Louise is a hydrochemist and Professor of Land and Water Science in the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University. She has a 1st Class Honours BSc in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia and a PhD in wetland hydrochemistry from the University of Bristol. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2015, and is an invited fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. In 2017, she was elected President of the Freshwater Biological Association. Louise is an active scientist with over 160 ISI-listed publications, and has had continuous funding from the research councils, government and government agencies.
Louise is recognised internationally as an authority on diffuse environmental pollution and in particular understanding the pathways of nitrogen and phosphorus loss from agricultural land to water and the implications for freshwater quality. She is credited with advancing the Critical Source Areas concept that forms the cornerstone of many models of diffuse pollution risk that are used widely in policy, for example, the EU Water Framework Directive river basin characterisation process, and Defra's Catchment Sensitive Farming project). At a practical level, her work has been used by The Rivers Trust, and in particular, the Eden Rivers Trust where she was a Director of the Board of Trustees from 2008-12. In the past 5 years, Louise was awarded over £3m total funding for her research from the UK Research Councils. Her applied science expertise in catchment science and water quality management has been funded by Defra and the Environment Agency. Recent research projects include investigating nutrient dynamics in groundwater-fed rivers and developing innovative approaches to reduce catchment microbial pollution.
Louise was appointed Chief Scientific Adviser to the Scottish Government on Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment from 2012-17. She was responsible for ensuring the integration and effective use of evidence in policy ranging from climate change to food security, and from land use and biodiversity to animal health. She was a member of Defra’s Science Advisory Council from 2011-17 and a council member for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) from 2012-17.
As part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Louise was appointed a member of Council of the new NERC Council in April 2018. Louise is also appointed a member of Sub-Panel 7 (Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences) for the REF2021 Research Excellence Framework.