Community of researchers

AgZero+, a project funded by NERC and BBSRC, follows on from the successful ASSIST programme and is bringing together a community of researchers at UKCEH, Rohamstead Research, The British Geological Survey, The National Centre for Earth Observatory and Plymouth Marine Laboratory with farmers to test innovative farming systems.


Prof. Richard Pywell

Principal Investigator UKCEH

R Pywell - UKCEH logo

Richard is the science lead for biodiversity research at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. He is an agroecologist with 30 years’ experience of working with the farming industry to develop sustainable farming systems. Richard is the lead Principal Investigator for AgZero+ and leads the UKCEH team.

Dr. Jon Storkey

Principal Investigator Rothamsted

J Storkey - RR

Jon is a plant ecologist at Rothamsted Research, working in the field of sustainable weed management and the design of cropping systems and landscapes to reconcile crop production with biodiversity and ecosystem services. He is managing Rothamsted Research’s contribution to AgZero+.

Dr. Claire Carvell

Programme manager

C Carvell - UKCEH logo

Claire is an ecologist at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. She has 22 years’ research and project management experience on sustainable agriculture with a focus on insect pollinators, involving landscape-scale experiments, molecular genetics, citizen science and long-term monitoring. Claire leads the operational management of AgZero+.


Dr. Andrew Rees

Principal Investigator PML

A Rees - PML

Andy is a senior research scientist at Plymouth Marine Laboratory. He is managing PML’s contribution to AgZero+, working with colleagues who provide expertise in catchment to coast measurements of carbon, nutrients and dissolved greenhouse gases and coastal and estuarine air-sea fluxes of trace gases.

Dr. Andrew Tye

Principal Investigator BGS

A Tye - BGS

Andrew is a research scientist at the British Geological Survey with 27 years’ experience in soil science and geochemistry. He will manage BGS’s contribution to AgZero+ and directly contribute to fieldwork, collating soil and groundwater sensor data.

Prof. Mat Disney

Principal Investigator NCEO at UCL

Mat is Professor of Remote Sensing at UCL Geography and will be coordinating the NCEO contribution to AgZero+, by developing new satellite-derived tools for crop monitoring and yield forecasting at national scales.

Prof. James Bullock

Deputy Principal Investigator UKCEH

J Bullock - UKCEH

James is an ecologist at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology with more than 30 years’ research experience on spatial population ecology and dispersal, and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystem services in natural and agricultural landscapes. He is deputy PI on the UKCEH team for AgZero+.

Dr. John Redhead

Work Package co-lead: farmland data

J Redhead - UKCEH

John is a spatial ecologist at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology with 15 years’ research experience. He is co-leading a team of remote sensors, spatial modellers, statisticians, ecotoxicologists and data scientists to deliver the national digital farmland observatory for AgZero+.

Dr. Gonzalo Irisarri

Work Package co-lead: farmland data

G Irisarri - RR

Gonzalo is a research scientist at Rothamsted Research. His research focuses on rangeland ecology and grazing using remote sensing. He is undertaking measures of grass productivity from the Rowden Experiment to validate the models of grass yield.

Dr. Lisa Norton

Work Package co-lead: horizon scanning

Lisa is a senior scientist at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. She researches the management of farmland for biodiversity, and the trade-offs between production and other ecosystem services. For AgZero+, she is working with stakeholders to horizon scan innovations with the potential to achieve net zero+ farming.

Prof. Nicola Beaumont

Work Package co-lead: social science

N Beaumont - PML

Nicola leads the Sea and Society team at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and is an internationally established expert in the assessment and valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. For AgZero+ she is leading research to understand the social and economic challenges to the uptake of net zero+ farming systems.

Prof. Niall McNamara

Work Package co-lead: Farm network

N McNamara - UKCEH

Niall leads the Plant-Soil Interactions Group at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. He is overseeing the Living Farm Laboratories comprising a network of net zero+ farming systems. On these commercial farms AgZero+ is undertaking integrated monitoring of GHGs in combination with observations of multiple agronomic and environmental outcomes.

Dr. Sam Cook

Work Package co-lead: Farm network

S Cook - RR

Sam is a behavioural ecologist at Rothamsted Research. She is leading a team of technicians and researchers to implement the farm-scale sampling protocols on AgZero+. The team will also support the development of image recognition monitoring tools, including field testing apps.

Dr. Vicky Bell

Work Package co-lead: modelling impacts

Vicky leads the Hydrological Processes and Extremes group at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. She is a modeller with a background in applied mathematics and is synthesising the data collected to define pathways for achieving net zero+ farming systems.

Dr. Alice Milne

Work Package co-lead: modelling impacts

A Milne

Alice is a mathematician at Rothamsted Research and leads the epidemiological modelling group. For AgZero+, she is leading a team modelling the impacts of net zero+ farming systems on productivity and the wider environment.

Rod Scott

Work Package co-lead: data science and tools  

R Scott - UKCEH

Rod is a Software Engineer in the UKCEH Environmental Data Science Group. For AgZero+ he is managing the development of pipelines and workflows for sensor data capture and quality control, and the specification of a digital twin.

Prof. Simon Willcock

Work Package co-lead: data science and tools  

S Willcock - RR

Simon is Professor of Sustainability at Rothamsted Research. His main focus is on the interaction between people and nature. He will co-ordinate a team undertaking the citizen science component of the UK digital farmland observatory and landscape metrics for AgZero+.

Dr. Tom August

Work Package co-lead: image recognition tools

T August - UKCEH

Tom develops and trials new technologies to support the monitoring of the environment on farmland, by farmers.