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 Graeme Attwood


    Dr Graeme Attwood, who is a Principal Investigator in the NZAGRC, completed a PhD in Australia and a post-doc in the USA before coming home to New Zealand to further his career. Graeme completed BSc and MSc degrees at the University of Waikato...

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  • Scientist AgResearch - Dr Robyn Dynes


    Agriculture has always been part of Dr Robyn Dynes’ daily life. She was born into a Southland farming environment and her parents moved to a sheep and beef property on the rolling hills at Arthurton, running 1500 ewes, beef cattle and slow...

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  • Research Leader - Dr Tanira Kingi


    Dr Tanira Kingi leads the NZAGRC’s Māori-focussed Research Programme along with Phil Journeaux, which aims to assist the Māori pastoral sector improve its collective capacity to increase resource efficiency and farm productivity while...

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  • Learn Profile - Adriano Nascente


    LEARN Research Aims to Give Farmers Options for GHG Reductions Visiting Brazilian research scientist Dr Adriano Nascente is currently working on a project to help give farmers options for management practices that will reduce nitrous oxide...

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  • Capability Building - Holly Flay


    Methane Research Adds to Store of Science Knowledge As part of her Masters degree, funded by the NZAGRC, Holly evaluated the effects of dairy breed on methane emissions and what would happen to those emissions if the farmer selected cows for...

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  • Capability Building - Camilla Gardiner


    Plantain Study Holds Potential for Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Camilla has just finished her PhD project which studied nitrogen compounds and plant metabolites in cow urine and identified those which might minimise nitrous oxide emissions. In...

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  • Science Profile: Louis Schipper


    As one of the Principal Investigators leading the NZAGRC’s work on plants and GHG mitigation, Louis says there is value is listening to the thoughts of the men and women who actually work in the paddocks each day. “We decide on the...

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  • Capability building - Maria Jimena Rodriguez Gelos


    Plantain Offers Nitrogen Reduction Potential Research work conducted by Jimena Rodriguez Gelos may help provide evidence to support the belief that plantain could help farmers reduce the nitrogen load on their farms – an important part of...

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  • Capability building - Tessa Schmidt


    Catch Crops Worthy of Further Research Continuing research into the field of catch crops as a way to reduce nitrate leaching -- an indirect source of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide -- is definitely warranted. That is the view of NZAGRC...

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  • Principal Investigator - Dr Peter Janssen


    Dr Peter Janssen is the Principal Investigator of the NZAGRC-PGgRc methane mitigation programme at AgResearch, and co-ordinates and contributes to the different work streams developing technologies to reduce ruminant methane emissions. He has...

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  • Principal Investigator - Dr David Whitehead


    Funding Brings Clarity to Soil Carbon Research NZAGRC funding over the last decade has improved clarity about soil carbon research and provided a structure for building a knowledge base both in New Zealand and the international scientific...

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  • Capability building - Dr William Talbot


    William Targets Career in Scientific Research Support from the NZAGRC is helping William Talbot on his pathway to becoming a research scientist and continuing to help find ways of economically reducing the environmental impacts of farming....

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  • Capability building - Anne Wecking


    Anne’s Fascination with Science Now Focusses on Nitrous Oxide (N2O) Fascination with the outdoors – a trait instilled by her grandfather – is still with Anne Wecking today, and is still driving her onwards in her work with soil...

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  • Science Profile - Phil Journeaux


    Farming Has Always Been Part of Phil’s Life Phil Journeaux’s pathway to co-leading the NZAGRC’s Māori-focused research programme (with Dr Tanira Kingi at Scion) was set at an early age. Born and raised in the rural Central...

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  • 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...

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  • Capability building: Dr Sam McNally


    Raised on a beef farm and then a kiwifruit orchard, Sam McNally enjoyed science right from primary school and had a couple of great teachers at Te Puke High School which enhanced his interest in science. “Having grown up on farm/orchard I...

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  • NZ draws Ackim back from Africa


    A love affair with New Zealand has drawn the NZAGRC’s new Post-Doctoral Fellow, Ackim Mwape, back to Palmerston North. Ackim was living in his home city of Lusaka, Zambia, when he was offered an NZAID scholarship to study environmental...

