Calling all Early Career Researchers in Soil Science

“In our latest post, National BSSS ECR Representative Dan Evans writes to tell us a little bit more about BSSS and how Early Career Researchers can get involved.”

Just under sixty days ago, another twelve months of prospect and opportunity, challenge and trial, triumph and success were ahead of us. Together, we were stepping forwards down the track of 2018.

I say ‘together’ deliberately for I write as your current national Early Career Researcher representative for the British Society of Soil Science. For those who are not familiar, we represent Britain’s only national Soil Science society, and since its founding over seventy years ago, the BSSS has grown into a prestigious organisation with countless international connections. Not only are we committed to studying soil in the broadest sense, but we’re also a vital forum, providing our members around the world a chance to exchange and engage in ideas.

Our Early Career Researchers are especially integral, both to the sustainability and innovative evolution of the society. Currently, we have over 150 ECR’s across the British Isles and beyond, studying a myriad of soil-based issues. Naturally, each ECR is invested heavily in their individual interests and specialisms and hence the life of a researcher is typically an isolated one. Thus the opportunity to network, to share data and knowledge and to engage with interdisciplinary events can often be both refreshing and valuable. To this end, we as a society hold a special ECR conference which offers our members a comfortable platform from which to present their research. And after all, seeing and hearing the fascinating work being carried out by our members is fundamental towards achieving our society mission: to advance Soil Science and to promote a better understanding of soil, nationally and internationally.

When I became the national ECR Rep on the 1st January, I sat d own that evening and considered what my objectives would be for my two years in the role. Eventually, I settled on four:

  • to bring our members together more
  • to support them as they set out to inspire another generation of soil scientists
  • to formulate innovative communication strategies
  • to listen and learn continuously along the way

My new monthly PEDcast – a podcast for Soil Scientists – is just one example of a fresh, innovative communication platform for our members to share their research beyond their day-to-day institutions. Only two editions in, it’s also being warmly received by those beyond Soil Science, and I hope that the PEDcast will continue to inspire non-researchers that there is more to soil than meets the eye.

We know that soil functions better when aggregated and I am extremely proud to say that I have a team of enthusiastic regional ECR representatives across Britain, all working together to achieve these objectives. Let’s meet them.

Emily Dowdeswell – ECR Rep for South East England. Contact her by emailing: e.dowdeswell@cranfield.ac.uk. Emily says: “Hello! As the new @sesoil #ECR rep I’m looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible. If you have any thoughts on what you’d like to see happening in our region then please get in touch.”

Paul George – ECR Rep for Wales. Contact him by emailing: afp67e@bangor.ac.uk. Paul says: “Hi everyone! I’m Paul, your student rep. I want to hear how I can help you all student members of the WSDG/BSSS. Please let me know if there are new events you would like to see, or have any questions about the society. Thanks!” “Helo bawb! Dwi’n Paul, eich cynrychiolydd myfyriwr di. Dwi eisiau clywad sut ydw i’n gallu helpu chdi fel aelodau o’r WSDG/BSSS. Os ydach chdi eisiau digwyddiadau newydd neu os oes gennych chdi gwestiynau am y gymdeithas, gofynwch i fi os gwelwch yn dda. Diolch!”

Ernesto Saiz – ECR Rep for Midlands. Contact him by emailing: e.saiz.val@keele.ac.uk. Ernesto says: “BSSS provides a lot of support to its members. Please get in touch to get more info about the BSSS or the MSDG.”

Tom Inglis – ECR Rep for Scotland. Contact him by emailing: tom.inglis@hutton.ac.uk. Tom says: “I’ve been the Scottish Soils Discussion Group’s (SSDG) student representative for the past 2 years and provide a link between the students and the SSDG. I’m based up in Aberdeen in the James Hutton Institute and Robert Gordon University.”

Together, we are all invested in strengthening existing and building new connections across each region, and between regions, to develop a society that our members will always be proud to be part of.

If you are interested in becoming an ECR member yourself, don’t hesitate to contact me on: student@soils.org.uk. Furthermore, we currently have two ECR Regional Rep vacancies to fill, namely for the South West England and Northern England regions. The role is not demanding and would represent a large boost on any academic CV. Anyone interested in the role should send me an email.

For more information about the current news, events and opportunities from BSSS, do bookmark or subscribe to our dedicated Early Career Researcher page on the BSSS website: http://www.soils.org.uk/early-career-members

Author: Dan Evans, on behalf of BSSS ECR Representatives

Twitter: @DanEvansol