Dr Kate Schofield

Dr Kate Schofield

Senior Research Fellow (ReCon Soil)

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)



Dr Kate Schofield is a biogeochemist specialising in the application of biogeochemistry to improve our understanding of environmental dynamics.

Kate's current research focus is on the development of healthy and sustainable manufactured soils using waste materials. She leads research on the EU-funded ReCon Soil project (April 2021 to June 2023) and previously on the EU-funded FabSoil project (part of the wider AgriTech Cornwall programme).

Kate was recently awarded a NERC discipline-hopping fellowship to develop skills in molecular microbiology for application to soil health assessment. 

Kate has also worked in industry-based research conducting environmental fate and ecotoxicology studies at Unilever and Angus International Safety Group.



2021 - Present    Associate Lecturer - University of Plymouth

2019 - Present   Post-Doctoral Research Fellow - University of Plymouth

2017 - 2019      Visiting Research Fellow - Manchester Metropolitan University

2017 - 2019      Environmental Scientist - Angus International Safety Group

2016 - 2017      Environmental Scientist: Ecotoxicology - Unilever, Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre

2015 - 2016      Post-Doctoral Research Fellow - University of Plymouth


2011- 2015 PhD - Environmental Science - University of Plymouth.

  •  Thesis title: A biogeochemical study of nutrient dynamics in artificial soil.

2008 - 2011 BSc(hons) First Class - Environmental Science - University of Reading

Professional membership

MRSC - Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry

FRGS - Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

Roles on external bodies

RSC Agriculture Sector Group - Secretary



Teaching interests

BSc Chemistry

  • CHM1019  Organic Chemistry 2 (Workshops and tutorial series)
  • CHM3015  Advanced Organic Chemistry (Workshops, tutorials and laboratory practicals)

BSc Environmental Science and BSc Sustainable Environmental Management 

  • ENVS2002  Environmental Expedition (Field week)
  • ENVM2002  Environmental Management and Sustainability in Practice (Field week)

MSc courses in Environmental Geochemistry, Sustainable Environmental Management and Environmental Consultancy

  • ENVS5002  Investigation and assessment of the contaminated environment (Lectures)

MSc Applied Marine Sciences

  • MAR513    Research Skills and Methods (Field work onboard Falcon Spirit research vessel)

BSc Geography

  • GGX1205  Geographical Journeys (Field trip) 



Research interests

My research interests focus on the use of analytical techniques for the examination of biogeochemical processes within natural and human-influenced environments.

My specific research areas are:

  • Soil health assessment.
  • The reconstruction of soils from waste materials.
  • Development of non-invasive techniques to monitor soil health.
  • Biogeochemical processes within natural and anthropogenically-influenced environments.
  • Nutrient dynamics and concentrations across environmental matrices.
  • Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).
  • The environmental fate and toxicity of industrial and consumer chemicals (e.g. PFAS, UV-filters, surfactants).
  • The development of environmental risk assessment methodologies.



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Khan Z, Rahman MHU, Haider G, Amir R, Ikram RM, Ahmad S, Schofield HK, Riaz B, Iqbal R & Fahad S (2021) 'Chemical and Biological Enhancement Effects of Biochar on Wheat Growth and Yield under Arid Field Conditions' Sustainability 13, (11) 5890-5890 , DOI Open access
Schofield HK, Megson DP, Da Costa J, Richardson LA, Shelbourne K & Payne J (2021) 'Fluorosurfactant retention in the foam blanket during gravitational drainage of an aqueous film-forming foam' Colloid and Interface Science Communications 42, 0-0 , DOI Open access
Rehman RA, Qayyum MF, Haider G, Schofield K, Abid M, Rizwan M & Ali S (2021) 'The Sewage Sludge Biochar and Its Composts Influence the Phosphate Sorption in an Alkaline–Calcareous Soil' Sustainability 13, (4) 1779-1779 , DOI Open access
Goddard R, Gardner MJ, Hutchinson TH, Lunt P, Pearson HBC, Tappin A, Schofield HK, Attfield T, Worsfold P & Comber S (2020) 'Physico-chemical factors controlling the speciation of phosphorus in English and Welsh rivers' Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts , DOI Open access
Schofield HK, Pettitt TR, Tappin AD, Rollinson GK & Fitzsimons MF (2019) 'Biochar incorporation increased nitrogen and carbon retention in a waste-derived soil' Science of the Total Environment , DOI Open access
Schofield HK, Tappin A & Fitzsimons MF (2017) 'Does carbon limitation reduce nitrogen retention in soil?' Environmental Chemistry Letters , DOI Open access
Salih M, Mytilinaios I, Schofield HK & Lambert RJW (2012) 'Modelling of bacterial growth with shifts in temperature using automated methods with Listeria monocytogenes and Pseudomonas aeruginosa as examples' International Journal of Food Microbiology 155, (1-2) 29-35 , DOI Open access
Mytilinaios I, Salih M, Schofield HK & Lambert RJW (2012) 'Growth curve prediction from optical density data' International Journal of Food Microbiology 154, (3) 169-176 , DOI Open access