Friday, 21 December 2018

#STARsoil #soil An introduction to soil science: soil description, soil quality monitoring and assessment

29th April – 3rd May 2019

Aimed at PhD students needing a grounding in soil science, this course is now in its 4th year and was
previously only available to students within the STARS Centre for Doctoral Training.

The course starts at Lancaster University, with an introduction to research level issues in
contemporary soil science by leading soil scientists. Day 2 sees input from the British Society of SoilScience (BSSS) soil profile experts, who will provide training in “Exposing and describing a soil
profile”. This is a fundamental foundation skill for all soil scientists. Training will take place in the
laboratory and in the field at Myerscough College, a few miles south of the Lancaster University
Campus. Day 3 sees a shift to Bangor University’s Henfaes Experimental Station. The station was
chosen due to its classic altitudinal soil sequence (called a catena) which contains almost all the
common soil types found in the UK. Transported by Landrover to just below 2000 feet you will
descend through each dominant soil type carrying out basic soil quality field tests and collecting
samples for later laboratory analysis. This work will continue on Day 4, followed by laboratory
analysis. Day 5 will consist of collation of group results and a discussion about findings, in the
context of ecosystem services as well as traditional soil science.

The course is open to all PhD students on a first come first served basis. The cost is £450, which
includes all training, refreshments, lunches and transport around the field sites. It does not cover
transport between Lancaster and Bangor, overnight accommodation or evening meals.

For further information, please contact the STARS CDT office,

#CelebrateSTARS #starSOIL legacy filming opportunity

Invitation to make a Soil Science Film at the STARS Conference

In order to help create a lasting legacy from the #STARSoil College, we are providing the opportunity to #CelebrateSTARS and make some short Soil Science films with a professional film team led by Roger Appleton.

Roger and his team will be at the conference Tuesday morning until Thursday lunchtime and will be based in a room close to the conference action.  We are looking for volunteer small groups of say 2-6 all of you to self-organise and form around thematic areas of your passion and choice.  In the groups we want it to be a mix of students with more experienced scientists together and we wish to film you sitting around a table, talking, reflecting and debating on your chosen topic.  It may be for example - say soil erosion, soil carbon - or anything soil related indeed that lights your fire.  One dynamic that Roger thinks works well is when earlier career scientists quiz the older scientists.  Roger’s experience says that you don’t need to worry too much about scripting and planning, it works well if perhaps the a few questions are planned in advance, but mostly natural free flowing conversation works best.  A filming session may take about 30-45 minutes maximum with a final film of about 5-10 minutes.  You will have full opportunity to see the draft before it is published on the web.

So, we are calling for volunteers, maybe 4 or 5 groups over the duration of the conference. You will have to work out a best time to fit the session in or around the conference schedule, but we are hoping this will be a great opportunity to create an inspiring legacy!

If you have alternative approaches you would like to suggest, your ideas are welcome too.

Please see Phil Haygarth, Roger Appleton or Olivia Lawrenson if you are interested at the meeting - or email before



Announcing a #STARSoil Special Issue #CelebrateSTARS

Announcing a Special Issue for the STARS CDT in the European Journal of Soil Science

“Innovations in Soil Science to address Global Grand Challenges”

Editors Phil Haygarth, Guy Kirk and Davey Jones


The Soils Training and Research Studentships (STARS) Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) is a UK NERC and BBSRC funded consortium of eight universities and research institutes from around England, Scotland and Wales training the next generation of soil scientists. We have just entered the peak phase where we have 40 PhD students in the college and in January we will be celebrating this with a three-day conference to be held at the Low Wood Hotel, Lake Windermere (Lake District), with organization and presentations from students as well as a number of international guest speakers. This provides the perfect timing and opportunity to propose a special issue to be published in EJSS because it is a BSSS journal working with the British Soils CDT. Volunteer papers comprised of teams of students and supervisors are now encouraged around the theme of the STARS CDT ‘Innovations in Soil Science to address Global Grand Challenges’ and around the STARS sub themes

- 1. Understanding the soil–root interface
- 2. Soils and the delivery of ecosystem services
- 3. Resilience and response of functions in soil systems
- 4. Modelling the soil ecosystem at different spatial and temporal scales

The timetable:

End December 2018: STARS and EJSS reach agreement on principle and agree modus operandi; start to form the Editorial team. DONE
Early January 2019: Launch concept by email and ask for proposed authors to signal intent and title DONE
Mid-January 2019: Promotion at STARS conference.
End January 2019: Corresponding authors send provisional papers titles and author list to
April–June 2019: Window for receipt of papers.
End December 2019: Reviews, responses, revision and resubmission to be complete.

All papers will be subject to strict independent peer review. It is primarily open to STARS PhD students and supervisors in the first instance, but other relevant soils PhD students are welcome to enquire