Our board members bring a wealth of experience and passion for farming to CHAP. From farmers to academics, entrepreneurs to environmentalists, CHAP is strengthened by their depth of knowledge on a wide variety of specialties, including scientific research, agronomy, commercial sales, business development, finance and industry. Click on the images to find out more….
Peter has extensive business leadership experience as CEO, MD & NED, creating enterprise value across a range of complex FMCG Brand & Private Label markets in Food & Drink, Manufacturing & Retail, Bio-Tech & Agri-Tech. He is currently CEO of Genius Foods and was previously divisional MD of Samworth Brothers and holds several NED positions in the Agri-Tech/Produce sector. Expert in transformational turnarounds and creation growth and valuation strategies through organisational alignment and ingenuity. He is also passionate about building business cultures committed to people and has served on the Boards of BITC Cares Charities dedicated to creating opportunities for disadvantaged young people through education and personal development. Peter holds an MBA and BSc(Hons) & PhD in Epigenetics & Microbiology and has published on the importance of nutrition to improve health & wellness in society. As Chairman of CHAP, he is committed to the vital function of science, technology and collaborative innovation to transform UK agriculture and sustainable food production.
Fraser has more than 30 years’ commercial experience (sales, marketing, and business and market development) in the Bioscience industry. He has lived and worked in the UK, Germany and the US in a variety of sectors that included President of Hoefer Pharmacia, San Francisco, Vice-President of Service, Americas for Amersham Biosciences and Global GM for Scientific Asset Services for GE Healthcare, Life Science Division. Fraser has taken leadership roles as Managing Director of BioCity Scotland and latterly as Managing Director of James Hutton Limited where the emphasis has been very much on the interface of academia, industry and government to drive industry lead Commercialisation of IP by building a Professional Services delivery approach.
Chief Executive Officer
Caroline has been running LEAF, the farming and environmental charity since it started in 1991. She graduated in Agriculture and has broad practical agricultural experience from across the globe. Her work focuses on encouraging more sustainable farming practices and building better public trust and understanding of farming, food and the environment – values that she is personally extremely passionate about. She is actively involved in many industry partnerships and initiatives. In 2009 Caroline was awarded the MBE, she has an Honorary Doctorate from Harper Adams University, a Nuffield Scholarship and was awarded Honorary Fellowship for the Society of the Environment. Caroline is actively involved with the British Nutrition Foundation, North Wyke, the Agri-tech initiative (CHAP), the IAgrM, and the Science Museum.
Hannah is an agri-tech entrepreneur. Her work with plant breeders and seed producers takes her across five continents. She is passionate about bringing change to agriculture through entrepreneurship, and mentors several start-ups. Hannah spent her early career at Tesco and Tesco.com during the dot-com boom, later transitioning to strategy consulting. She holds an MA (Oxon, double first) and an MBA from Stanford. Hannah holds a private pilot's licence and loves to fly light aircraft when she gets the chance.
John has 30 years’ commercial experience in international agribusiness, 25 years of which were in senior management and leadership roles in the agrochemical, biotechnology and seeds businesses of ICI, Zeneca and Syngenta. Since 2012 he has been an independent consultant and adviser within the international agricultural technology industry, bringing to a wide range of clients his experience in strategy, sales and marketing, R&D, licensing, mergers & acquisitions, creating and managing joint ventures and initiation of public-private partnerships. John has a strong network within the agricultural technology sector and is also a Non-executive Director of Elsoms (Spalding) Ltd.
Jonathan has wide international experience as a Finance Director and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. He was previously Group Finance Director of FTSE 250 business Coats plc and, in the not-for-profit sector, was CFO of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), where he became interested in the sustainability of the food production and distribution system. He is also currently a Trustee of the Internet Watch Foundation, where he chairs the Audit Committee and is Treasurer of the Galapagos Conservation Trust.
