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Royal Society Te Aparangi Elects CRI Scientist As Next President

Dr Brent Clothier FRSNZ from Plant & Food Research has been elected to succeed Professor Wendy Larner FRSNZ as President of the Royal Society Te Aparangi. He will serve as President-elect through to July 2021 when his three-year term commences.

Dr Clothier is the first Crown Research Institute (CRI) scientist to lead the 153-year old society, previously known as the Royal Society of New Zealand, since CRIs were formed in 1992. Two presidents had come from predecessor government research organisations prior to 1992.

Science New Zealand Chair, John Morgan, CEO of NIWA, says the CRIs are delighted that Dr Clothier has been invited to take on this role.

“Dr Clothier is an outstanding scientist and science leader whose work over more than 40 years has hugely benefited people, communities and productive sectors of the economy here and around the world.

“Great science applied to resolve challenges and open opportunities is a core part of the CRI mission, and Brent exemplifies that in his work and collaborative style.

“Last year he was recognised for his Lifetime Achievement at the Science New Zealand National Awards held at Parliament.”

Dr Clothier was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1994, recognizing him as one of New Zealand’s outstanding researchers. He has served in significant governance roles in the New Zealand research system including the Marsden Council, Rutherford Foundation Trust and the Royal Society Council. The latter included three years as a Vice-President, and he chaired the Academy Executive Committee in 2008/9.

Dr Clothier is a Principal Scientist at Plant & Food Research. Based in Palmerston North, he has an international reputation in the soil and water sciences. He was recently elected to the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the first New Zealander to receive this honour. He holds adjunct professorships in New Zealand, Australia, and Spain and is an elected member of three major bodies in the USA (the Soil Science Society of America, the American Agronomy Society, and the American Geophysical Union). He was President of the New Zealand Society of Soil Science in 2009-10.

He has spent his career in New Zealand, beginning with the DSIR (Department of Science & Industrial Research) in 1976, and then its successors, HortResearch from 1992 and Plant & Food Research since 2008. He was science leader of the multi-CRI research programme of SLURI (Sustainable Land Use Research Initiative).

Dr Clothier has a BSc from Canterbury and PhD and DSc from Massey University. He has published over 300 scientific papers on soil science, water management, sustainable vineyard and orchard practices. He has contributed to environmental policy and areas such as valuation of ecosystem services and investment into ecological infrastructure. His expertise can be seen in water-related aid and development projects in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as in the Middle East, China, and Africa.

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