Professional summary

Research Interests

The work of Prof. Sutton focuses on ammonia and the wider nitrogen cycle, linking a wide range of disciplines from micrometeorology and atmospheric chemistry to plant ecology and policy analysis.  The largest aspect of the work has concerned the measurement of ammonia biosphere-atmosphere exchange with terrestrial ecosystems, resulting in new conceptual and quantitative models.  Prof. Sutton has developed a suite of tools to quantify the impacts of ammonia over the UK for Defra and other government organisations, including the ‘FRAME’, ‘SCAIL’ and ‘EMEP4UK’ models, and the National Ammonia Monitoring Network.


Prof. Sutton has led a series of key national and international collaborative projects on ammonia.  In the 1990s he was the coordinator of the European Commission projects: EXAMINE (EXchange of AMmonia IN European ecosystems) and GRAMINAE (GRassland AMmonia INteractions Across Europe).  His involvement in the latter led to him being appointed Executive Secretary of the European Commission “Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Initiative (TERI)”.  


Prof. Sutton subsequently on developing the links between ammonia and other nitrogen compounds in the environment.  He coordinated the LANAS (Landscape Analysis of Nitrogen and Abatement Strategies) project of the NERC GANE programme and coordinated the NitroEurope Integrated Project, 2006-2011 (€28M, 64 partner institutes) addressing the net effect of nitrogen on the European greenhouse gas balance. In developing the European platform established by NitroEurope, Prof Sutton led the first European Nitrogen Assessment, under the European Science Foundation NinE (Nitrogen in Europe), published by Cambridge University Press in 2011.


He is a co-chair of the Task Force on Reactive Nitrogen (TFRN), a body of the UN-ECE Geneva Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution. His work in these areas has included preparing options for revision of the UNECE Gothenburg Protocol and developing a vision of how the global nitrogen challenge can be communicated to society. This includes mobilizing the economic analysis of nitrogen benefits and threats.  


He has served as chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) for 2012-2018.  Since 2012 Prof Sutton has been working with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This led to his leadership of the Global Overview on Nutrient Management for UNEP ‘Our Nutrient World’ (2013) and his spear-hearding of the GEF/UNEP ‘International Nitrogen Management System’ as a developing mechanism of science support for the the emerging ‘nitrogen policy arena’. This is a $60M global effort supported with $6M of catalytic funding through the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Through INMS he is leading preparation of a range of science and policy outcomes, including UN guidance on sustainable nitrogen management and the International Nitrogen Assessment. 


Since 2019 Prof, Sutton has been Director of the GCRF South Asian Nitrogen Hub, funded by £17M (40 partner institutes) through the Global Challenges Research Fund of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).  This is working in partnership with the South Asian Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) to develop the community of South Asian scientists and policy makers as global champions for nitrogen. This has been reflected in the 2019 'Colombo Declaration' (agreed by 14 UN member states) and the first ever resolutions on Sustainable Nitrogen Management adopted by the UN Environment Assembly, firstly as submitted under the leadership of India (UNEP/EA.4/Res.14) and most recently under the leadership of Sri Lanka (UNEP/EA.5/Res.2) in close partnership with Prof. Sutton and the INMS and SANH communities. 



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Brief CV

Career Details

2011-present           Honorary Professor, University of Edinburgh, School of Geosciences.

1992-present           (Natural Environment Research Council) Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (formerly Institute of Terrestrial Ecology), Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 0QB.

2011-present           Individual Merit Promotion (IMP, Band 2). 

2004-2011               Individual Merit Promotion (IMP, Band 3).

2003-2007               Head CEH Atmospheric Sciences Division

1998-2004               Principal Scientific Officer (Grade 7 / Band 4).

1994-1998               Senior Scientific Officer (Band 5)

Jun 1994-Feb 1995 Secondment to Department of the Environment, London: Development of research programme and policy analysis on air pollution.

1992-1994               Higher Scientific Officer (Band 6).                                           

1991-92                   Research Fellow.  Dept. Meteorology, University of Edinburgh.

1990-91                   Research Associate.  Dept. Meteorology, University of Edinburgh.

1986                        Freelance literature research into environmental acidification.  International Energy Agency (Coal Research) London.



Summary Qualifications 

1986    A.R.C.S. (Botany, Imperial College);  B.Sc. (Botany, University of London)

1990    PhD. University of Edinburgh

            Title: The surface/ atmosphere exchange of ammonia

1992    Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society

Panels, committees and memberships

2021-2022            Government of Sri Lanka delegation to Glasgow Climate Conference (COP26) and 5th UN Environment Assembly (UNEA5.2). Member.

2020-present        Nutrient Management Expert Group (NMEG), established by UK Government. Member.

2019-present        UKRI GCRF South Asian Nitrogen Hub (SANH). Hub Director and Chair of the Executive Board.

2018-present        UN Environment: Committee of Permanent Representatives. Member, representing UKCEH and INMS.

2017-present        UN Environment: Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM).  Vice Chair.

2014-present        European Nitrogen Expert Panel. Member.

2014-2016            Foresight Expert Panel on the Junction of Health, Environment and Bioeconomy (JHEB) of the European Commission (DGRI).  Expert Panel Member.

2012-2018            International Nitrogen Initiative, INI (a joint activity of SCOPE and IGPB). Chair.

2012-2017            Global Partnership on Nutrient Management, GPNM (a network coordinated by UNEP). Steering Group Member.  

2011-2016            ÉCLAIRE (EU 7th Framework Programme). Project Coordinator and Chair of the Executive Steering Group.

2007-present        Task Force on Reactive Nitrogen, TFRN (UNECE Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution). Co-chair.

2010-2013            COST 0804 (ABBA: Advancing the integrated monitoring of trace gas exchange between biosphere and atmosphere). National representative to the Management Committee.

2007-2013            Finnish Academy of Sciences 'Centre of Excellence in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Meteorology of Atmospheric Composition and Climate Change'. Member of the Advisory Board.

2007-2012            International Nitrogen Initiative (INI).  Coordinator of the European Centre and member of the INI Steering Committee.

2006-2011            Nitrogen in Europe, NinE (ESF Framework Programme).  Vice Chair of the Steering Committee and coordinator of the European Nitrogen Assessment (ENA).

2006-2011            COST 729 (Atmosphere biosphere interactions of nitrogen).  National representative to the Management Committee.

2005-2011            NitroEurope Integrated Project (EU 6th Framework Programme). Project Coordinator and Chairman of the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC).


(see attachment)


Web tools and apps

Example videos and other web links


VIDEO LINK:  A message from the European Nitrogen Assessment (2011)


1-minute message of Mark Sutton to the Our Oceans Conference (2018)

See UKCEH Web Story


Launch of the UN Global Campaign on Sustainable Nitrogen Management, Colombo, October 2019.

Introduction to the Nitrogen Song - Mark Sutton



The Nitrogen Song - INMS, co-produced with Double Grammy winner Ricky Kej for the launch of the UN Global Campaign on Sustainable Nitrogen Management



Premier of RIcky Kej Nitrogen Song, Colombo for the launch of the UN Global Campaign on Sustainable Nitrogen Management, UN Day 2019. 


Interview between Mark Sutton and Joyce Msuya, former Acting Executive Director of UNEP

See UNEP Web Story



South Asian Nitrogen Hub - YouTube channel 




VIDEO LINKS:  Rediscovering Nitrogen Event (COP26 Glasgow, 2021)


Twitter video for COP26 Rediscovering Nitrogen event: Daniel Rutherford...