Our People

The NZAGRC is staffed by a dedicated and enthusiastic team.

The NZAGRC Director, Operations Manager, Project Analyst, International Capability and Training Coordinator, and Administrator are employed by AgResearch on behalf of the NZAGRC, and are based in Palmerston North. The Deputy Director (International) and Operations Manager (International), also employed by AgResearch, are based in Wellington.  Read more about the NZAGRC staff

The NZAGRC team includes more than 50 highly motivated scientists and technical staff delivering high quality science. This team is led by 7 experts in their field providing science leadership and advice to the NZAGRC. Read more about the NZAGRC SLT 

The NZAGRC receives direction from its Steering Group who met quarterly and oversee the NZAGRC's performance against its strategic plan. Read more about the NZAGRC SG 

The NZAGRC receives expert advice on the relevance and quality of its research programme for the international and Maori communities. See more about our advisors page for more information.

Below are some profiles of Our People and the work they do. 

Principal Investigator - Dr Cecile de Klein

Cecile’s Journey from the Sports Field to the Kiwi Farm Paddock

Dr Cecile De Klein was captain of the Dutch women’s rugby team in the 1991 Women’s World Cup.

Away from the sports field, her career path led her to become an internationally-recognised expert on nitrous oxide emissions from soils, and co-leader of the NZAGRC’s Plant and Greenhouse Gases research programme. As a Principal Investigator for the NZGRC programme she is involved with measuring the effects of pasture plants and pasture plant communities on those emissions.

She says “the research is showing that there is no easy answer to the nitrous oxide challenge. There is no silver bullet that can help us meet the multiple, often contrasting, economic social and environmental goals. A multi-pronged approach is required and collaboration/co-development with all stakeholders is critical. Work through NzOnet has also highlighted the value of collaboration with MPI and across science providers.”

Born and educated in The Netherlands, Cecile’s academic interest was initially in biology at the University of Utrecht, from there she branched out to study landscape ecology and agricultural science.

The environmental impact of agriculture was a particular area of study, working with a group of farmers on effluent. “We helped them define problems or pressure points and what they could do to improve how they use their effluent,” says Cecile.

That became a joint PhD project with the Netherlands’ agricultural university in Wageningen, in which Cecile studied nitrous oxide and the way nitrogen cycles through the soil, contributing to greenhouse gases.

Following a postdoc in Cambridge, UK, she came to New Zealand in 1995 and took a position with AgResearch along with her Kiwi husband, scientist Ross Monaghan.

Cecile’s international reputation meant she led an international Global Research Alliance project on developing guidelines for measuring N2O emissions using chamber methodologies and was New Zealand’s representative on the international panel to review the IPCC inventory methodology for estimating N2O emissions.

“The GRA project involved bringing together N2O experts from across the globe, to write a guideline document on the chamber methodology for measuring N2O emissions from soil,” says Cecile. The guidelines are available on the GRA website.”

Overall, Cecile is convinced continuing research into nitrous oxide mitigation could prove fruitful as part of New Zealand’s efforts to achieve GHG reductions, and is likely to produce co-benefits from N2O mitigation minimising the loss of nitrates into waterways.


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