Science

NZAGRC Science Leadership Team

The role of NZAGRC Science Leadership Team (SLT) is to play a key part in the development, implementation and monitoring of all of the Centre’s science programmes and strategies.  It consists of respected New Zealand-based researchers with excellent science credentials accompanied by strong leadership, communication, strategic and inter-personal skills with expertise in those areas of science covered in the NZAGRC Strategy and Science Plan.

Membership is agreed by the Steering Group and includes the NZAGRC Principal Investigators in addition to the NZAGRC Director and NZAGRC Operations Manager.  

Dr Graeme Attwood  AgResearch  
Dr Cecile DeKlein   AgResearch 
Professor Hong Di  Lincoln University 
Dr Robyn Dynes  AgResearch  
Dr Peter Janssen  AgResearch  
Dr David Whitehead   Manaaki Whenua

 

Science leadership & capability building 

The NZAGRC is committed to providing opportunities for researchers to be trained and work with leading experts in New Zealand.  Some students go on to continue their studies or enter a postdoctoral position under guidance from NZAGRC science leaders, other enter into industry based positions.

The NZAGRC supports more than 50 researchers and students by providing funding via its core research programme or via its student scholarships programme.

Below are profiles of our scientists and past students. 

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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