Asim Biswas

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OAC Chair in Soils and Precision Agriculture, Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator
Phone number: 
+1 519 824 4120 Ext. 54249
Alexander Hall, Room 135
Alexander Hall, Rooms 136 & 138

Asim, originally from a small farming family in the remote village of Poragachha in West Bengal, India, developed a deep fascination with soil while working on the farm and witnessing the remarkable transformation of seeds into thriving plants and trees. This curiosity, along with his desire to understand why certain soils yield better plant growth than others, motivated him to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Sciences, specializing in soil science and soil testing.

He obtained his BSc in Agriculture from Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswasvidyalaya in 2004 and went on to earn an MSc in Soil Science from the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, India, in 2006. Asim's dedication to soil research led him to the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, where he pursued further studies and research on soil and its spatial variability. In 2011, he successfully completed his PhD in Soil Physics. Driven by his passion for exploration, Asim accepted a position as an environmental research scientist and post-doctoral fellow at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia. In 2013, he joined McGill University's Department of Natural Resource Sciences as an Assistant Professor, and later in 2016, he moved to the University of Guelph.

Today, Asim is a renowned scientist specializing in data-driven sustainable soil management. He focuses on enhancing the productivity and resilience of land-based agri-food production systems in an environmentally sustainable manner. His work revolves around utilizing scientific data to inform soil management practices, aiming to optimize agricultural outcomes while minimizing negative environmental impacts. Asim's journey from a humble farming background to a leading scientist exemplifies his unwavering dedication to advancing soil science for the betterment of agriculture worldwide.

Meet Prof. Asim Biswas

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Check out Asim's 60 second snapshot video here.

Academic History

Affiliations and Partnerships


  • Member, Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars
  • OAC Chair in Soils and Precision Agriculture, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada
  • Professor, School of Environmental Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada
  • Graduate Program Coordinator, School of Environmental Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada
  • Visiting Professor, Ludong University, China
  • Visiting Professor, Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, China
  • Jinshan Distinguished Scholar Professor (Short Term) School of Environment and Safety Engineering, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, China
  • Past-President, Canadian Society of Soil Science
  • Chair, Soil Physics and Hydrology Division of Soil Science Society of America
  • Chair, Proximal Soil Sensing Working Group of International Union of Soil Science
  • Founder, GHG Registry

Associate Editors

  • Canadian Journal of Soil Science
  • Soil Science Society of America Journal
  • Vadose Zone Journal
  • Scientific Reports
  • Sensors
  • Frontiers in Soil Science
  • Frontiers in Water
  • Water and Soil Management and Modelling

Guelph Editors

  • Geoderma
  • Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
  • Remote Sensing
  • Agricultural Systems
  • Sustainability
  • Sensors
  • Land
  • Applied Science
  • Frontiers in Water
  • Frontiers in Soil Science
  • Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
  • Frontiers in Environmental Science
  • Frontiers in Earth Science
  • Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics
  • Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics


  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
  • Canada Fund for Innovation (CFI)
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
  • Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MOECP)
  • Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU)
  • Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA)
  • Quebec Ontario Cooperation for Agri-Food Research
  • Canadian Horticultural Council
  • SK Ministry of Agriculture
  • SDTC
  • Mitacs

