Introducing Utibe Utin – SCI Sydney Andrews Scholar 2022

16 November 2022

First piloted in 2021, SCI launched a new Scholarship Scheme, the SCI Sydney Andrew Scholarships, to support 10 PhD students studying subjects in emerging areas of agriculture and the chemical industry.

We are delighted to announce that Utibe Utin, from the University of Aberdeen, has been awarded an SCI Sydney Andrew Scholarship of £3,000 to support his PhD project, “Soil Structure Dynamics and its Interaction with Soil Carbon under Different Management Systems”.

Dr Sydney Andrew, a brilliant industrial chemical engineer who exemplified the SCI mission of encouraging the application of chemical and related sciences for public benefit, died in November 2011. A life member of SCI, Dr Andrew was awarded the Society’s Medal and have a lecture on ‘Neglected Science: a view from industry’. He bequeathed a substantial share of his estate to SCI for the support of scientific innovation on the theme of neglected science. These are areas of science which, though of importance in agriculture and the chemical industry, receive scant attention from academic research, and for academic research into Neglected Science

Utibe Utin, Sydney Andrew Scholar 2022Here Utibe tells us about his work:

'My PhD research at the University of Aberdeen focuses on the exploration of the dynamics of soil structure and its interaction with carbon under different management systems. I am investigating the mechanisms of the temporal dynamics of soil structure-carbon interaction within the growing season as affected by soil management. I am using the soil water retention curves to characterize soil structure. It is however difficult to study soil structural dynamics using the available soil water retention models since they do not account for temporal variation in soil structure. Therefore, I have developed a model that can predict the soil water retention curves and soil structural changes at different time points using macroporosity and bulk density.

'My master’s degree research at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Nigeria was on the evaluation of infiltration models on different soils. This was follow-up research to my bachelor’s degree Project at the University of Uyo, Nigeria, which was equally on infiltration modelling. These previous studies gave me good exposures to soil modelling and formed the foundation of my PhD work.

'The next phase of my PhD work will relate soil structural dynamics under different organic amendments to hydrology and carbon cycling and at various times within a growing season. Apart from the use of soil water retention curves, the structure of the soil will also be analysed using x-ray CT scan. The effect of soil structural dynamics on hydrology and carbon cycling will also be modelled.

'My supervisory team has Prof. Paul Hallett as the lead while Prof. Jo Smith and Dr. Josie Geris are cosupervisors. The team is a diverse team carefully selected to address the multidisciplinary nature of my research, which cuts across soil physics, carbon dynamics/carbon modelling and hydrology/hydrological modelling.'

Utibe Utin
PhD student
University of Aberdeen

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