Professor Steven Banwart

External partner

Partner/Co-Investigator, University of Leeds

A photo of Steven Banwart
Profile picture of A photo of Steven Banwart

Professor Steve Banwart is an international leader in the study of reactive processes in soil and groundwater. He champions integrating research into Earth’s Critical Zone, the surface layer of the planet from bedrock to atmospheric boundary layer that provides humans with most of their life-sustaining resources. He holds the Leadership Chair in Integrated Soil / Agriculture / Water Research at University of Leeds and is Director of the Global Food and Environment Institute and is a Co-Investigator of the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation (LC3M).

Steve's core science is basic chemistry that is also applied to the study of soil systems and natural waters. His achievements include combining laboratory experimentation, theoretical mathematical modelling, and data from field studies in order to describe water flow and transport and mechanism of transformations that quantify:

  • Weathering of rock and minerals to deliver solutes to drainage waters in catchments and river basins including dissolved carbon dioxide and the release of metals contamination from contaminated soil and mining sites
  • Soil functions that produce crops, store and filter infiltrating water, transform nutrients, store carbon and nitrogen from the atmosphere as organic matter, provide habitat and sustain biodiversity
  • The occurrence and transfer of antimicrobial compounds as selective agents, antibiotic genes and zoonotic pathogens within and between gut and environmental reservoirs
  • Role of the geological barrier to contain civilian high level nuclear waste within underground repositories constructed in bedrock
  • Biogeochemistry and natural biodegradation of hydrocarbon pollution in soil and groundwater aquifers

Prof Banwart has secured £50million in research grants since 1995, with over £13million attributable as Principal Investigator. He chaired the SCOPE international Rapid Assessment Process project on Benefits of Soil Carbon, was principal investigator of the European Commission FP7 Large Integrating Project Soil Transformations in European Catchments (SoilTrEC) and was PI of the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Large Grant on Biological Weathering from Molecular- to Ecosystem- scale.