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Professor Steve McGrath has been elected a fellow of the Royal Society, the oldest and most prestigious scientific academy in the UK.

Steve is a discovery leader in the Sustainable Soils and Crops strategic area at Rothamsted Research. He has pioneered interdisciplinary research that has significantly advanced our understanding of the bioavailability of trace elements, and their biological impacts in agriculture, the environment, food safety and human health. His work has bridged the fields of biogeochemistry, environmental science, soil science, soil microbiology, plant and crop science, resulting in groundbreaking discoveries and led to innovative solutions to some of the urgent problems facing farming and human nutrition. 

His research on arsenic mobility in paddy soils revealed the uptake and detoxification mechanisms in plants and provided valuable insights for breeding rice with lower arsenic accumulation. He has also studied metal hyperaccumulation in plants which created new opportunities for phytoremediation of contaminated soils and has explored micronutrient deficiencies in crops which help highlight the global issue of hidden hunger and led to improved biofortification of soils and crops. 

Steve was elected as a fellow of the International Society for Selenium Research, a fellow of the Institute of Soil Science, and he is an honorary member of the International Society of Trace Element Biogeochemistry. He is recognised as a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate.


Prof. Steve McGrath

Soil and Plant Scientist


Rothamsted Research is the longest-running agricultural research institute in the world. We work from gene to field with a proud history of ground-breaking discoveries in areas as diverse as crop management, statistical interpretation and soil health. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative approach to developing innovative farm practice.
Through independent research, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally, with economic impact estimated to exceed £3 bn in annual contribution to the UK economy. Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines strategic research, interdisciplinary teams and multiple partnerships.
Rothamsted is home to three unique National Bioscience Research Infrastructures which are open to researchers from all over the world: The Long-Term Experiments, Rothamsted Insect Survey and the North Wyke Farm Platform.
We are strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with additional support from other national and international funding streams, and from industry. We are also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT).


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests to push back the frontiers of biology and deliver a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future. Through our investments, we build and support a vibrant, dynamic and inclusive community which delivers ground-breaking discoveries and develops bio-based solutions that contribute to tackling global challenges, such as sustainable food production, climate change, and healthy ageing.
As part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), we not only play a pivotal role in fostering connections that enable the UK’s world-class research and innovation system to flourish – we also have a responsibility to enable the creation of a research culture that is diverse, resilient, and engaged.
BBSRC proudly forges interdisciplinary collaborations where excellent bioscience has a fundamental role. We pioneer approaches that enhance the equality, diversity, and inclusion of talent by investing in people, infrastructure, technologies, and partnerships on a global scale.


The Lawes Agricultural Trust, established in 1889 by Sir John Bennet Lawes, supports Rothamsted Research’s national and international agricultural science through the provision of land, facilities and funding. LAT, a charitable trust, owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom's Barn, including many of the buildings used by Rothamsted Research. LAT provides an annual research grant to the Director, accommodation for nearly 200 people, and support for fellowships for young scientists from developing countries. LAT also makes capital grants to help modernise facilities at Rothamsted, or invests in new buildings.