Dave Reay

Dave Reay

Dave Reay, University of Edinburgh


Dave Reay, University of Edinburgh

Dave Reay

Prof Dave Reay, FRSGS, SFHEA, FEAUC, PhD

Chair in Carbon Management & Education, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh

E-mail: David.Reay[at]ed.ac.uk


Current internal roles:

Executive Director at Edinburgh Climate Change Institute

Policy Director at ClimateXChange



Current external roles:

Co-Chair, Just Transition Commission

Climate Change Plan Advisory Group, Scottish Government

NSET Skilled Workforce Programme Board, Scottish Government



Climate-smart Food – Open Access book (published by Palgrave)


Online Masters in Carbon Management

The Online MSc in Carbon Management at the University of Edinburgh



Teaching on the MSc Carbon Management


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Climate Solutions: UK (English)

Climate Solutions: Malawi (English)

Climate Solutions: India (English)

Climate Solutions: India (Hindi)

Climate Solutions: Egypt (English)

Climate Solutions: Egypt (Arabic)

Climate Solutions: UAE (English)


Nitrogen: A Global Challenge (English)

Nitrogen Management Essentials (English)

The Nitrogen Challenge from a Social Science Perspective  (English)

Nitrogen: A Global Challenge (Chinese)

Nitrogen: A Global Challenge (Hungarian)

Nitrogen: A Global Challenge (Hindi)

Nitrogen: A Global Challenge (Nepalese)

Nitrogen: A Global Challenge (Sinhalese)

Nitrogen: A Global Challenge (Urdu)

Nitrogen: A Global Challenge (Dari)

Nitrogen: A Global Challenge (Bengali)

Nitrogen: A Global Challenge (Dhivehi)

Nitrogen: A Global Challenge (Bhutan)



Climate-Smart Food – Palgrave Open Access.

Nitrogen and Climate Change – Palgrave (Wonderstuff, lecture at University of Edinburgh and Wonderstuff, TEDx talk)

Methane and Climate Change – Earthscan

Your Planet Needs You! A Kid’s Guide to Going Green Macmillan Children’s Books.

Climate Change Begins at Home – Life on the Two-way Street of Global Warming. Published by Macmillan. (Translated into Japanese and Korean. Shortlisted for Times Higher Young Academic Author of the Year).

Greenhouse Gas Sinks Reay, Hewitt, Smith and Grace (Eds). CABI Publishing.


MSc programme

MSc in Carbon Management

: Winner, ‘Best Feedback in Business School’, EUSA teaching awards 2013.

: Winner, ‘PwC Teaching Employable Skills Award’, EUSA teaching awards 2010.


Dave Reay is Professor of Carbon Management & Education at the University of Edinburgh. He directs the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI), is policy director for Scotland’s Centre of Expertise on Climate Change (ClimateXChange) and is an advisor on climate change action for the Scottish and UK Governments. Dave’s latest project involves managing his small farm on the west coast of Scotland to regrow native tree species and trap a lifetime’s carbon.

Dave studied Marine
Biology at Liverpool University and graduated in 1994. He went
on to gain a PhD with the British Antarctic Survey and Essex University studying the response of
Southern Ocean algae and bacteria to global warming. After
gaining his doctorate he continued working as a post-doc at Essex,
investigating the impact of land-use on the soil methane sink.
In 2001 he moved to Edinburgh University to investigate emissions
of the greenhouse gas ‘nitrous oxide’ from agriculture, then carbon fluxes in forests, and went on to become a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Fellow examining greenhouse gas emissions from wetlands and agriculture. In 2008 Dave became the university’s first lecturer in carbon management and became a senior lecturer in 2009, a Reader in 2013, and was appointed Chair in Carbon Management & Education in 2014. Dave became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2015, a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in 2021, and a Fellow of the EAUC in 2022.

He is designer and editor
of the climate change science website Greenhouse Gas Online and of the Southern
Ocean: Antarctic Seas and Wildlife website
. He enjoys running (on an annual basis), Test Match Special, and
writing stories for his daughters.

