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Beddington appointed new chair of the Rothamsted Research board
Published 24 April 2014 - 07:29

Rothamsted Research has announced that Professor Sir John Beddington has been appointed as the chair of the Rothamsted Research board of directors. He will take up his post at the longest running agricultural research institute in the world this week.

Sir John is joining Rothamsted Research, which receives strategic funding from BBSRC, to work alongside the newly appointed Director Achim Doberman, to help drive forward its mission to perform world-class research in delivering the knowledge, innovation and new practices to increase crop productivity and quality and to develop environmentally sustainable solutions for food and energy production.

Sir John has enjoyed a long and distinguished career with numerous high profile publications and appointments. From 2008 until 2013 he was the Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) reporting directly to the Prime Minister. As GCSA, he led on providing scientific advice to Government during the 2009 swine flu outbreak, the 2010 volcanic ash incident and the emergency at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011. As GCSA, he was also responsible for increasing the scientific capacity across Whitehall by encouraging all major departments of state to recruit a Chief Scientific Adviser.

In 2008 Sir John raised the concept of the “Perfect Storm” of food, energy and water security in the context of mitigating and adapting to climate change.  He continues to work in the area.  During 2011 he chaired an International Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change and recently took on the Co-chairmanship of an International Commission on Agriculture and Nutrition.  This work had a major impact on UK and international policies and firmly placed agricultural science back on the global list of priorities.

Sir John continues to be a Senior Adviser to the Oxford Martin School and Professor of Natural Resource Management at Oxford University.   Amongst other activities he is a Non-Executive Director of the Met Office, a Trustee of the Natural History Museum and President of the Royal Agricultural Society of England.  He is also President of the London Zoological Society

Sir John said “I am both delighted and honoured to be invited to be the Chair of the Rothamsted Research Board.  Rothamsted is both our oldest and one of our most prestigious research organisations in the agricultural field.  The problems of food security and the associated issues of water and energy security need research at the highest level and I am confident that Rothamsted can provide it.”

Associate Director at Rothamsted Research, Stephen James, added “The whole institute is thrilled that Sir John has taken this crucial position and, along with our new Director, we once again have a world-class team at the top to take the Institute forward at such an exciting time for agricultural research.“

Sir John succeeds former chair, Professor Nick Talbot, who has chaired the Board since October 2009 after joining it in 2007. Professor Talbot made an outstanding contribution to the Institute’s long history and Rothamsted Research is grateful for his leadership during this period.

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