Martin has been involved in the horticultural sector at a senior level for more than 35 years. He has succeeded in many different environments and is capable of taking on new roles which require lateral thinking, innovative answers and team leadership. Experienced at the forefront of the industry in technical, management and executive positions, he is also one of the few people to be awarded the M. Hort (RHS) as well as being one of the youngest. He has managed farming operations all over the world at the same time as managing multiple production sites in the UK. More recently, Martin has re-introduced baby Chantenay carrots, as well as new strains of purple and white Chantenay carrots. He has also been involved as a director of Stockbridge Technology Centre and the HDC/AHDB for many years and is currently on the board of several other organisations. As well as being a qualified practitioner of agronomy, he is a qualified teacher, lectures part time and holds a MBA.
CHAP staff are mainly based at our head office in Sand Hutton, near York, although as we take on more staff we are also spreading out across the country with staff located in offices in Dundee, Harpenden, and Warwick, or working from home in Oxford, Wales and several other locations. Due to COVID-19 we are not travelling around the country visiting our partner organisations, but do keep in regular virtual contact and hope to be able to resume site visits in 2021. We are all committed to fulfilling the CHAP mission to build networks of leading scientists, farmers, advisors, innovators and businesses to understand industry priorities, develop innovative solutions and translate them into the field to ensure market adoption. Through this we aim to achieve our vision to advance crop productivity for a sustainable future. Click on the images to find out more….
Ruth has a Ph.D in Plant Biology and has held research posts both nationally and internationally. She left the bench to pursue a career in science strategy, policy and communication initially with GARNet and then established the UK Plant Sciences Federation and was awarded the Society of Biology Presidents Medal for support of the UK Plant Sciences Community. Ruth has held several leadership roles including Executive Director of the Global Plant Council, where she coordinated the activities of 28 member national, regional and international plant, crop and soil societies to facilitate the development of plant science for global challenges When not working with our partners and wider community to dream up new and innovative projects Ruth can usually be found in Wales walking the dog, working hard in the garden or out enjoying the open road.
Harry has a background in soil science and geomicrobiology, with a PhD in Environmental Science from The University of Sheffield. He has worked in postdoctoral and scientific coordination roles for the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and The University of Sheffield, focusing on soil microaggregate structure and landscape-scale environmental observation systems. Before joining CHAP he spent three years working as a Knowledge Exchange Fellow for the N8 AgriFood Resilience Programme, building and leading an innovation cluster on Urban & Controlled Environment Agriculture and delivering knowledge exchange focused on soil health and sustainable agriculture. Harry is an expert in cryoconite and spent his PhD traversing glaciers in Svalbard; he also plays badminton competitively and enjoys walking in the Peak District.
Innovation Network Lead
As Research Associate for New Innovations, Jemma is based at our office at Rothamsted Research. Jemma did her BSc in Plant Science at the University of Nottingham. She then went on to work at Warwick HRI on a research project looking at understanding flowering time in lettuce. She later became a rocket scientist by taking a PhD at the University of Warwick looking at breeding late bolting varieties of rocket. Jemma has continued working in both industry and academia, and with a range of crops, including lupins for Ethiopia while at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Jemma works in the Innovation Team, meeting stakeholders and developing business cases for new ideas to support the agri-tech industry. Jemma enjoys learning new things and having new experiences, which over the past few years has meant skiing, safari in Kenya, horse riding lessons, salsa dance classes, jewellery making and some unusual baking recipes!
Research Associate for New Innovations
Aurélie, a knowledge exchange and business development professional, has more than 10 years’ experience engaging and working with UK and international organisations and stakeholders to deliver innovation in the agrifood sector. A molecular plant biologist by background, Aurélie has gained a broad view on innovation and a cross-cutting R&D knowledge across an array of industry sectors and technologies through prior roles at Agrimetrics, the Biorenewables Development Centre and the Knowledge Transfer Network. Aurelie has also previously worked at CHAP and is thrilled to be back to work on the Gelponics project. Aurélie enjoys independent travel and the outdoors. A keen Capoeira practitioner (Brazilian Martial Art), she is a co-founder of the non-profit ‘Capoeira in York Community’, where she assists teaching teaches children's classes.
Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Associate (Gelponics)
Richard began his career at the Food and Environment Research Agency where he coordinated a wide range of projects dealing with aspects of pesticide application and exposure, working closely with southern European countries. This involved EU and EFSA funded projects dealing with models and risk assessments for aggregate and cumulative exposure. At Fera he was also involved with training related to the Sustainable Use Directive particularly with protected crops in areas such as Almería, which has seen rapid changes to Integrated Pest Management and biological control. After a short period working for a multinational CRO Richard joined CHAP in 2018. As a Spanish speaker he has been involved with post graduate teaching in Latin America and Spain. Richard grew up on the family mixed arable beef farm in Co. Durham and has a keen interest in aviation, particularly as an Avro Vulcan crashed on the family farm in 1971.
Innovation Sector Lead
Amy is based in York but lives by the sea in Mid-wales. She has spent the past six years working as lead technician with the grass breeding team at IBERS, Aberystwyth University, breeding globally renowned grass varieties for the forage industry. Specialising in grass pathology within a UK climate and sustainable grassland systems, she has a keen interest in biological controls and alternatives to chemical pesticides. As well as taking on the role of Sector Lead at CHAP and raising a family (both full-time jobs), Amy is currently completing her MRes in the identification and utilisation of fungal endophytes in perennial ryegrass. Amy started her career in a completely different industry, studying costume construction, producing work for film, theatre, circus and festival performers. And she can still be found making the occasional wedding dress or fancy dress outfit.
Innovation Sector Lead
Martin has more than 30 years’ experience of technical management in commercial horticulture and a B.Sc. and M. Phil. in Plant Science from the University of Nottingham. His interest at CHAP is Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). Martin’s experience prior to joining CHAP covers the design and operation of commercial plant tissue culture facilities, glasshouse technical management and post-harvest technical consulting for ornamental crops. For a number of years Martin was part of a team maintaining the Plant Heritage National Collection of Alstroemeria and enjoyed showing the collection several times at the Royal Horticultural Society Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.
Innovation Sector Lead
Réka is based at Warwick University but lives in Evesham, near the beautiful Cotswolds. A bioengineer with a PhD in chemistry from Budapest University of Technology (Hungary), she has 20 years’ experience across academia and industry, including CSIRO Plant Industry, EU JRC IRMM and Campden BRI. Réka has worked on projects in cereal science, food allergen detection, proteomics, food and protein analytics, food biosciences and food flavour development. She also has commercial experience working with international clients within the agrifood, food and drink industry. Reka likes challenging tasks, multi-disciplinary and innovative projects and is looking forward to helping CHAP work to build a sustainable agrifood system. Réka likes being outdoors, spontaneous travelling and has enjoyed rock climbing in Hungary and Australia. She practices martial arts and loves cooking, baking and spending time with her family.
Innovation Sector Lead
Alex joins CHAP's head office in York to build its network of academic and research partners, support research projects, horizon scan for new technologies, and to be a key contact for scientific/technical enquiries. With a background in Agriculture, spanning work on farms, in industry, and in crop protection R&D roles, he understands the problems that face the sector and potential solutions. This experience is underpinned by his BSc (Hons.) in Crop Management and PhD from Harper Adams University. He has also worked at the University of Warwick on Innovate UK and AHDB sponsored projects examining novel disease management in vegetable crops. Alex is fuelled by his passion for translating research from the laboratory to the field and looks forward to driving innovation with CHAP partners to feed the future. Originally from Yorkshire, Alex looks forward to returning to York with his partner and collection of more than 40 houseplants.
Scientific Support Coordinator
In her role as Innovation Content and Outreach Coordinator, Andreea will be working closely with the Innovation and Marketing teams at CHAP to write and source compelling content, as well as building and maintaining the network of contributors. Previous to joining CHAP, Andreea worked in the medical communications sector where she successfully supported the delivery of highly engaging medical educational events to healthcare professionals worldwide. She has a BSc (Hons.) degree in Microbiology and a PhD in Biochemistry and Biotechnology, both from University of Glasgow. During her spare time Andreea is a photographer and enjoys exploring new places with her camera, swimming and watching the latest David Attenborough documentaries.