Research Interests

  • Climate change mitigation in agriculture and food systems
  • Climate change skills and education
  • Greenhouse gas sinks and interactions
  • Climate change impacts and mitigation through individual action
  • Nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture (IPCC input: revision of EF5) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories)
  • Methane oxidation and production in soils
  • Communicating climate change to the public
  • Microbial ecology, incl. that of methanotrophs, methanogens, nitrifiers and denitrifiers
  • Diffuse water pollution
  • Land use impacts on greenhouse gas fluxes
  • Climate change impacts on land use and adaptation strategies
  • Carbon dioxide emission from soils and biomass
  • Global methane budgets
  • Temperature dependence of microbial activity and nutrient uptake

Research Groups

Global Change

Centre for Science Education

Centre for Distance Education

Geography and the Lived Environment

Centre for Sustainable Forests &  Landscapes

Centre for Business, Climate Change & Sustainability

Other Roles and Activities past and present

  • Green Jobs Taskforce, UK Government
  • Chair, Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan (CESAP) Implementation Steering Group, Scottish Government
  • Chair, Workforce & Skills Advisory Group, UK Climate Change Committee
  • Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan (CESAP) Expert Group, Skills Development Scotland
  • Academic Advisor on Rural Policy and Climate Change, Scottish Government
  • Fellow, EAUC
  • Local Capacity and Capability sub-group, Green Jobs Delivery Group, UK Government
  • Sustainable Renewal Advisory Group, Scottish Government
  • Cross-Party Group on Climate Change, Scottish Parliament
  • Sustainability & Climate Change Working Group, UK Department for Education
  • UK Universities Climate Network Steering Group (Education & Skills)
  • Edinburgh Climate Commission
  • Scotland’s Climate Assembly
  • ‘Farming 1.5’ Inquiry
  • EarthShot Prize Nominator (2020-23)
  • Climate Emergency Response Group (CERG)
  • Scottish Water Net Zero Advisory Panel
  • NFUS Climate Change Advisory Panel
  • Cairngorms National Park Heritage Horizons Advisory Group
  • South of Scotland Net Zero Commission
  • Climate Change Educational Partnership, STEM Learning
  • Sustainable Futures Advisory Group, WWF
  • University of Edinburgh PI: GCRF South Asia Nitrogen Hub (SANH) 
  • NERC Peer Reviewer
  • Co-chair, Working Group on Climate and Sustainability in Curricula, University of Edinburgh
  • Steering Group and head of delegation, University of Edinburgh, COP26
  • Short-life Working Group on Embedding Climate and Sustainability in Curricula, University of Edinburgh
  • Renewable Energy & Low Carbon (RELCO) steering group, University of Edinburgh
  • UNA Europa
  • Carbon Sequestration Programme Board, University of Edinburgh
  • Carbon Sequestration Learning, teaching and research sub-group, University of Edinburgh
  • Net Zero Steering Group, University of Edinburgh
  • Exam Board Chair, Global Health Challenges, University of Edinburgh
  • Programme director of the online MSc in Carbon Management at University of Edinburgh (2014-2019)
  • Assistant Principal, University of Edinburgh (2014-17)
  • Programme director of the on campus MSc in Carbon Management at University of Edinburgh (2008-2015)
  • Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • Principal Investigator, ClimateXChange (2019-2023)
  • Zero Waste Scotland Decoupling Advisory Group
  • Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge Jury
  • Reviewer for the journals Nature, Nature Geoscience, Nature Climate Change, Nature Reports Climate Change, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Atmospheric Environment, Global Change Biology, FEMS Microbiology Letters, Environmental Research Letters, Plant and Soil, Environmental Science and Technology, PLoS, Climate Research, Global Environmental Change, Journal of Environmental Quality, Water, Air and Soil Pollution
  • EPIS academic mentor
  • External reviewer for DEFRA, the Natural Environment Research Council, the Royal Society, the National Science Foundation, the British Council, the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Economic and Social Research Council
  • Expert witness, House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee
  • Reviewer and columnist for the Times Higher Education Supplement
  • Expert witness, Scottish Parliament TICC, ECCLR, NZET etc committees
  • Expert reviewer, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (AR6, AR5, SR1.5, AR4, SRLCC, Emission Inventories)
  • Expert reviewer, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP, N2O)
  • External examiner, University of Oxford (2014-17)
  • External examiner, University of Aberdeen (2011-14)
  • Climate change consultant for Learning and Teaching Scotland
  • Climate change consultant for the Life Centre, Newcastle, UK
  • Author for the Encyclopedia of Earth, National Council for Science and the Environment
  • Reviewer for CABI Publishing
  • Reviewer for Earthscan Publishing
  • External reviewer, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Advisor, ‘Reducing Scottish greenhouse gas emissions’. Audit Scotland.
  • Advisory committee, British Council Scotland (2008-2014)
  • Member of the British Council
  • Member of the Forum on Science and Technology for Sustainability
  • Member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Lead author, European Nitrogen Assessment
  • Editorial board, Carbon Management
  • Editorial board, Atmosphere (2017-19)
  • Editorial board, Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems

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