Rothamsted Research have appointed Professor Angela Karp as the Institute’s new Director and CEO. Charlotte Cunningham reports.

Angela had been acting as interim director since December last year, in addition to her role as director for Science Innovation, Engagement and Partnerships. She is the first female director of the Institute since it was founded in 1843.

“I feel very excited, and hugely proud, to be taking up this role at a time when agriculture is undergoing such significant transformation,” she says.

“It’s a time of great opportunities, but also of considerable challenges, as farmers strive to identify the most resilient, viable and sustainable routes to providing nutritious, healthy food while also enhancing and protecting the environment.

“With its world class resources, breadth and depth of knowledge of agricultural systems, ability to engage across the sector and 177 year old brand, Rothamsted Research is in a unique position to make significant contributions through agricultural  science and innovation, while also providing independent evidence-based analysis and advice to society.”

35 years experience

With more than 35 years’ experience in crop genetics and breeding for food and bio-renewables, Angela has more than 130 refereed publications, co-authored a textbook on genetics, and is co-editor of books on genetics and bioenergy.

In 2007, she received the Royal Agricultural Society of England Research Medal and, in 2008, the Alfred-Toepfer Prize for her research achievements.

More recently she has led the institute’s overall strategy on external engagement and partnerships. This included developing new mechanisms for collaborative innovation, including a new accelerator initiative (AgRIA) to co-develop agri-food solutions with businesses and the climate change investment programme SHAKE.

“I look forward to working with everyone at Rothamsted, and our partners in institutes and universities, as well as in the private sector, to ensure Rothamsted Research continues to play a leading role in developing impactful solutions to the challenges facing agriculture now, and in the years ahead,” she said.

Rothamsted Research is core-funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, and works in partnership with the Lawes Agricultural Trust which owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom’s Barn, and supports Rothamsted Research’s national and international agricultural scientific research through the provision of land, facilities and funding.

The Institute also runs the North Wyke Farm Platform in Devon which focusses on research into livestock systems.

“This was a unanimous decision by the Board, and we are absolutely delighted that Angela is taking up the role permanently,” says chair of the Rothamsted Research Board, Sir John Beddington.

“Her leadership during the last few months, including her effective handling of the COVID crisis, has been outstanding.  We look forward to working with her to move Rothamsted into the exciting next chapter of its illustrious history.”