Wayne Powell to lead SRUC

Plant scientist Professor Wayne Powell has been appointed as principal and chief executive of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) from July 1st 2016.

Janet Swadling has been acting chief executive and principal since December 2013 when Professor Bob Webb resigned suddenly after just 18 months in the top job, a period which saw the merger of Barony, Elmwood and Oatridge Colleges with the Scottish Agricultural College to form the SRUC. She will revert to the role of deputy principal and chief executive from July.

Prof Powell is currently chief science officer at the CGIAR Consortium, based in Montpelier, France. It is an international partnership organisation that focuses on agricultural R&D in areas such as cereals, agroforestry, livestock and climate change. Previous roles include six years as the director of IBERS at Aberystwyth University, director of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) in Cambridge and deputy director of the Scottish Crop Research Institute (now the James Hutton Institute).

“Land-based research is becoming increasingly important in a world where food and nutrition security and climate change are the top challenges facing governments across the globe,” states Prof Powell. “I believe SRUC has a key role to play in tackling these important issues. The research portfolio combines areas like precision agriculture, animal and crop health, and rural communities, and it is this holistic approach that gives SRUC a vital edge in the sector. The college also excels in its education and consulting activities and it is this combination of cutting edge expertise and knowledge exchange activities that ensures SRUC has such a comprehensive understanding of the bigger picture.”

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Prof Powell as principal and chief executive of SRUC,” says SRUC chairman Pat Machray. “His strong track record in agricultural research and knowledge transfer will allow him to drive SRUC’s academic vision, which includes gaining degree awarding powers, and once more achieving a world-leading result in the Research Excellence Framework (REF).