Position: Professor/Principal Scientist, Lincoln University and AgResearch.
Field: Soil and water quality.
Professor Richard McDowell is a senior research scientist and university supervisor. He also works for AgResearch at Invermay, Mosgiel.
Richard was educated at Lincoln and Cambridge Universities before working for the United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service. He started working for AgResearch in 2001.
Richard’s work with AgResearch includes soil science, hydrology and limnology (the study of inland waters). His research involves the investigation of catchment water quality as impacted by rural land use and is concerned with the transfer of contaminants from land to water. He designs strategies for farmers to lessen the impact of these contaminants. Richard is also an adjunct professor in soil and water quality at Lincoln University, and he supervises PhD students.
Richard is particularly interested in the impact of the nutrient phosphorus from soil affecting waterways and causing water pollution. He investigates ways in which farmers can reduce phosphorus leaching. Richard has published more than 200 books, journal articles and reports on this topic.
At the start of 2016 the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge was launched with Richard as it's Chief Scientist. This 2018 AgResearch press release summarises some of the recent findings from the major report on the state of land released by this challenge.
In 2017 Richard became one of the Fellows of Royal Society Te Apārangi, this honour recognises international distinction in research and scholarship.
This article is based on information current in 2013 and 2018.