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Research team

Dr Ruth Mann

Dr Ruth Mann

Head of research

Ruth’s science career began by studying BSc (Hons) Applied Biological Sciences at the University of Ulster before progressing to a MSc. in Crop Protecion at Scottish Agricultural College.

After completion of a Plant Pathology PhD at Harper Adams University College, Ruth joined the forage grass testing section of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland.

Ruth's career at STRI started in 2001 when she became a turfgrass pathologist. She progressed to Head of turfgrass Protection in 2008 and became Head of research in 2013.

Dr Christian Spring

Dr Christian Spring

Research manager

After gaining his PhD investigating the structural effects of earthworms on soil, Christian joined STRI’s Research Team in 2005 as a soil scientist.

Christian is currently one of STRI’s research managers and is also head of the soil laboratory. Christian leads research into a wide variety of subject areas, including sports surface construction and drainage, turfgrass nutrition, sports turf management, use of wetting agents and pesticides, surface performance assessment and machinery testing.

Among his roles, Christian runs STRI’s FACTS and NMP courses and assists with the teaching on the BASIS course. Christian is a passionate communicator of science and can regularly be found giving talks to turf managers at various industry events.

Dr Tom Young

Dr Tom Young

Research manager

Tom arrived at STRI in 2014 with a PhD in Biological Sciences, specialising in the optimisation of green roof substrate for sustainable plant growth and specific service provision.

His current role at STRI involves new research projects, overseeing the day to day running of research projects involving collection, analysis and reporting of data.

Mark Ferguson

Mark Ferguson

Research manager

Mark is a research manager who has been with STRI for 18 years.

He is STRI’s resident tennis expert and manages research and consultancy projects for The All England Club and The Lawn Tennis Association.

Mark also manages product trials, including efficacy and crop safety (ORETO 136) and grass selection trials.

Ian Anderson

Ian Anderson

Grounds and facilities manager

Ian joined STRI as a trainee groundsman, where he went on to complete his level 3 sports turf management course. He was promoted to trials ground supervisor in 2006, taking charge of the daily running of all the trial areas.

Now grounds and facilities manager he is responsible for the maintenance of the trials grounds and the facilities at STRI headquarters in Bingley.

Aaisha Ali

Aaisha Ali

Trials officer

Aaisha joined STRI in March 2016, after working as a trials technician for such industry giants as Unilever and Arla Foods. Before that she spent time as primary school teacher.

She gained a BSc (Hons) in Medical Biotechnology from the University of Abertay Dundee, and uses those skills in her role at STRI, progressing trials from protocol stage to final completion. She is currently training to become a plant pathologist.

In her spare time Aaisha likes watching and arguing about F1, as well as long walks in the woods and up mountains.

Daniel Dean

Daniel Dean

Research officer

Daniel is now on his second stint at STRI, after rejoining the business in September 2017. The magnetic draw of the turf industry luring him back from a teacher training.

He holds a BSc (Hons) degree in Environmental Conservation from the University of Leeds and will be helping the research department develop and deliver an educational programme for Aspire Sports Turf in Qatar as part of the 2022 World Cup.

A proud Yorkshireman who lives in Saltaire with his partner and stepson. He enjoys long walks in the stunning Yorkshire countryside with his trusty camera.

Fiona Crossley

Fiona Crossley

Research officer

After gaining an Agricultural Science degree from the University of Leeds Fiona worked in agriculture and horticulture before joining STRI in 1995.

Fiona manages grass testing trials for the British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB) and UK based trials for the French grass testing programme. Data from the BSPB trials are used to produce the Turfgrass Seed booklet published annually in January.

Away from work Fiona belongs to the small bunch of, slightly eccentric, British cross-country skiers and is a huge fan of hill walking.

Will Pearce

Will Pearce

Research agronomist

Will has worked on numerous research projects covering a wide array of aspects within the warm season turf industry. Some of these include genotype selections, screening turfgrass cultivars to various environmental and sports field stresses, turf breeding, and using turf as an erosion and sediment control measure.

Other research projects have looked at improving the management practices on turf production farms to reduce water usage, associated nutrient run-off and leaching. Will has also utilised satellite imagery to assess turfgrass area coverage in Australian capital cities.

Will is an avid fisherman and hopes to one day catch his dream target species; the elusive Mulloway in the northern rivers of New South Wales.

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.@striturf Head of Research, Dr Ruth Mann, offers advice on putting together a #fungicide programme for your sports… https://t.co/aOVKvVG29v about 18 hours ago