013-2016 NERC NE/K002392/1. The systems evidence based assessment methodology (SEBAM) that I recently developed and published forms the basis of this project.

wikiRivers- exploiting digital technologies for the effective communication of river water levels

2011-2014 RCUK Digital Economy, DR-PP-RVD. My role in this project is to provide hydrological expertise and to develop an integrative approach that links the natural, social and computer science components for working with stakeholders.

Valuing Nature Network, BRIDGE: From values to decisions

2012 NERC. In addition to be invited to the interdisciplinary VNN workshop. I was involved in the BRIDGE project.  At the start up workshop, I gave an invited overview on ‘Including natural science valuation evidence in decision-making’ and led the natural science break out group. 

Environmental Virtual Observatory (pilot): National scale work package

2010-2013 NERC NE/1002200/1.  Following successful participation at the NERC sandpit, I am working with colleagues at University of Bristol (Freer), University of Reading (Johnes), Durham University (Reaney) and BGS (Bloomfield) to demonstrate the potential of the environmental virtual observatory for national scale modelling of hydrology and associated biogeochemistry. I am also leading demonstration and evaluation of cloud cyber-infrastructure in the Dyfi catchemnt.


WaterCAP: Clustering the results from water and climate related projects (Water, Cluster, Adapt, Promote)

2011-2013 Interreg IVB.  My role was to design a structure to analyse projects and structure workshops based on integrating DPSIR and final ecosystem services in relation to climate change, water quantity and water quality. 

SEPA/ Scottish Government

Water and Renewable Energy Theme: Multiple benefits of water quality and quantity

2011- Scottish Government.  I lead on taking an ecosystem services approach to understand the multiple benefits of the James Hutton Institute catchment science from the plant to catchment scales.

DICE: Developing an interdisciplinary culture of excellence

2012-2014 Scottish Government/James Hutton Institute.  I initiated and lead this mixed methods social science inquiry into how Institute staff are carrying out interdisciplinary research and what are the barriers to greater levels of interdisciplinary working.

Scotland Rural Development Programme 2014-20- assessing potential water and soil quality options, their evidence base and potential to deliver multiple benefits research

2013-2013 SEPA/CREW.  I lead this project.  This involves working with a broad range of experts to elicit their opinion on the ability of these measures to deliver multiple benefits.

Centre of Expertise for Waters (CREW)

2011- Scottish Government.  As part of the core CREW team I have helped apply for and establish this important science-policy boundary spanning initiative.

Past research


SuperGRaSS: Selecting genes for function

2006-2009 BBSRC BB/D011612/1. I initiated and led the writing of this BBSRC responsive mode award. The key to SuperGRaSS was the bringing together of plant scientists, soil scientists and hydrologists to improve our systems understanding of how novel multifunctional grasses can be used to reduce the risk of flooding. 

Achieving Sustainable Catchment Management: Developing integrated approaches and tools to inform future policies

2004-2005 RELU RES-224-25-0081. I was leader of WP7 Achieving Sustainable Catchment Management: spatial data and spatial technologies- progress and scope in developing integrated approaches and tools to inform future policies.

SEPA/ Scottish Government

Applying an ecosystem services approach to the production of the second River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) – identifying indicators of key ecosystem services and pressures

2011-2012 SEPA/CREW. I led this project. This involved working with stakeholders and researchers through one to one sessions and facilitated workshops. I have developed structured facilitation methods based on a conceptual model linking an ecosystem service approach and WFD objectives.   


GRaSP Grassland Mobilisation of Sediment and Phosphorus

2006-2009 Defra PE0120. I led integrative activities, involving linking experimental work with the modelling for a more ‘systems’ based approach. 

Diffuse Pollution User Manual

2006-2008 Defra ES0203. I helped produced the phosphorus component of a desk based expert assessment to assess the current level of scientific understanding on the effectiveness of a wide range of mitigation measures for phosphorus, nitrogen, faecal indictor organisms and sediment for several model farm systems in the UK.

Printed from /staff/kit-macleod on 18/09/19 04:58:02 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.