Position: Senior research associate, Field: Soil ecology, Organisation: AgResearch.

Ross Gray is a senior research associate with AgResearch. He is based at the Grasslands Research Centre in Palmerston North and is part of the Climate, Land and Environment group. Ross’s particular area of interest is soil ecology – earthworms and soil arthropods.

Scientific research rarely happens in isolation – it truly is a team effort. Technicians, research associates, scientists and sometimes even university students all have an important part to play in designing, managing and subsequently reporting scientific trials.

Science is a superb vocation for the naturally inquisitive, where hands-on innovation and discovery make for fulfilling and always interesting endeavours.

As a senior research associate, Ross is involved in all aspects of science including input into project bidding applications, trial planning, trial set-up, trial management and deconstruction, analytical services, data management and interpretation leading on to authorship of science papers. In addition to the specialist technical and analytical services Ross provides to groups within AgResearch, he also works with external clients.

Ross has been with AgResearch for more than 30 years. He began as a technical trainee – similar to a science apprenticeship. Ross studied part-time for a New Zealand Certificate in science during his time as a trainee. He has come a long way since then, and Ross is proof that there are many pathways that lead to a career in science. Ross feels privileged to be able to design and run an extremely varied number of trials on a diverse scale, from growth cabinet and glasshouse trials to field trials and even countrywide soil fauna surveys.

Ross’s interests outside of work include hang-gliding, general aviation, skiing, computers and backyard engineering. He also includes ecology (especially earthworms) and photography as interests – he took many of the earthworm photos used on our site.

Nature of science

Scientific inquiry is a complex social activity that encompasses a broad range of people, skills and experiences. Stereotypes often depict scientists working alone and isolated in a laboratory. In reality, research is more often conducted by a team of people rather than by an individual.

This article is based on information current in 2012.

    Published 12 June 2012