Innovation Content and Outreach Coordinator
As a farmer’s daughter from Aberdeenshire, Jenna has a passion for driving innovation in agriculture. Jenna holds a PhD in Environmental Science, as well as an MBA, and has more than 10 years’ experience working on various international projects across North America, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. She has completed a Nuffield Farming Scholarship, winning the Nuffield HSBC Silver Salver award in 2020, and is now the current Chairman of Nuffield Scotland. Jenna is also a Director of the Oxford Farming Conference, Honorary Fellow at the University of Aberdeen, Chartered Manager and Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, Associate of CARAS, founding board member of the Africa Scotland Business Network and Co-Chair of the IOBC Slug & Snails Group. Jenna is highly published and has won an array of business and agricultural awards. She is also passionate about inspiring the next generation of agriculturalists through her work as a STEM ambassador, LANTRA industry Champion and Lead on the OFC Scholars programme. As CHAP’s International Business Development Manager, Jenna works to identify business and grant opportunities in overseas regions. Jenna is a self-proclaimed slug enthusiast with a passion for international travel!
International Business Development Manager
Linsey has a strong commercial background (technical services, sales, marketing, business development) with experience throughout the Life Science Sector, leaving the laboratory bench over 30 years ago. Linsey has worked for Amersham International plc, GE Healthcare and set up her own company in 2005, LLC Associates Limited, to provide commercial resource to the Life Science Industry. Linsey holds a science degree and an MBA. Linsey loves running with her dogs, swimming and has completed three marathons.
Chris has more than 20 years’ experience of agronomy and crop protection. He did his degree at Newcastle University, started out as an advisory agronomist then moved into crop protection. He holds the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection and is a member of the BASIS Professional Register. He has dealt with a wide range of arable crops and grassland management, as well as having some experience in seed treatments. He is also interested in the countryside in general and how farming affects the wider environment. Away from the office Chris enjoys ultra-long distance cycling and has completed both the Paris Brest Paris (1200km) and London Edinburgh London (1400km).
Business Development Manager
CIPR-qualified Janine began her career at Harper Adams University in the press office, where she specialised in scientific PR. Having enjoyed a range of commercial marketing roles including brand management, she found her niche in crop protection. She worked for both a global manufacturer and an agronomy services company, converting technical information into marketing to make science accessible. She later returned to Harper to complete the BASIS foundation award in agronomy and crop science. Given her farming background, Janine says joining CHAP was a natural progression. Janine relaxes with a range of activities including playing the bassoon, taking dance lessons, sketching and crocheting. Her beloved Parson Russell terrier Jacky keeps her on her toes.
Strategic Marketing Manager
Darren hails from a varied media background and has worked at a whole host of media outlets including the Metro, the Evening Standard, Radio Aire and Minster FM. Before this he plied his trade at a food and drink magazine and website platform that he built and ran. He was responsible for the overall branding of the organisation as well as taking the lead on the marketing and communications strategy. He consequently became a digital marketing and social media expert. Darren is an avid supporter of Liverpool Football Club and followed them to glory in Istanbul in 2005. He lived in Hong Kong in the year of the handover in 1997 and in Tokyo from 2000 to 2006. He speaks fluent Japanese and has written a YA Fantasy novel.
Lorraine began her career in journalism, working as a Sub-Editor/Production Editor for many years on a variety of print publications including trade journals, consumer magazines, newspapers and supplements. She then spent two years in Delhi, India, working as a Volunteer Communications Consultant with two Non-Governmental Organisations, through Voluntary Service Overseas. After returning to the UK, she moved back to Yorkshire, working in the broader communications sector, before joining CHAP, first as Technical Writer and then moving to her current role. While living in Delhi, Lorraine ended up ‘accidentally’ taking part in the Olympic Torch cavalcade through the city, riding in one the sponsor’s official cars and waving to crowds along the route.
