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Plant & Food Research scientist recognised for contribution to Aotearoa

06 Oct 2022

Plant physiologist Dr Jill Stanley has been elected a Companion of the Royal Society Te Apārangi.

Jill, as Science Group Leader Fruit Crops Physiology at Plant & Food Research, leads a team of more than 35 people focused on research that improves fruit quality and productivity of perennial fruit crops.

“Jill Stanley is a leader, not only in her scientific endeavours, but also in developing people,” says Professor Richard Newcomb, Chief Scientist at Plant & Food Research. “Her work has directly contributed to the success of New Zealand’s horticultural crops, including apricots, cherries and berries. She also gives her time to inspire young people, championing programmes that help others to build science careers. It is wonderful to see her efforts recognised by the Royal Society Te Apārangi.”

Companions of the Royal Society Te Apārangi are appointed as recognition for outstanding leadership or eminent contributions to promoting and advancing science, technology or the humanities in Aotearoa New Zealand. They must be nominated by at least two members for consideration by the Academy Executive Committee before being approved by the Council.

Jill’s experience includes leading the summerfruit aspects of Future Orchard Planting Systems, a transformational programme that can double tree productivity and improve orchard efficiency. She was also a key researcher in the development of three exciting new apricot cultivars that were recently released.

Jill actively encourages and inspires young people through being a science fair judge, hosting school and polytech visits at Plant & Food Research’s Clyde Research Centre, and mentoring summer students. In 2020, Jill initiated, co-developed and ran, with the People & Culture team, a mentoring programme for early and mid-career researchers at Plant & Food Research which won the award for Learning and Development Capability at The Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRNZ) national awards.

Jill has just finished her second four-year term serving on the Board of Directors of the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), in which she was Vice-President, and co-ordinator of the scientific programme (40+ symposia held around the world annually). Prior to that, she represented New Zealand on the ISHS Council for 16 years. She has also been involved in the NZ Institute of Agricultural & Horticultural Science (NZIAHS), and its predecessor NZ Society of Horticultural Science (NZSHS), for over 15 years, including President of NZSHS from 1999-2001 and President of NZIAHS from 2017-2019 and on the Council for seven years. In 2021, she was awarded Honorary Membership for both ISHS and NZIAHS.

She is on the International Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of Horticultural Sciences and the European Journal of Horticultural Science and was Editor of Chronica Horticulturae.

Jill said she felt very honoured and humbled to be elected a Companion of the Royal Society Te Apārangi. “I could not have achieved any of this without the hard work and support of my colleagues, industry partners, mentors or my family.”


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