The Scottish Government has recognised that soils perform many vital functions for the health of the environment and economy. In the last decade, there has been significant research output from several organisations across Scotland, in collaboration with partners in the rest of the UK and further afield. In this review, I highlight recent research focused on soil organic matter in the context of the main external drivers (land management and climate change). This review demonstrates the strengths and successes of the relatively tightly integrated policy-research-regulatory landscape in Scotland. It also highlights the need for more and greater impact through interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research involving soil scientists, social scientists, policymakers and land managers. Evidence is presented that meaningful (rather than incremental) changes to climate change mitigation and adaptation policies and practices are necessary, with a further need for researchers and policymakers to consider both local conditions and global impacts of future climate on the practical implementation of soil-based climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in Scotland. The role of environmental and social scientists through advocacy as well as research is explored and discussed. Keywords: soil databases, peat, climate change, carbon, land management.