Awards and Honours

  • 2023 Mahima Fellow of Society Award
  • 2022 Jim Beamish Award of Canadian Society of Bioengineering
  • 2021 College of New Scholars of the Royal Society of Canada
  • 2021 Steacie Prize (one of the Top three finalists)
  • 2021 Young Scientist Award of the Canadian Geophysical Union (CGU)
  • 2021 Mahima Innovative Scientist Award of Mahima Research Foundation and Social Welfare, India
  • 2021 International Academic Leader Award of International Research Association
  • 2020 OAC G. P. McRostie Faculty Award for outstanding advising and mentoring, OAC Alumni Foundation
  • 2020 University Research Excellence Award of University of Guelph (UoG)
  • 2018 Young Scholar Award of S6 Division of Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)
  • 2018 Early Career Award of SSSA
  • 2018 Early Researcher Award of Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, Govt. of Ontario
  • 2018 Water Young Investigator Award from ‘Water’ journal
  • 2016 The Soil Physics & Hydrology Early Career Award of SSSA
  • 2012 Donald L. Turcotte Award of American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • 2012 Kirkham Travel Award of SSSA
  • 2012 Best Ph.D. Thesis Award of University of Saskatchewan
  • 2012 Australian Academy of Science Young Scientist Travel Award
  • 2012 Third Best Poster Award at the Annual Meetings of SSSA
  • 2011 Outstanding Graduate Student Award of Division S06 of SSSA for best thesis research work
  • 2011 Best Overall Student Paper Award of CGU
  • 2011 Best Poster Award of Div. S01 at the Annual Meetings of SSSA
  • 2011 SSSA Travel Award
  • 2011 CGU Student Travel Award
  • 2010 Bentley Award of CSSS
  • 2010 Best Poster Award at the Annual Meetings of SSSA
  • 2010 Best Poster Award of the ASA-CSSS-SSSA (Minority Student Poster Contest)
  • 2009, 2010 College of Graduate Studies & Research (CGSR) Student Travel Award for Int. Conference
  • 2009 CSSS Travel Award
  • 2009 CGSR Student Travel Award National Conference
  • 2006 Gold Medal in M.Sc. (Ag.) program at University of Agricultural Sciences, India

Research Impact

Dr. Biswas’s research focuses on revolutionizing soil management practices through the application of data-driven approaches, with the aim of enhancing agricultural productivity while ensuring environmental sustainability. By providing growers with accurate and cost-effective methods for measuring soil properties, Dr. Biswas enables them to make informed decisions that optimize the use of natural resources. To address the challenges faced by farmers and stakeholders in the agri-food system, Dr. Biswas collaborates with a diverse range of partners to generate innovative knowledge and technology. Traditional soil testing methods are often labor-intensive and expensive, limiting their widespread adoption. To overcome this, Dr. Biswas have pioneered new on-farm soil data collection approaches. By combining soil sensor data with other on-farm measurements, such as topography, satellite imagery, and yield data, Dr. Biswas has developed accessible sensors, algorithms, and methods that accurately map soil characteristics and variability on a fine scale. This precision empowers farmers to optimize the application of fertilizers and other inputs, resulting in more efficient resource usage and improved productivity. Moreover, precise soil management enables the adoption of innovative farm equipment and robotics, leading to cost and labor savings. Dr. Biswas draws insights from a wide range of disciplines, including oceanography, climatology, meteorology, geography, engineering, artificial intelligence, and mathematics. By integrating knowledge and techniques from these fields, Dr. Biswas drives advancements in soil data collection, paving the way for sustainable and efficient farming practices. Through his research, Dr. Biswas strives to contribute to a more productive and resilient agri-food system that can effectively address the challenges posed by population growth, urbanization, climate change, and limited resources. Dr. Biswas is a global leader in the development of data-driven technological solutions for sustainable soil management. This recognition is evident through the number of invited talks, the impact of publications, and the overall scientific and leadership contributions.

