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Soil Health Research

Soil Health Research

The overall goal for the Soil Health Institute’s research program is to address strategic, high priority needs of the scientific and stakeholder communities for advancing soil health.  Collaborative public-private research developed under this plan will contribute collectively to enhancing productivity, resilience and environmental quality through soil health.  Results will increase the scientific knowledge base that will allow soil health management practices and systems to be designed and implemented across a wide range of soils, climates, and cropping systems to increase a given soil’s capacity to provide water and withstand drought, suppress diseases, and provide nutrients.  It will expand the role of soils for producing nutritious food and feed, improving water quality, increasing carbon sequestration, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving human and animal health.  Soil health-promoting practices that show promise individually will be evaluated in multiple combinations that may benefit soil health in different and reinforcing ways.  We refer to these as “soil health management systems” that engage several practices simultaneously to enhance soil health while sustaining or enhancing productivity and environmental quality in economically feasible ways that are consistent with other on-farm decisions.

In its entirety, the Institute’s research portfolio is intended to yield analytical methods and standards, production and soil resource management methods, support for decision making, and recommendations that are actionable, beneficial, economically feasible, and acceptable by agricultural producers.

To assist us in our Research effort, the Soil Health Institute requests your help in cataloguing long-term (≥ 10 years) agricultural experiment sites in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Once compiled, this database will be made publicly accessible for building teams and planning agricultural research requiring inter-institutional collaboration on large scales, including soil health. Only a minimal amount of information is requested. Please submit your site’s information at the bottom of this page.

Thank you for helping advance the science of soil health!

Current Positions, Grants, and Opportunities to Promote Soil Health

Chief Scientific Officer

The Soil Health Institute (SHI), a nonprofit organization created to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement, seeks a Chief Scientific Officer (CSO).

The CSO will be responsible for:

  • developing and establishing scientific direction, strategy and implementation for the Institute research programs;
  • leading scientific research and coordinating projects conducted with partnering institutions that advance soil health science and result in useful and reportable outcomes;
  • writing grant proposals and ensuring projects are designed to create tangible, mission-oriented outcomes aligned with the Institute’s strategic Action Plan;
  • negotiating grant awards with institutional grant recipients;
  • coordinating and working with principal investigators to advance research projects;
  • leading multi-disciplinary (i.e., basic, translational, and applied) research;
  • leading and serving as a liaison to assigned Working Committees/Action Teams;
  • establishing and coordinating a Science Advisory Committee;
  • administering measurement standards and coordinating research peer reviews;
  • leading expansion and ensuring relevance of the Soil Health Research Landscape Tool;
  • furthering positive collaboration across the soil health community;
  • and other duties, as assigned.

A Ph.D. in an agricultural science discipline with at least one degree in soil science is required. A Ph.D. in soil science is highly preferred. Experience managing large scale, well-coordinated research efforts is preferred. The position is located at the Soil Health Institute’s office near Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Compensation to be commensurate with experience. To apply, please email a letter of application addressing the experience required and responsibilities of the position, along with a curriculum vitae, copies of all college transcripts, and the names and contact information of four references to Mr. Byron Rath: brath@soilhealthinstitute.org. Please include "Chief Scientific Officer" in the email subject line. First review of applications will begin September 17, 2018. The position will remain open until filled. Applicants must be authorized to work in the United States.

Questions, contact and/or send application materials to:

Paul Tracy, Ph.D.
Project Manager, Soil Health Institute
(208) 315-7000

Long-Term Agricultural Experiments Directory Project





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then email it as an attachment to ptracy@soilhealthinstitute.org.

Our role in support of global soil health

  • Identify gaps in soil health research
  • Under the stewardship of the Institute’s Chief Scientific Officer in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer, External Science Advisers and Partners, soil health leaders collaboratively establish research priorities that will provide the highest science-based benefits to soil health. A primary goal is to ensure rapid economic return on investment so research and promoted practices benefit food and fiber producers, respecting their dedication and commitment to resource conservation and land management as well as their need to sustain their businesses.
  • Construct research road maps
  • Dedicated professionals who lead soil health research believe all stakeholders will benefit if efforts are more integrated and then translated into useful, adoption-ready practices. Researchers realize current soil health roadmaps are jigsaw puzzles with many pieces. They believe all stakeholders will benefit from unbiased, non-competitive coordination of research goals, grants and the robust discussions that build forward-thinking research projects.
  • Rigorous protocol related to submission of research proposals and assessments of outcomes.
  • Researchers want to focus on data-driven studies that truly serve all stakeholders. Researchers also want to standardize rigorous protocols across the research continuum – basic, translational and applied research pathways
  • Global reach and access
  • Researchers believe time is critical. They want the best researchers in the world to collaborate to solve soil’s most pressing soil health issues.
  • Prompt and broad information distribution
  • Knowledge and information generated by these research projects must be promptly and broadly disseminated, and the developments created will be delivered by the Institute and its Partners to all users who need them.

Current Projects

Action Plan

Research Grants

Research Principles

If you’re a researcher who wants to connect with SHI Research Leaders, please connect here.

Access the Soil Health Research Landscape™ tool for scientific research studies and data.