Matthew has worked in the charitable sector for membership organisations for the previous five years, including three years at the Royal Geographical Society. He holds a BA(Hons) in Modern History. As CHAP’s membership manager Matthew will be based in York. He has responsibility for the management and continuing development of the membership programme. Before making the move to Membership management, he worked in retail banking, teaching and lived and worked in Australia. Matthew is an avid football and cricket fan (Huddersfield Town). He loves to travel and is a keen walker. On his travels he has climbed Mt Rinjani (in Lombok) and New Zealand’s Mt Ngauruhoe (a.k.a. Mt Doom from Lord of the Rings).
Sandy has five years’ experience in the event industry, having worked in an event agency that organized events with robots and new technologies all over Europe, which involved a lot of travel. Prior to joining CHAP she worked for a luxury car company, developing their strategy, managing their budgets and organising their attendance to show, product launches or conferences. Originally from France, Sandy has been living in England for several years and sees her role as CHAP’s Event Manager as an opportunity to create networks and gatherings to ensure the development of tomorrow’s agriculture for future generations. She lives in Oxford and will be based in Harpenden. Although Sandy is French, she prefers tea to coffee, and enjoys basketball and cooking. She is a keen traveller and has already notched up nine European countries and hopes to add to her list when COVID allows. Sandy also has a cat called Jared, who she says looks like the Grumpy Cat.
Rebecca is CHAP’s social media marketing executive. Her previous experience in Social Media Management, Marketing and Communications was gained working at York St John University and the York Walls Festival. She has a first class degree in English Literature and Media Studies. In her spare time she reaches for her guitar, having taught herself to play, and loves to read. When younger, she lived in the ‘Wheat State’ of Kansas.
Social Media Marketing Executive
Monique brings 25 years’ experience in negotiation, co-ordination and working closely with suppliers, to provide support in the areas of cost-effective print, distribution, market research, advertising and event solutions. Working alongside Senior Management Teams, Monique supports the commercial and marketing teams, providing tight budgetary management and control. A reliable team player, she is always willing to lend a hand. Monique loves spending time in France, enjoying the culture and way of life. Back home, she loves organising events and socialising with friends and family and taking care of her health – a Pilates mat or walking boots are always close to hand.
Commercial Support Executive
Kelly, in her role as Finance Director at CHAP, leads the finance function and team and is also an active member of the executive management team. She gained more than 10 years’ experience in the manufacturing and construction industry, during one of the most difficult global recessions which required businesses to show improvements to internal procedures and working practices. Most recently she has held a board level position in a SME within the manufacturing sector, which required a diverse skillset from sound corporate governance, to effective change processes. Kelly holds an MSc degree and is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Outside of work, Kelly owns an Irish Setter and truly believes they are the most good natured and affectionate dogs. She hates having her photo taken and has been known to exhibit moderate competitiveness in team-building escape room games.
Vanessa, as CHAP’s Financial Controller, manages the day to day financial needs of the business, reporting to the Finance Director. She brings 20 years’ experience in financial management, analysis and business partnering roles across a range of Global and UK based companies in different sectors including Financial Services, Railway, Business Process Outsourcing, Creative Production & Sourcing. She holds a BA (Hons) Accounting & Finance degree from Leeds Metropolitan University and is a Fellow (FCCA) with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. As the mother of two young boys Vanessa says she spends most weekends burning energy around the grounds of Yorkshire’s stately homes, castles and gardens. She is also using the commute to work to learn Spanish, in the hope of being able to take a holiday abroad again sometime.
Gemma previously worked in the care home industry as an Assistant Accountant, and also has experience in the insurance sector. She is in the process of completing a degree in Accounting and Language, after which she plans to continue her studies with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Gemma is fluent in German and it is her mission to ensure her baby daughter learns the language too – if only so that mother and daughter will be able to gloat (in later years) that she speaks it better than her Dad. Gemma also loves to bake, sweet or savoury, and colleagues are often treated to her wares. However, she is now trying to teach herself how to cook!
