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IBERS Director appointed Chief Science Officer at CGIAR

IBERS Director appointed Chief Science Officer at CGIAR - 31 October 2013. Aberystwyth University
News from: Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences

Professor Wayne Powell, Director of the BBSRC-funded Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University 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, which receives strategic funding from BBSRC.

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."

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. Image: IBERS
Professor Powell. Image: IBERS

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 1 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.


The Welsh version of this press release is available at:


The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) is an internationally recognised research and teaching centre providing a unique base for research in response to global challenges such as food security, bioenergy and sustainability, and the impacts of climate change. IBERS scientists conduct basic, strategic and applied research from genes and molecules to organisms and the environment.

IBERS receives strategic research funding from the BBSRC to support long term mission driven research, and is a member of the National Institutes of Bioscience. IBERS also benefits from financial support from the Welsh Government, DEFRA and the European Union.

With 360 members of staff, IBERS is the largest Institute within Aberystwyth University, teaching 1350 undergraduate students and more than 150 postgraduate students, and is home to the National Plant Phenomics Centre, and the BEACON Centre of Excellence for Biorefining - a £20M partnership between Aberystwyth Bangor and Swansea Universities.

IBERS works with both academic and industrial partners, developing and translating innovative bioscience research into solutions designed to mitigate the impacts of climate change and plant and animal diseases, and deliver renewable energy and food and water security.

About Aberystwyth University

Established in 1872, Aberystwyth (in Welsh at: or in English at: is a leading teaching and research university and was awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2009. The University is a community of 12,000 students and 2,300 staff and is about creating opportunities, research with excellence that makes an impact, teaching that inspires, engaging the world, working in partnership and investing in our future. Registered charity No 1145141.


CGIAR is a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future. CGIAR research is dedicated to reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving human health and nutrition, and ensuring more sustainable management of natural resources. It is carried out by the 15 centres who are members of the CGIAR Consortium in close collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector.

External contact

Arthur Dafis, Communications and Public Affairs, Aberystwyth University

+44 1970 621763

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