Welcome to our new blog!

Welcome to our new blog, The Dirt Doctors!

Do you have an interest in all things soils, agriculture and plants? Perhaps you currently undertake academic research in this area, are thinking of doing so in the near future, or just want to feed your general interest? If so, then this blog is for you.

The blog was initially dreamed up, after drinks one evening following a [hard] day in the office, by myself (Oliver Pritchard) and Becky Whetton. We are both PhD students in the Soil and Agrifood Institute at Cranfield University.  We created this space as an opportunity to talk about the PhD-level research being undertaken within our institute, as well as other general scientific musings that will undoubtedly pop into our heads over the coming months and years.

We have anticipation for a flourishing writing base to develop amongst the many PhD students within our department. They will share with you many different aspects of their research in soil and agrifood, policy implications, conference and course experiences, PhD tips and other general scientific interests – from a truly international perspective.

We found this useful graphic on the important functions that soils play globally (see below), which we believe is a good indication of the topics that will likely crop up (pardon the pun) within the blog – with some of our main themes including;

  • Soil systems and land management
  • Applied Informatics
  • Plants and Food
Soil Functions

Soil Functions (Source: https://www.behance.net)

We hope that you will follow us on our PhD journeys and our academic/scientific ramblings to help further build a soil community between ourselves at Cranfield and beyond. Also, if you are thinking of undertaking a PhD at Cranfield, we hope that this will give you a taster of the research life here!

Remember also that this year is the UNFAO’s (United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation) dedicated International Year of Soils (watch out for an additional post on this)! We hope that this blog will help raise a further awareness of soils so that we can help preserve this fragile and finite resource.





Please also follow us on twitter (@DirtDocs), using the hashtag #IYS2015 to join in the international soil conversation!

You’ll be hearing from us soon,



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