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  • Positions: Professor – Lincoln University, Principal Scientist – AgResearch, Chief Scientist – National Science Challenge: Our Land and Water.

    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.

    In 2017 Richard became one of the Fellows of Royal Society Te Apārangi, this honour recognises international distinction in research and scholarship. In 2021 he took up the role of Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. In this year he was also awarded the Hutton Medal by Royal Society Te Apārangi for his outstanding contributions to the knowledge of contaminant loses from land to water and informing environmental policy.

    Out of work hours, Richard enjoys strolling around the native bush and also building furniture.

    This article is based on information current in 2013 and 2022.

      Published 30 July 2013, Updated 18 November 2022 Referencing Hub articles
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