Neil Coombes

Research interests

  • Experimental design under correlation
  • Search algorithms
  • Software development


Neil Coombes is a Biometrician with NSW Department of Primary Industries.  He joined the NSW Department of Agriculture and Fisheries* in 1989 and worked in a number of consulting roles before commencing a PhD in 1999 to research design efficiency in the presence of correlation.  Following this research he developed a program, DiGGer, which searches for efficient designs under specified correlation structures.  He is currently adapting DiGGer software to run in the R statistical software environment and with the Katmandoo database.

*NSW Department of Primary Industries was formed on July 1, 2004 through an amalgamation of NSW Agriculture, NSW Fisheries, State Forests of NSW and the NSW Department of Mineral Resources.


  • BSc – Australian National University 1974
  • BAppSc (Industrial Maths and Computing) – MitchellCAE 1987
  • PhD – Liverpool John Moores University 2002

Current projects

  • DiGGer design search software
  • Acid soil action grazing experiment
  • Weed management of Silverleaf Nightshade
  • Subsoil constraints on canola yield.

Recent publications

Cullis BR, Smith AB, and Coombes NE (2006). On the design of early generation variety trials with correlated data. Journal of Agricultural, Biological & Environmental Statistics, 11: 381-393

Fields of research

  • 230204 Applied Statistics

Australian Bureau of Statistics classifications

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Experimental design
  • Correlated errors
  • Software development

Contact details