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Fellows Directory

Louise Heathwaite

Louise Heathwaite

Professor Louise Heathwaite CBE FRS


Elected: 2023




Louise Heathwaite is a hydrochemist who combines field and modelling research to understand the environmental impact of land use on freshwater quality. Her work on nutrient runoff from agricultural land informs our understanding of eutrophication in rivers and underpins diffuse pollution models worldwide. She advanced in-situ high-frequency monitoring of nitrogen and phosphorus fractions in rivers providing unique insight into nutrient cycling that support policy interventions to reduce water quality degradation.

She is a distinguished professor in the Lancaster Environment Centre and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at Lancaster University. Louise is currently chair of the Science Advisory Council of the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and independent commissioner for the Geospatial Commission in the UK’s Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT). She previously served as Chief Scientific Adviser to the Scottish Government for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment.

Louise originally graduated from the University of East Anglia with a first-class degree in Environmental Sciences and has a PhD in Hydrochemistry from Bristol University. She was awarded a CBE in 2018 for services to scientific research and scientific advice to government.

Professional positions

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise, Lancaster University

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Organismal biology, evolution and ecology
    • Agricultural and forest science, Soil science
  • Earth and environmental sciences
    • Hydrology
  • Other
    • Science policy


Hydrochemistry, freshwater quality, terrestrial environmental pollution, phosphorus, nitrogen, nutrient cycling, science policy, land use, diffuse pollution

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