Contact Dr Jacqueline Hannam

Areas of expertise

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


Jack currently leads the Soil Informatics group and the LandIS team at Cranfield University, who are responsible for the national soil data for England and Wales ( She is President of the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS)

Jack’s research centres on soil data, digital soil mapping, soil health and soil policy. Her work on digital soil mapping fuses novel machine learning approaches with expert and local knowledge to develop new predictions of soil properties at national scales. Work on predictive mapping of land capability ( has identified how climate change could affect the national capability of land for agriculture. The outputs have been used for decision making by the Welsh Government and Defra in national and local policies. She has developed field scale applications of regenerative agriculture, working closely with farmers and growers to use cover crops to improve soil health. She is interested in how different forms of soil data (e.g. spectroscopy or citizen-sourced data) can be used to inform local sustainable soil management and also feed into national monitoring schemes. She works closely with policymakers on policy-relevant research and completed an 18 month secondment (2021-2023) in Welsh Government Soil Policy Team developing a new soil policy for Wales. 

She is an Associate Editor for the journals Soil Use and Management and SOIL. She is on the scientific committee for the Land Use, Land Use Change to Forestry sector for the UK GHG emission inventory. She is a passionate science communicator and has been interviewed on BBC Countryfile, 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 is a member of Cranfield University's Community and Public Engagement working group and the School of Water Energy and Environment Diversity and Inclusion group. 

She leads the soil systems module on the Agrifood MSc programme and has successfully supervised and examined numerous PhD and MSc students. She has developed and delivered advanced NERC training courses in soil systems for early career researchers and bespoke short courses for environmental science professionals.

Research opportunities

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 ; soil policy.

Current activities

Soil data and digital soil mapping 

Developing Bayesian approaches for soil property estimation at national scales (LandIS). 

EU project to develop regional-scale harmonised soil data for the Danube Basin (Joint Research Centre with ISRIC). 

Updated map of peat soils in Wales providing new estimates of soil carbon stock and GHG emissions (Welsh Government). Wales Peatland Data Portal:

Land capability approaches applied in an ESRC project to determine how soil functions are impacted by land use change resulting from food and nutrition scenarios emerging from the UK response to COVID-19 and Brexit (ES/V004433/1).

Soil health and regenerative agriculture 

Developing indicators for soil health in England (JNCC/Defra). 

David Clarke (PhD researcher NERC Centa2 DTP) is exploring how to use on-farm data to identify site-season interactions in soil and crop for sustainable intensification (with NIAB and BGS). 

George Sawyer (PhD researcher University of Reading BBSRC FoodBioSystems DTP) is investigating how cover crops can increase the resilience of the agri-food system.

Zhaoxing Li (PhD researcher NERC Centa2 DTP) is assessing the soil mesofaunal response to climate pressures and the resulting impacts on soil function. 

Harriet Gold (PhD researcher BBSRC FoodBioSystems DTP) is designing UK agricultural landscapes by developing a mechanistic landscape-scale model for several terrestrial invertebrates to predict agroecosystem resilience (with University of Reading and Syngenta)

Soil Policy

I co-produced a new Soil Policy Statement for Wales during an 18 month secondment (2021-2023) in the Welsh Government Soil Policy Team supported by a team of PhD Policy Placements (Carmen Sanchez Garcia, Erik Button, Beth Roberts, Danielle Hunt, Nicola Wynn). I am continuing to work with the team to finalize the Soil Policy statement and associated work.

I have co-authored an extensive synthesis of evidence (and digestible executive summary of the main findings) that forms the basis of the draft soil policy statement

Our researcher experiences developing soil policy that works in practice was based on effective partnerships and co-production between policy makers, researchers and key stakeholders. We presented our novel approaches at the first Soil Policy day at the World Congress of Soil Science in 2022. Our current summary of the process is published in the Soil Policy Legacy Report by The British Society of Soil Science

Art/Science interface

Jack is contributed to a NERC Creative Climate Connections project 'Sensing Soil' working with Dr Ros Gray and artist Harun Morrison in the Goldsmiths Art and Research Garden and participants from Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network on the climate and cultural connections of soil in urban environments. 

She is also hosting artists ( at the National Soil Archive at Cranfield University who are using the resources as research in art practice. 

Previous PhD researchers

Tom Storr

Grant Campbell

Timo Breure 


Innovate UK
Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
Welsh Government
Scottish Government
Forestry Commission
Environment Agency
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.