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  • Applying maths to methane


    What does maths have to do with methane? Quite a lot, it turns out, with a research project combining the disciplines of biology and mathematics—funded by the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre—set to boost...

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  • Getting to the bottom of a beneficial bacterium


    Growing up in a remote village in India gave Dr Sandeep Kumar a first-hand understanding of the significant impact that farming can have on a society. Even the small-scale farms of his tiny hometown, where families might each have one or two cows...

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  • NZAGRC scholarship forges future international collaboration


    Congratulations to Nicolas Puche who has successfully defended his PhD at Massey University. Nicolas came to New Zealand in 2012 on a scholarship funded by the NZAGRC - his doctoral thesis, ‘Detailed temporal modelling of carbon and water...

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  • Potential inhibition of urine patch nitrous oxide emissions by Plantago lanceolata and its metabolite aucubin


    Gardiner, C. A., Clough, T. J., Cameron, K. C., Di, H. J., Edwards, G. R., & de Klein, C. A. M. (2017). Potential inhibition of urine patch nitrous oxide emissions by Plantago lanceolata and its metabolite aucubin. [Article in Press]. New...

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  • Recognition for world-renowned animal geneticist


    A major force behind many ground breaking advances in animal genetics is being recognised with a Science NZ Lifetime Achievement award this month. John McEwan, a principal scientist at AgResearch Invermay, has devoted his career to genomic...

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  • Anne Wecking


    The opportunity to work with the Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) made it an easy decision for German PhD student Anne Wecking to move to the other side of the world. “It’s a privilege to work with a piece of technology like this—the...

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  • Congratulations to Dr Jack Pronger


    Jack Pronger has completed his PhD defence to become a fully fledged scientist. Jack submitted his PhD investigating the water use and water use efficiency of mixed pasture swards at Troughton farm.  Jack has taken up a position at Landcare...

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  • Two vacancies at INRA Paris


    Scientific Officer of the international research program on ‘Soils for Food Security and Climate’ 1 year position, based at INRA, Paris, France. The global initiative ‘4 per mil. Soils for Food Security and Climate’ of...

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  • New scholarship to support greenhouse gas research


    A new $400,000 scholarship programme to build global expertise on climate change, agriculture and food security will boost New Zealand’s contribution to agricultural greenhouse gas research say Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett and...

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  • Do glucosinolate hydrolysis products reduce nitrous oxide emissions from urine affected soil?


    S.F. Balvert, J. Luo, L.A. Schipper, Do glucosinolate hydrolysis products reduce nitrous oxide emissions from urine affected soil?, Science of The Total Environment, Volume 603, 2017, Pages 370-380, ISSN 0048-9697,...

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  • Dr Cecile de Klein: Principal Investigator


    Cecile is an internationally recognised expert on nitrous oxide emissions from soils. Born and educated in The Netherlands, she came to New Zealand in 1995 following a postdoc in Cambridge, UK. As Principal Investigator of the NZAGRC she co-leads,...

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  • Professor Louis Schipper


    Louis Schipper is a Professor at the University of Waikato who investigates soil biogeochemical processes at landscape scales and how they might be manipulated to achieve improved environmental performance while maintaining production. For the...

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  • Comparative genomics of rumen methanogens


    Li, Y. (2016). Comparative genomics of rumen methanogens, Massey University. Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry: 550. Abstract Methane (CH4) emissions from agriculture represent around 9% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The...

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  • Low spatial and inter-annual variability of evaporation from a year-round intensively grazed temperate pasture system


    J. Pronger, D.I. Campbell, M.J. Clearwater, S. Rutledge, A.M. Wall, L.A. Schipper, Low spatial and inter-annual variability of evaporation from a year-round intensively grazed temperate pasture system, Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment,...

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  • Potential for forage diet manipulation in New Zealand pasture ecosystems to mitigate ruminant urine derived N2O emissions: a review


    Gardiner, C. A., T. J. Clough, et al. (2016). "Potential for forage diet manipulation in New Zealand pasture ecosystems to mitigate ruminant urine derived N2O emissions: a review." New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 59(3): 301-317....

