Professor Louise Heathwaite CBE FRS

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 position

  • Distinguished Professor, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University
  • Executive Chair, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

Subject groups

  • Organismal biology, evolution and ecology

    Agricultural and forest science, Soil science

  • Earth and environmental sciences


  • Other

    Science policy