IBERS Director appointed Chief Science Officer at CGIAR

professor wayne powellProfessor Wayne Powell, Director of Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) has been appointed as Chief Science Officer of the CGIAR Consortium.

Professor Powell joined Aberystwyth University in 2008 as the first Director of the newly established Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences.

During his five years leading the Institute, it has won a number of awards including The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education 2009 for international leadership in public good plant breeding, and has reached the shortlist for the Times Higher Education Awards 2013 in the Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology category. IBERS gained a BBSRC Excellence With Impact Award in 2011.

Since its establishment, IBERS has attracted significant research funding enabling the establishment of the National Plant Phenomics Centre, the £20m BEACON Biorefining Centre of Excellence; and the Waitrose sponsored Chair of Food and Farming, and Centre of Excellence for UK Farming (CEUKF).

Professor April McMahon, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said:

“Wayne Powell has been an excellent inaugural Director of IBERS, and has done a huge amount to advance the profile of the Institute and of Aberystwyth University in Wales and beyond. I have personally greatly enjoyed working with him. While I am sorry to see Wayne moving on from IBERS, and we will miss him, this is an exceptional opportunity for him to be involved at the highest level in the direction and funding of research in agriculture, on a far wider stage. We will be retaining links with Wayne and look forward to welcoming him back to Aberystwyth at regular intervals. He goes with all our best wishes, and we send congratulations both to Wayne personally and to CGIAR on securing such an excellent appointment.”

IBERS is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Professor Jackie Hunter, BBSRC Chief Executive, said; “Professor Powell has shown tremendous leadership in the establishment of IBERS as a major UK centre of research excellence and through working with industries to ensure the application of this research for maximum impact.

He has ensured a strong focus on addressing major challenges including enhanced but sustainable production from the land, global food security and opportunities in the bio economy for the use of agricultural feedstocks for bioenergy and other products. We wish Wayne Powell every success in his new position and look forward to continuing to grow the collaborations between BBSRC, BBSRC funded institutes and centres and CGIAR.”

Professor Powell said:

“I am proud and honoured to have led IBERS in its early years and I have enjoyed my time at Aberystwyth University immensely. I am confident that the Institute is now well placed to build on the successes of the past five years and I wish my successor well.

My new position offers a compelling and extremely exciting opportunity to play a significant role in shaping Global Research in the Developing World. I am very much looking forward to this challenge and the opportunity to contribute in an area in which I have had a long standing personal interest.”

In order to facilitate a smooth transition, from the 1st of January 2014 Professor Powell will share his time between IBERS and CGIAR before assuming the CGIAR role on a full time basis in April.

Aberystwyth University will now be taking immediate steps, working with BBSRC, to recruit a worthy successor to Professor Powell.

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