Contact Dr Jacqueline Hannam

Areas of expertise

  • Digital Agriculture
  • Monitoring and Environmental Informatics
  • Natural capital
  • Soil
  • Soil Resources
  • Sustainable Land Systems


Jack is a soil scientist specialising in soil data, digital soil mapping and soil health. She leads the LandIS team at Cranfield University, who are responsible for the national soil data for England and Wales.  Jack joined Cranfield University in 2004 as a Research Officer in Soil Systems. Before joining Cranfield she worked at ETH Zurich and the University of Liverpool on international projects related to environmental magnetism.  

Her research focuses on:

  • Digital soil mapping: using machine learning and sensing technology to predict and map soil properties and functions
  • On farm applications of conservation agriculture to improve soil health
  • Developing decision support tools for planning soil and landscape decisions
  • Applications of national (country) and local (field/farm) level soil data for policy and business applications

She is a council member of the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) and vice chair of the International Union of Soil Science (IUSS) Division 1: Soil in Space and Time. She represents Cranfield University in the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Global Soil Partnership. Jack is a member of the scientific committee reviewing evidence for national GHG inventories for the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector. She is an Associate Editor for the journal Soil Use and Management. She is a passionate science communicator and has been interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Sky News and BBC World. She founded Soapbox Science in Milton Keynes in 2015, a public outreach platform promoting women in science. 

She teaches soil systems on the Agrifood and Water MSc programmes at Cranfield and supervises MSc and PhD students. She has developed and delivered advanced training courses in soil systems for NERC early career researchers and bespoke short courses for environmental science professionals. 

Research opportunity

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the following areas: 

soil data and mapping; sensor technologies, digital soil mapping and modelling; conservation agriculture and soil health; participatory approaches to soil heath with diverse stakeholders; urban soil systems.

Current students:

Timo Breure (2017-2021) A loss function approach for optimal sensor configuration for soil sensing (co-supervisor with Rothamsted Research)

Completed students: 

Dr Tom Storr (2019) The effect of cover crops of soil quality indicators in a cereal and salad rotation (sponsored by Gs Growers)

Dr Grant Campbell (2019) GB wide digital soil mapping (with The James Hutton Institute)

Current activities

1) Danube SOTER: Regional scale harmonised soil data for the Danube Basin (Joint Research Centre with ISRIC and 14 country participants 2018-2020 PI)

2) Capability, Suitability and Climate Programme for Wales: Predictive Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) for Wales (Welsh Government with ADAS and Environment Systems 2018-2020 Co-I)

3) LandIS: Using machine learning to improve national soil data (Defra, 2019-2021 Co-I)

4) Effect of using cover crops on soil health (Gs Growers 2016-2019 PhD studentship)

5) Costs of Scottish Soil Erosion: Scottish Government with The James Hutton Institute (2018-2019, Co-I)

6) BEETSOIL: Decision support tool to forecast the impact of real-time soil conditions on sugar beet harvest (KTP with Innovate UK and British Sugar 2015-2018 PI)


  • NERC
  • Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission
  • Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
  • Forestry Commission
  • Welsh Government
  • Dstl
  • Gs Growers
  • Cobham Antenna Systems


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers


  • Simo I, Constanje R, Fealy R, Hallett SH, Hannam J, Holden N, Jahns G, Jones B, Massey P, Mayr T, McDonald E, Reidy B, Schulte R, Sills P, Spaargaren O, Zawadka J & Creamer RE (2014) Mapping Soils in Ireland. In: GlobalSoilMap: Basis of the global spatial soil information system, CRC Press.
  • Keay CA & Hannam JA (2013) Soil Data from the United Kingdom (England and Wales). In: European HYdropedological Data Inventory (EU-HYDI). Weynands M, Montanarella L, Toth G (ed.), Luxembourg: European Union, p. 111-115, ed. JRC 81129.
  • Hannam JA, Hollis JM & Jones RJA (2007) SPADE2: The soil profile analytical database for Europe. In: Status and prospect of soil information in south-eastern Europe: soil databases, projects and applications, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.