AHDB appoint first chief scientist

Professor Ian Crute has been appointed the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB’s) first chief scientist and will ensure collaboration and co-operation across the group’s £15m research and development (R&D) invesments.

He takes up the post in early September 2009 and will be part of the senior executive team reporting to the AHDB chief executive.

Professor Crute is currently the director of Rothamsted Research (formerly the Institute of Arable Crops Research) with overall responsibility for all scientific, operational, commercial and external liaison activities of the institute, a post he has held since 1999.

AHDB chairman John Bridge said: “I am delighted we have someone of Ian’s calibre and ability joining AHDB. R&D and knowledge transfer is the single biggest area of spend for AHDB. This appointment is critical in order to encourage cross-sector scientific connections and collaboration to the benefit of our levy payers and to agriculture and horticulture as a whole.

“We are entering a new era for food production. Globally we need to double production by 2050 with no extra land, we need to nurture our resources – soil, water, energy – and we need to protect our environment as well as address the challenges that climate change will bring, such as new plant and animal diseases.

“These are big challenges for the farming and scientific community at a time when government funding for R&D is declining. This makes the role that AHDB can play more critical than ever.”

Professor Crute said: “I am very excited at the prospect of joining AHDB. AHDB and its six sector boards have the potential to play an increasingly influential role in orchestrating the way in which public and private funds are put to work to deliver the new science-based products, practices and policies which the agricultural and horticultural sectors require going forward.”

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