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11 July, 2021 - 19:30 By Tony Quested

Cream of the crop: New CEO pushes NIAB innovation agenda

Professor Mario Caccamo has been named as new chief executive of UK crop science organisation NIAB, which is headquartered in Cambridge.

He says NIAB is poised to “lead the transformation in agriculture, horticulture and food production in the UK and project it internationally.”

Trained computer scientists, Professor Caccamo will succeed retiring CEO Dr Tina Barsby in October. He is currently NIAB’s deputy director and managing director of NIAB EMR. 

He has more than 20 years’ experience in life science research and big data, including specific projects to apply the latest DNA sequencing technologies and bioinformatics methods to advance scientific understanding of crop genetics and the interaction of agricultural crops with their environment.

NIAB is the UK’s fastest growing crop science organisation, with rapidly expanding research capabilities in plant genetics, agronomy, farming systems and data science, the largest national field trials capability, and strong research links with industry, government and academia. 

With headquarters in Cambridge, and regional offices across the country, employing more than 400 people across the UK, NIAB provides scientific research, technical services and practical advice to improve the yield, efficiency and resilience of crop production across the arable, forage and horticulture sectors.

Professor Caccamo said: “There is no other organisation working in arable and horticulture crops in the UK that can credibly convey the commitment that NIAB has in the translation of science into practice to benefit growers and supply chains.

“NIAB has the scientific breadth and track record to rapidly respond to the challenges imposed by climate change and the opportunities opened by the UK’s current political landscape. 

“This includes cementing NIAB’s leadership role as the ‘go-to’ place for agriculture and horticulture innovation focused on these challenges, for example, in the uptake of protein crops, working towards a net-zero agenda, the effective adoption of automation and data science, and the development of modern breeding technologies.”

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