Mark has more than 14 years’ experience working within a projects setting, the majority of this time was spent within the rail service industry working on both long term maintenance contracts and short term refresh projects ranging from £10m to £100m. More recently he has worked within the steel manufacturing industry, where he used his considerable excel skills to enable the business to improve the efficiency of their internal reporting. Mark has a BA in Business and Management, Association of Project Managers Fundamental qualification and is working towards his Chartered Institute of Management Accountants qualifications. Interesting/fun fact: Mark is a bit of a plane spotter and spent five years loading aircraft for the RAF in the UK and abroad.
Ed has more than 11 years’ experience in a variety of bidding roles across the IT and higher education sectors, and across grant funded projects, contract research and commercial tendering. He has achieved wins up to £45 million, positions on 20 highly competitive framework agreements and has worked on numerous industry-academia partnerships. Ed has a strong background in sales, marketing and commercial roles and held a board level position within an innovative IT research and development SME. Ed has a BSc (Hons) in Social Psychology and holds the APMP (Association of Proposal Management Professionals) qualification. He is also an experienced project manager and has PRINCE2 certification. Ed enjoys working with international partners and customers. Ed spent several years working in Europe and is an enthusiastic traveller. As a break from bidding he enjoys pursuing his interest in cars and driving.
Mae brings 12 years’ experience of working in finance to CHAP. She began her career within the construction industry at the age of 17, where she worked in sales and marketing for just over a year as Customer Enquiry Assistant, before moving across into the finance department where she worked as an Accounts Assistant for a further six years. Following this she moved on to work in the farming industry for an animal feed manufacturer, as Finance Assistant. Mae is a self-confessed nature geek who loves anything to do with animals, though she is particularly fond of cows. She loves to travel, and picked up the snorkelling bug while swimming with turtles in the Maldives. Closer to home, Mae enjoys fishing and country walks.
Born and raised in Rutland in the East Midlands, Matt has recently relocated to York and joins CHAP with five years’ experience as a finance assistant, mainly within a local authority. He has a Business Studies with Accounting and Finance Degree from the University of the West of England and specialises in Microsoft Excel. Matt is big into Country music, Airsoft and Motorsport but his most interesting fact is that he has been bitten by a tiger (the part that is normally left out is that it was only three months old at the time)
Sarah has a strong operational and delivery background with experience across B2B, B2C, airline, technology, education, government and corporate sectors. She has worked with start-ups and SMEs through to £multi-billion organisations. Having worked as an independent consultant in Digital/Business Transformation for 10 years she has led a number of large-scale national and pan-European complex programme deliveries. Sarah holds Chartered Manager status with the Chartered Management Institute, as well as being a Fellow member of the Institute of Consulting. Sarah is a classical pilates enthusiast, spending much of her spare time practising in the studio. She also enjoys stand up paddle boarding (SUP) having caught the bug while travelling.
Katie is our HR Manager having joined CHAP in 2018 as Office Manager. Prior to CHAP Katie spent 10 years in commercial and administrative process improvement roles, working within the Education and MoD market sectors. Having successfully achieved her diploma in HRM Katie now looks after the Human Resources function in addition to supporting the executive team and Board. Katie loves to travel, is a big fan of Harry Potter and is learning Spanish.
Sophie, originally from Northallerton, graduated from Liverpool John Moores University in 2019 with a MA in History. After completing her studies,she worked in a veterinary practice, focusing on marketing, client relations and administrative duties working there for just over a year. Sophie’s role within CHAP is to provide admin support to senior management and the wider CHAP team. Additionally, she assists in co-ordinating CHAP’s event organisation, alongside other administrative duties. Sophie is a massive film buff and heads to the cinema whenever possible. She has spent time travelling across America in a campervan, loves to go on country walks, and as a true Northerner enjoys a good cup of tea!
Matt studied Geology at University of Leeds for four years, ending in 2015. He then moved to work in recruitment then telesales at Npower Business in Leeds. While working in this role he used Salesforce for the first time, and moved laterally into a project manager role that involved managing change in Salesforce. In 2010 Matt was involved in making the biggest sticky toffee pudding in the world, for a TV show presented by Matt Dawson. Matt's team made in excess of 600kg of cake. Next stop Bake Off?