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  • Camilla Gardiner


    Camilla Gardiner moved to Canterbury from the USA at the end of July 2015. Originally from Seattle, Camilla has had a passion for agriculture since high school. "I spent a term at a farm school in rural Vermont in my third year of high...

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  • Sheree Balvert


    Providing funding to students and early career scientists to increase capability in the agricultural greenhouse gas emissions mitigation research area and boost international collaboration is a key activity for the NZAGRC. The NZAGRC nitrous...

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  • KuDos to Aaron Wall of Waikato University


    University of Waikato technician, and a pivotal player in the NZAGRC-funded soil carbon programme, Aaron Wall was a winner in last month’s 2015 KuDos Hamilton Science Excellence Awards.   The School of Science Technical Officer...

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  • KuDos to Jiafa Luo of AgResearch


    "Humbled and surprised” is how AgResearch Senior Scientist and NZAGRC Project Leader Dr Jiafa Luo describes his reaction to hearing his name read out as the winner of the Gallagher Agricultural Science Award at this year’s...

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  • Co-leader of breeding programme keen to make a positive contribution to farming


    Dr Suzanne Rowe, co-leader of the NZAGRC-PGgRc programme to breed low methane ruminants, has always been passionate about farming. Originally from Devon, in the UK, she grew up in the city and left home at 16 to work on a horse breeding stud....

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  • Introducing Dr Jha


    The NZAGRC would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Dr Neha Jha on recently completing her PhD and thank her for her contribution to date to the NZAGRC's nitrous oxide research programme. Neha's PhD study involved steep learning...

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  • Honours Student: Larissa Kingsbury


    Larissa is in her fourth year (Honours) of a Bachelor of Agricultural Science in the  Agricultural life sciences (AGLS) department at Lincoln University. Larissa is supervised by Dr Rachael Bryant. Larissa is undertaking a...

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  • Masters Student: Olivia Jordan


    Olivia with NZ PM Rt Hon John Key (Oliva is second from the left) Olivia is conducting an MSc thesis examining root biomass of different pasture swards in a trial at a New Zealand industry research farm. This work is aligned to an...

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  • Honours Student: Daniel Martin-Hendrie


    Daniel Martin-Hendrie is a fourth year agricultural science student at Lincoln University. Under the supervision of Professor Tim Clough, Daniel is investigating DCD and ammonium in a lowland Canterbury Stream and what effect stream bed...

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  • Undergraduate Student: Martina Alvarez Camps


    "My name is Martina Alvarez. I am 19 years old and about to start my second year of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Auckland."   Martina spent the summer with Dr Carolyn Hedley and Dr...

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  • Undergraduate student: Alex Tressler


    Alex Tressler is a fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Waikato.  He is currently in his final year of a BMS studying Agribusiness and Strategic Management. Alex's recent NZAGRC research project was to examine...

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  • Honours Student: Bianca Dias


    Bianca's Honours year was funded by the NZAGRC Student Scholarship Fund. For her Honours project, Bianca worked on diurnal fluctuations of nitrous oxide from the soil. She was supervised by Professor Tim Clough. Bianca was also a Future...

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  • Summer Student: Calvin Ball


    Calvin Ball worked with Professor Jacqueline Rowarth, Professor Tony Parsons and Dr Susanne Rasmussen during the summer. The research Calvin undertook, to examine the way gibberellic acid could make plant growth and metabolism more nitrogen...

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  • Summer Student: Priya Soni


    Priya  has a BSc in Biotechnology from India and came to New Zealand to study for a graduate certificate in Science and Technology specialising in microbial biotechnology. Priya's NZAGRC funded summer research placed her in Dr...

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  • Changes in denitrification rate and N2O/N2 ratio with varying soil moisture conditions in New Zealand pasture soils


    Jha, N., Saggar, S., Tillman, R., & Giltrap, D. (2012). Changes in denitrification rate and N2O/N2 ratio with varying soil moisture conditions in New Zealand pasture soils In: Advanced Nutrient Management: Gains from the Past - Goals for...

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