Leigh Vial


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IRRI's Experiment Station Head Leigh Vial

As former Head of IRRI’s Experiment Station, Leigh led a team of staff dedicated to providing the conditions required for contemporary rice research. He liaised with most levels of research and administration within IRRI to deliver the Experiment Station services quickly and efficiently for their customers.

Leigh supervised field operations (machinery), field maintenance (agronomy), irrigation, bioenvironment and administrative groups. This included the day-to-day operations, and a number of projects to improve both the infrastructure and the processes at the Experiment Station to match 21st century requirements.


  • Agricultural soil, water and crop management
  • Agricultural mechanization
  • Farm infrastructure and business development
  • Management of research programs for on-farm benefit
  • Popular scientific and socioeconomic writing


  • PhD in Agronomy (2008-2012)
  • Masters in Agricultural Economics (2001)
  • Bachelor of Agricultural Science (with honors) (1992)


  • Head, Experiment Station, IRRI (2011-2015)
  • Consultant to University of Queensland/ACIAR Lowland Rice Systems Project, Lao PDR (2008-2011)
  • Co-owner and co-manager of family mixed farms, Moulamein, NSW, Australia (1993-2008)
  • Chair, Murray Land and Water Management Plans Research Committee (2005-2008)
  • Member, Australian Rice Research and Development Committee (1995-2007)


Achim Dobermann, deputy director general for research at IRRI, and Leigh Vial, head of IRRI's experiment station, begin IRRI Agronomy Challenge 2, the continuation of a special project in which they demonstrate how to grow a productive rice crop in a 25 x 100-meter field on IRRI's research farm.