Fellow: Dawson
Elected: 2019
Discipline: Earth Sciences and Chemistry
Professor Lorna Dawson
Advisor, Scottish Environment Food and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI)
Lorna Dawson graduated with a BSc (hons) in Geography, Edinburgh University and then was awarded a PhD in Soil Science, Aberdeen University. Currently she is Principal Scientist and Head of the Centre for Forensic Soil Science at the James Hutton Institute, Visiting Professor at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, and Professora, Departamento de Ciências, CESPU, Portugal. She is a Chartered Scientist, Fellow of the Institute of British Soil Scientists, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She is an advisor with the National Crime Agency, a trained Expert Witness, holding diplomas in civil and criminal law (Cardiff University, 2011, 2012, updated 2017 and University of Aberdeen, 2021) and has worked on over 150 cases with police, agencies, and lawyers across the UK and overseas. She has presented evidence in over 20 cases, including, WA v Rayney, 2012; R v Davies, 2013; HMA v Sinclair, 2014; R v Halliwell, 2016; HMA v Willox, 2020, HMA v MacDowell, 2022, the Sheku Bayoh Public Inquiry and R v Southwood. She has published over 100 scientific papers, books and book chapters, and holds a diploma in Science Communication. She is Knowledge Exchange Lead for Environment for SEFARI Gateway (Scottish Environment Food Agriculture Research Institutes) and sits on the Environment Protection Scotland (EPS) Land Quality Expert Advisory Group. She is a Commissioner with the Food, Farming and Countryside (FFCC) and authored the RSA Scotland FFCC report (2019) and is co-lead in the devolved Scotland inquiry. She recently served on the Scottish Government Arable Climate Change Advisory Group (ACCG) and is on the scientific advisory panel for the Scottish Government’s Agriculture Reform Implementation Oversight Board (ARIOB). She is treasurer of the IUGS Initiative on Forensic Geology and Chair of the Geological Society Forensic Geology Group (FGG). She was awarded a CBE in the late Queen’s birthday honours list, June 2018, for services to soil and forensic science and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) in 2019 and awarded Soil Forensic Expert Witness of the Year in the Corporate INTL 2021 Global Awards. In March 2023 she was awarded the RSE James Hutton medal for excellence in the communication of Earth and Environmental sciences.