Rachel McGauley

Plant physiologist

Image of staff member Rachel McGauley

Email: rachel.mcgauley@ahdb.org.uk

Rachel joined AHD in January 2016 and has been around the horticulture and research industries for most of her life. She got the bug for horticulture from an early age as her grandparents owned a small bedding plants nursery while she was growing up, where she used to enjoy playing in the glasshouses and helping out with the watering. After leaving school, Rachel gained a 2:1 degree in biological sciences which was predominantly focused on ecology. For her undergraduate dissertation se found herself back in the glasshouse studying brassicas.

After my graduating from her undergraduate degree Rachel continued her studies in horticulture by becoming a qualified garden designer. Although she loved the horticulture aspect of this, she found that there wasn’t enough science involved for me so she then became a university biology technician to help improve her scientific skills and develop her experience. She then studied for an HDC/AHDB-funded PhD at Harper Adams University working with G’s Growers. 

As a research manager, Rachel usually spends a lot of the summer on the road visiting trials and attending project meetings to check the research is on track. She will also attend conferences to keep her scientific knowledge up-to-date and attends industry events such as Fruit Focus and the National Fruit Show while also visiting levy payers to keep her knowledge of the industry current. Additionally, Rachel organises project meetings to review the work in the research programmes that she manages. These meetings are with researchers, levy payers on the steering group and advisors from industry. Together with this group she helps to plan the work for the next year and also organises Tree Fruit Panel meetings to review priorities for research and crop protection and to keep the Panel members informed about the research and KE activities.

Her role also involves reviewing all the research reports from the programmes she manages before they are published on our website. In this past year she has become more involved with webinars and podcasts and, as a member of AHDB’s Crop Health and IPM team, she has been part of a team writing reviews of key pests, diseases and weeds to determine priorities for research in the new IPM programme.

Rachel says that she enjoys project meetings the most as she works with some brilliant levy payers and scientists and finds the conversations during project meetings really stimulating. She has a love of applied research and enjoys feeling like we’re making progress to address real life issues. Getting out to visit levy payers is also something that she enjoys alongside seeing how the research AHDB has funded is being used and hearing ideas for other areas of research.

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