From a young age, I have tried to understand how people and nature interact and started to ask questions about the interdisciplinary nature of landscape formation. I obtained a BSc degree in International Land and Water management from the Wageningen University in the Netherlands. There I learned how standards of living could be raised with durable management of land and water in times of increasing global population and global warming. Through the completion of an MSc in Earth and Environment (Wageningen University), I increased my knowledge of landscape processes on a larger scale, with special attention to soil formation.

I am currently working on my PhD at Loughborough University in the UK. The research focuses on the importance of aeolian processes to biogeochemical cycles, on recently de-glaciated terrain and permafrost affected soils, in West Greenland. Soil formation and aeolian processes are dynamic and vary in space and time. Dust can be a source of nutrients in an environment where hydrological pathways are limited. I have been able to visit my field sites during the spring, summer and fall. Snow, dust and soil samples were collected and analysed on chemical and textural characteristics. A short video abstract was made prior to the European Conference on Permafrost 2018 where I presented some preliminary results (see below).   

Video provided by Maud van Soest

My research links to several scientific fields and is closely related to the work of an interdisciplinary team studying the effects of dust deposition on Arctic lakes. I have been able to write a few blogs about my role in that project ( It is interesting to bring all our disciplines together under one feed of research updates within the same geographical study area. Collaborative projects in the polar regions are becoming more and more common and important with increasing climate change awareness.

I am an active participant in the wider Arctic research community as council member of the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS). In the role of project leader, I was involved in the organisation of the International Polar week (17-23 March 2019) to generate outreach and awareness of Polar topics and research. I would love to continue my career in Arctic science in combination with online and offline education and engagement projects.

If you would like to learn more about my work and research interests, please get in touch.


Twitter: @maj_vanS

Photo provided by Maud van Soest and taken by Keechy Akkerman