Salesforce Administrator and IT Project Manager
Corrie is an experienced Project and Programme Manager and holds the Prince2 Practitioner qualification. She has worked as an independent consultant for 8 years delivering strategic IT business transformation as part of large merger and acquisitions projects in the manufacturing, marine and logistics sectors. Background is operational business systems analysis, application rationalisation and software delivery. Corrie plays the classical guitar, collects RUSH memorabilia and enjoys prog rock gigs. She also loves gaming. She spent 14 years living in Spain and speaks Spanish.
Senior Project Manager
James previously worked in law for 10 years as a Litigation Executive and after careful consideration, decided that a career change into project management was the right fit for him. James recently completed his PRINCE 2 Practitioner qualification. James is one-quarter German (his grandmother is from Berlin) and in his spare time is trying to learn the language that most people expect him to be already fluent in! He also has a caring side and is registered on the Anthony Nolan Trust register as a stem cell donor.
Assistant Project Manager
Laura has a wealth of experience in both the public and private sector, having previously managed a large diverse portfolio of events and projects in her career. As an integral part of the PMO Team Laura has experience of delivering InnovateUK Projects. She is skilled at managing client relationships, project reporting and implementing project controls throughout the life-cycle of projects, while collaborating with partners, industry and academics to ensure success. Laura is also an actress and can be found treading the boards outside of work. She also works on corporate videos and does voiceover work.
Assistant Project Manager
Karen is an experienced Project/Programme Manager, with the APM Project Management Qualification. Work experience includes leading and controlling projects as wide ranging as Type45 warship support to bringing innovative new technology into warehousing and logistics. Karen is skilled at managing client relationships, and looking forward to collaborating with the organisations partners, industry and academics to deliver successful projects for CHAP. Karen has lived up and down the country, spent a year in Malaysia and recently settled near York. She says she would like to spend more time playing golf to try to get her handicap down!
Capability Liaison Manager
In and around a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in History, Alex has almost 10 years’ experience working in a variety of project management and co-ordination roles in both the academic and professional sectors. He has co-ordinated projects for an international construction company, a private health economics consortium and for the Universities of Birmingham and York. He has also worked for the British Library in London – the perks of a History degree! He is looking forward to putting his skills to good use in his new role as Capability Co-ordinator. Alex spent Summer 2020 working full time for a local residential care home for adults with learning and physical difficulties. It was a huge change to anything he had previously done but he loved doing my bit and is continuing to work there in a voluntary setting.
Lucy recently graduated from the University of York where she did an integrated masters in Biology, primarily focusing on plant science and culminating in a dissertation that explored nickel uptake in stomatal density mutants. Her degree included a year in industry at the agricultural consultancy ADAS, which involved assisting with field trials to test plant protection products on various crops. This helped shape an interest in balancing crop yield enhancement with sustainable and ecologically-considerate practises. In her new role with CHAP, Lucy will be working to enhance communication with Stockbridge Technology Centre as well as providing technical support for the capabilities located at STC. At university Lucy spent her spare time tap dancing as part of the dance society, but now you’ll often find her painting, crocheting or trying to identify random plants. Her dream to grow her own vegetables must be closer to realisation thanks to the facilities and experts at STC, where Lucy is based.
Technical Liaison Officer, STC
Laura is no stranger to Cranfield, as before joining CHAP, she completed her PhD in the “Agronomy and Economics of two novel energy crops (Sida hermaphrodita and Silphium perfoliatum)” at the University. Before starting the PhD, she acquired Project Management experience through various roles in the environmental, energy and public sector. She first graduated in Agriculture at the University of La Rioja, Spain, and during that degree experience spent some time on an Erasmus at the University of Helsinki in Finland. She went on to complete a MEng in Forestry at the University of Cordoba in Spain, and an MSc in Renewable Energy Technologies at Cranfield University. Outside of work and studying, Laura is interested in nature, arts (currently experimenting with watercolours) and living a healthy lifestyle. She also has a love for Dachshunds and will happily dog-sit if needed!
