Professor Louise Heathwaite holding a Munsell Soil Colour Book.

I am an Environmental Hydrologist with a BSc in Environmental Sciences. I did a PhD in Wetland Hydrochemistry that inspired my long-term research on land use and environmental pollution, in particular, understanding the pathways of nitrogen and phosphorus loss from agricultural land to water, and the impact on freshwater quality.

Professor Louise Heathwaite

I’m truly interested in how things work, and I like to work independently, so there was no career for me other than being a researcher. I like science to be useful, and when I started my PhD in the Somerset Levels at West Sedgemoor part of it had just been declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) but pump drainage of adjacent agricultural land appeared to be linked to aquatic pollution and fish kills. It was a good environmental challenge to work out and understand and to think about the pragmatic application of the science so that farming and conservation could continue to work alongside one another.

I’ve taken my research further by, first of all, working with the Natural Environment Research Council to build strategic research programmes around sustainable use of natural resources, covering everything from energy use through to conservation strategies. I also acted as Chief Scientific Advisor for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment for the Scottish Government, looking at the scientific evidence underpinning a lot of the decisions we make around the environment. Now, I am a Distinguished Professor and in a strategic role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at Lancaster University.

I guess my inspiration to become a scientist was actually not liking to be told what to do! I like working independently and science just offered that opportunity to start from scratch. I often tell my post-docs and early lecturers that the time when you’re a PhD student is when you have three years ahead of you to ‘do your own thing’ and discover something new, which is so exciting.

Louise is holding a Munsell Soil Colour Book – Professor Albert H Munsell was the first person to illustrate colour systematically in three-dimensional space, based on experimental science and it’s been the official colour system for soils research since the 1930s.

Meet Scotland’s Women in Science

I‘m an Immunologist by training and believe that fighting infection through the same or similar mechanisms which the body’s immune
I’m a Human Geneticist but there’s nothing in my past that suggests that that’s what I would become. My journey
I currently lead a major project sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Civil Engineering Contractor, BAM Nuttall,
I am a Soft Matter and Biological Physicist, which means I study anything that wobbles when you poke it. Professor
Working as a teenage Mary Poppins on a summer ‘dude ranch’ in Texas, I found myself fearing that my brain
Transformative innovations in medicine and public health require triple helix collaborations between the NHS, academia, and industry. Professor Dame Anna
As a child, I used to sit down every week and watch Star Trek, with all its iPads, body scanners,
My greatest desire is not to be the only woman on a committee or a slate of speakers as so
I wanted to be a scientist for as long as I can remember, and I went to university to study
I am an Anatomist and a Forensic Anthropologist. By exploring the intricacies and variability of the human body, my disciplines
I am a Synthetic Chemist who, in general terms, can be described as a molecular architect. Our research focuses on
I am a Clinical Academic and have the privilege of working with patients. This offers me the opportunity to understand
I’ve always liked mathematics, even as a small child. I liked its rigour and simplicity, but I came to realise
My research involves developing the technique of surface-enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) for multiplexed bioanalytical applications. Professor Karen Faulds Raman involves
I loved science from an early age. I loved doing experiments, loved mathematical challenges, loved problem-solving. I was fortunate to
I am an Environmental Hydrologist with a BSc in Environmental Sciences. I did a PhD in Wetland Hydrochemistry that inspired
I am a Pharmacologist and studied Pharmacology at Edinburgh University, both for my BSc and PhD. I was always interested
I have a natural curiosity for knowledge, so research and university are natural fits for me. I came to Scotland
I was born in Dundee and grew up in Ireland in a family of scientists. My parents were scientists involved
I’ve always been interested in biology. I was that child who got the frog spawn out of the pond and
I make unusual molecules from the metals at the bottom ofthe periodic table. We don’t know enough about their bonding,and
I am an Engineer who works in academia. I was the first woman to be Professor of Chemical Engineering in
I was Professor of Dermatology at the University of Glasgow 1978–2000, the first time in its 500-year history that a
I am an Applied Statistician. I develop new methods and techniques for analysing different types of data, particularly in the
Although I was always interested in science at school back in Liverpool, my first aim in life was to be
I’m an Experimental Physicist. I carry out research designing and building instrumentation for observatories that have detected the first gravitational