Professor Lorna Dawson
Professor Lorna Dawson is a Principal Soil Scientist in the Environmental and Biochemical Sciences group at the James Hutton Institute, and has over 30 years’ experience in managing and conducting research in soil and plant interactions, in particular its application in the criminal justice system. She was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in June 2018.
Lorna is Head of the Soil Forensics Group at the Hutton Institute, honorary professor in Forensic Science at Robert Gordon University, and is SEFARI Advisor on the Scottish Government‘s (RESAS) strategic research programme 2016-2021, where she reports to the Directors' Executive Committee to ensure effective delivery of the Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Programme. She is the SEFARI Gateway Knowledge Exchange Lead for Environment. She is affiliated to Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, contributing to Forensic Science lecture courses and also lectures at the universities of Aberdeen, Strathclyde and Edinburgh. She has supervised over 20 PhD projects and has published over 100 refereed journal papers, books and book chapters, and regularly presents at national and international conferences. Professor Dawson was awarded a Special Recognition award at the Pride of Britain 2017 awards ceremony.
Lorna developed the application of soil organo-mineral markers in forensic investigations and was Principal Investigator on a research project funded by the EPSRC (SoilFit), developing tools for soil characterisation in forensics and an aligned KE project (GIMI). This work involved collaboration with various forensic experts in the National Policing Improvement Agency, the Forensic Science Service, and various police laboratories and forces. She was Lead PI on a FW7 European grant (MiSAFE) developing and testing microbial tools for use in case work. She is treasurer of an international Geoforensics network (IUGS Initiative on Forensic Geology-IFG) and a member of the ENFSI (European Network of Forensic Science Institutes) Animals, Plants, Soils Traces (APST) working group and a member of the Technical Committee of the University of Messina, Rome, teaching on the Masters in Forensic Geology course. She coordinated sessions at the International Crime Science Meetings, London, 2007-2009 and organised major conferences on environmental and criminal soil forensics in 2007 and 2010 and the International Network of Environmental Forensics, and has co-organised major international conferences in 2007 (Edinburgh), 2010 (California) 2012 (The Hague) and 2016 (London).