Technical Liaison Officer, Cranfield University
Before joining CHAP, Archita worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Liverpool John Moores University, where she developed research interests in studying slugs and finding their biological control measures. Archita is originally from Assam, the Tea capital of India. She holds a PhD degree in Entomology from Gauhati University, India. In parallel to her PhD, she also worked as a Research Fellow at Tocklai Tea Research Institute India (the world’s oldest institute for tea research) for five years in various projects related to the management of tea pests. During 2018-19, Archita also worked for Vigyan Prasar, Delhi, the communication wing of the Department of Science and Technology, India. In her current role with CHAP, Archita is based in Egham at CABI’s laboratories. Archita loves playing and watching cricket. Her childhood dream was to become a cricketer.
Technical Liaison Officer, CABI
Sophie has a keen interest in plants and fungi. After graduating with a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Bath in 2016, she worked in the crop protection sector, first in industry at Syngenta, and later at the University of Exeter where she investigated fungal pathogens of plants on a molecular scale. Her most recent role at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew enabled her to study the impact of human activity on plant and microbial communities, using samples collected from the Valdivian forest in Argentina. In her current role with CHAP Sophie is based at CABI , where part of CHAP’s National Reference Collection is hosted. She hopes to be involved in the identification of novel biopesticides from organisms in this collection, and to encourage other members and researchers to utilise this valuable resource further. Interesting/fun fact: Sophie is originally from Cornwall, which is where her love for nature and the outdoors comes from. In her spare time she enjoys volunteering in the conservation sector – planting trees, carrying out ecological surveys and restoring habitats.
National Reference Collection Technician, CABI
Kaisa has an MRes in Marine and Fisheries Science from the University of Aberdeen and a strong background in multidisciplinary practical research. She has worked on international research projects, ranging from seed mussel bed ecology (University of Bangor), lobster stock assessments in north-west Hawaiian Islands (University of Manoa in Hawaii), and sea lice sentinel cage work (Marine Scotland, Science) to stream thermal energy balance assessments in relation to riparian land use (University of Birmingham and Marine Scotland, Science). Kaisa loves technology and in her current role with CHAP is based at the IHCEA at James Hutton Institute in collaboration with Liberty Produce. Kaisa is a keen martial artist and practices Brazilian jiu jitsu. She relaxes by doing yoga and knitting (not at the same time!) and tinkers with various high tech aquascaping and fish breeding systems.
Research Associate, IHCEA
Ross has a BSc degree in Biological Sciences and is finishing an MSc by Research degree in Agritech (University of Dundee). His studies have focused on domestic crop pathogen molecular pathways, including the oomycete pathogen phytophthora capsici. He is versed in a wide range of practical analytical techniques including molecular cloning, protein chemistry and in vitro approaches (evaluating mass spectroscopy data and statistics). A fascination with the future of hydroponics and its role in feeding the ever growing population led him to join CHAP. In his current role, based at the James Hutton Institute, he aims to maintain and further develop efficient and self-sustaining vertical farming systems. Ross is an avid heavy metal fan, and his summers - when possible - involve attending several concerts. He also enjoys going to the gym with friends to socialise.
Research Assistant, IHCEA
Faye has a degree in Biological Sciences from University College London (UCL). She completed a science internship at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, working primarily on the conservation of threatened native orchids, utilizing their vital relationship with mycorrhizal fungi. Faye’s interest in agriculture was sparked by her previous role as a Scientific Technician at Rothamsted Research, conducting experiments to investigate herbicide resistance in black-grass. In her current role with CHAP, Faye is based at CHAP’s Fine Phenotyping Lab at Rothamsted Research. As a keen gardener, Faye is a big Monty Don fan. She also loves making - and eating - fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut with her own home-grown produce.
Research Assistant, Fine Phenotyping Lab
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