Current Research Projects

  • Integrated digital soil sensing and mapping for sustainable soil management (NSERC Discovery)
  • Integrated soil sensing and digital soil mapping for precision agriculture services in Ontario (Ministry of Colleges and Universities)
  • Enhancing Ontario’s Grain Production Through Smart Farming Techniques (Food From Thought)
  • Enhancement of Canadian Potato Industry through Smart farming (Canadian Horticultural Council)
  • Land conversion impacts on soil and water dynamics in the Highway 11 corridor (OMAFRA)
  • An integrated socio-economic and biophysical framework for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions under agricultural water management systems in Eastern Canada (AAFC)
  • A decision support tool for evaluating BMPs that reduce Greenhouse Gas (N2O) emission and improve water quality under Changing Climate (OMAFRA)
  • Predictive digital soil mapping for Ontario soil map renewal (OMAFRA)
  • Digital Soil Mapping of Lake Erie Basin, Ontario (OMAFRA)
  • Ontario Soil Information System (OSIS): Digital Soil Mapping of Ontario Soils at 100-m resolution (SoilGrid100) (OMAFRA)
  • Spatially distributed soil health evolution under changing climate conditions in Québec and Ontario (Ontario-Quebec)
  • Development of Interactive Table-Top Tools and Digital-Products to Illustrate the Principles of Water Movement and Soil Function in Natural/Tile Drained Lands (OMAFRA)
  • Integrated soil sensing and mapping for optimized management of land Resources (CFI)
  • Effect of land conversion on soil carbon and nutrient dynamics in the Great Clay Belt of Northern Ontario: A digital soil mapping approach (OMAFRA)
  • Delineation of Soil Drainage by Electromagnetic Induction (OMAFRA)
  • Continued Enhancement of Soil Health Knowledge with the Ontario Topsoil Sampling Program (OMAFRA)
  • Scaling-up precision agronomic management practices to enhance Ontario’s grain production (Food From Thought)
  • The Canadian Prairie soil spectral library (CPSSL): Towards long-term sustainable soil management (ADF)
  • Handheld spectroradiometer system for in-situ and ex-situ characterization of soil, plant, and geological materials and ground truthing remote sensing images (RTI)
  • Quantifying Ephemeral Gully Erosion in Lake Erie Basin using Field Experimentation and Modeling (OMAFRA)

Graduate Student Information

To Asim, training HQPs is the most important and fulfilling aspect of being an academic, aside from research itself. His philosophy is simple and is operationalized by five pillars; a) interdisciplinary teaching to provide a board knowledge base, b) state-of-the-art training that complements HQPs qualifications and skills, c) professional skills development (e.g. social perceptiveness, critical thinking, project management, knowledge mobilization, teamwork) that ensure HQPs readiness for the real world, and d) mentorship and collaboration with peers, leading researchers and industry professionals to enhance exposure in the real world. However, these pillars are built on e) gender equity, equality, diversification, and inclusion as the guiding principles as he looks for novel ways to attract a diverse pool of HQPs. This is fundamental to all aspects of his research and training including recruitment, committee (advisory & examination) formation, training environment development and support for HQP growth and development.

HQPs are Asim’s research program. There are always positions available. Please contact with a detailed CV and a motivation letter. Information driven sustainable soil management requires expertise of various fields including soil science, agronomy, hydrology, agricultural engineering, computer and data science, information technology, sensors, and many others. So, please do not hesitate to contact Asim for opportunities.

Featured publications

  • Gobezie, T.B. and Biswas, A.† (2023) Breaking the barriers in soil data stewardship by rewarding data generators. Nature Reviews Earth and Environment, 4:353-354
  • Fathololoumi, S., Firozjaei, M.K., and Biswas, A.† (2022) Improving spatial resolution of satellite soil water index (SWI) maps under clear-sky conditions using a machine learning approach. Journal of Hydrology 615, 128709.
  • Zeitoun, R., Adamchuk, V.I, and Biswas, A. (2022) A Novel Paper-Based Reagentless Dual Functional Soil Test to Instantly Detect Phosphate Infield 22, 8803
  • Saurette, D., Heck, R., Gillespie, A., Berg, A., and Biswas, A.† (2022) cLHS-size: a technique to quickly determine minimum sample size for the cLHS algorithm. Pedosphere
  • Gobezie, T.B. and Biswas, A.† (2022) The need for streamlining precision agriculture data in Africa. Precision Agriculture

For a detailed list, check out Dr. Biswas' Google scholar profile.

Area of Research

Earth and Atmospheric Sciences