The Institute has convened an international group of experts to help it evaluate the quality of its science and assess the benefits of its research.

  • 24
  • JAN
  • 2019

According to Rothamsted’s Chief Executive, Professor Achim Dobermann, the Science and Impact Advisory Board members have been drawn from across the globe to provide farming, industry, academic and R&D perspectives.

He said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to appoint such a high quality and vastly experienced group to help shape our research agenda over the coming years.

“By considering our science through the lens of a wider impact, the newly appointed group can help us ensure we stay focused on our ultimate goal of sustainable intensification.” 

The five-person board will help identify new opportunities for science, advise on priorities for investment, and make recommendations on strategic changes to the research.

Dr Michael Robertson (Chairman) is Deputy and Science Director at CSIRO Agriculture & Food. His research background is in crop agronomy and simulation modelling where his work has aimed to analyse and understand broad-acre farming systems to inform better management regimes. He has worked on agricultural systems in the tropics, subtropics and temperate zone on a wide range of crops and pastures. As part of his current role Michael is leading an initiative in ‘digital agriculture’ that aims to bring together agricultural researchers and information and communication technology experts in CSIRO to explore new ways in which digital technologies can improve the way research is conducted and results are delivered to end users.

Catherine Broomfield is an advocate for the role of native breeds in sustainable grass-based systems of food production and environmental management. She is an exponent of extensive beef and sheep farming having farmed with her family for 17 years on her traditional mixed farm in Devon. She is a business entrepreneur, working in technology, farming, and rural enterprise. As a freelance consultant, she works with farming organisations to develop strategic plans and communications. She writes on food & farming in the national and farming press.

Professor Dirk Inzé is a global leader in plant biology and an ISI ‘most cited author’. His work has opened new perspectives for the identification of optimal growth regulatory networks that can be selected by advanced breeding, or for which more robust variants can be obtained through genetic engineering. As such, Dirk Inzé's work significantly contributes to providing food security for the growing world population. In 2002, Dirk was appointed Director of the Department of Plant Systems Biology of the VIB (Flanders Institute of Biotechnology). Dirk was recently awarded with the prestigious World Agriculture Prize.

Dr Adrian Percy has more than 25 years of experience in the agricultural industry and is an advocate of the need for, and benefits of, modern agriculture. He is also a strong proponent of the development and adoption of new agricultural and food technologies which support global food security while protecting the environment. Adrian previously served as the Head of Research & Development for the Crop Science division of Bayer. He now frequently acts as an agricultural industry representative as well as an advisor or independent director to companies seeking to develop new agricultural and food technology for the market-place.

Professor Johan Six is a professor in the Department of Environmental Systems Sciences at ETH Zurich and leads the Group of Sustainable Agroecosystems. His research focuses on how management affects the complex interactions between soil, plants, and carbon and nutrient fluxes within agroecosystems and its implications for food system functioning within a continuously changing global environment. His group conducts experimental work from the microscale to the landscape scale and subsequently integrates its findings into simulation modelling to underpin the mechanistic bases of the used models, and predict agroecosystem and food system functioning across space and time. 

About Rothamsted Research
Rothamsted Research is the longest-running agricultural research institute in the world. We work from gene to field with a proud history of ground-breaking discoveries, from crop treatment to crop protection, from statistical interpretation to soils management. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative influence on fresh thinking and farming practices.
Through independent science and innovation, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally. In terms of the institute’s economic contribution, the cumulative impact of our work in the UK was calculated to exceed £3000 million a year in 20151. Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines science and strategic research, interdisciplinary teams and partnerships.
Rothamsted is also home to three unique resources. These National Capabilities are open to researchers from all over the world: The Long-Term Experiments, Rothamsted Insect Survey and the North Wyke Farm Platform.
We are strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with additional support from other national and international funding streams, and from industry. We are also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT).
For more information, visit; Twitter @Rothamsted
1Rothamsted Research and the Value of Excellence: A synthesis of the available evidence, by Séan Rickard (Oct 2015)

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes

About LAT
The Lawes Agricultural Trust, established in 1889 by Sir John Bennet Lawes, supports Rothamsted Research’s national and international agricultural science through the provision of land, facilities and funding. LAT, a charitable trust, owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom's Barn, including many of the buildings used by Rothamsted Research. LAT provides an annual research grant to the Director, accommodation for nearly 200 people, and support for fellowships for young scientists from developing countries. LAT also makes capital grants to help modernise facilities at Rothamsted, or invests in new buildings.