The CHAP Board

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.

Peter Quinn


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.

Fraser Black

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.

Caroline Drummond MBE

Non-executive Director

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 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.

Hannah Senior

Non-executive Director

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.

John Bloomer

Non-executive Director

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.

Jonathan Lea

Non-executive Director

An entrepreneur in science and technology expert services, Andrew joined Capita in 2015 to lead the establishment of Capita’s global science business. As CEO of Fera Science Ltd, Andrew is responsible for all aspects of Fera’s business, in its support of Defra and its affiliates, as well as its commercial services. In 2015 Fera led the consortium bid for the new UK Agri-Tech Centre in Crop Health and Protection, which he established, acting as its interim CEO. He continues to serve on its board. Andrew has a BSc in Chemistry, a PhD in Surface and Materials Science, both from the University of Manchester, and is a graduate of the London Business School Executive Development programme. He worked and lived in the Middle East for three years, returning to the UK in 2015.

Dr Andrew Swift

Non-executive Director

Charlie studied agriculture, trained as an agronomist and achieved BASIS and FACTS qualifications and began his career with UAM at Redhill in 1984. The company was later acquired by Cargill plc, where Charlie became Regional Sales Manager for East Anglia and the South-east. He took on the role of Business Manager for the northern region in 1995, based in Lincolnshire, and relocated to West Sussex three years later to manage the southern region. On the creation of Frontier Agriculture in 2005, he became Arable Inputs Director, with the title changing to Crop Production Director in 2014. Charlie is responsible for crop production strategy, coordinating agronomy, seed and fertiliser.

Charlie Whitmarsh

Frontier – Founder Member Representative

The CHAP team

CHAP staff are based at our head office in Sand Hutton, near York, but we can often be found travelling around the country visiting our partner organisations. 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….

Katie is our HR Manager having previously spent 10 years in commercial and administrative process improvement roles, working within the Education and MoD market sectors. In addition to her HR management role Katie also provides required support to the CHAP Executive team, co-ordinates CHAP event organisation and is often CHAP’s first point of contact. Interesting fact: Katie loves to travel, is a big fan of Harry Potter and is learning Spanish.

Katie Edwards

HR Manager

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. Interesting fact: 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.

Kelly Crowther-Riley

Finance Director

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. Interesting fact: 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!

Gemma Robinson

Assistant Accountant

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. Interesting fact: He 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.

Ed Mallows

Bid Manager

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. Interesting facts: 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.

Mae Woodcock

Accounts Clerk

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. She has completed a Nuffield Farming Scholarship where she spent 26 weeks travelling the world looking at international opportunities in agriculture. Jenna has received awards from LANTRA, CARAS, Helping it Happen, Aberdeen Business School, Association of MBA’s and Chartered Management Institute (CMI).  Jenna is highly published, and is an active STEM ambassador, LANTRA industry champion, Fellow of the CMI and Secretary for Nuffield Scotland. Jenna is CHAP’s International Business Development Manager, identifying business and grant opportunities in overseas regions. Interesting fact: Jenna is a self-proclaimed slug enthusiast with a passion for international travel!

Dr Jenna Ross

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. Interesting fact: Linsey loves running with her dogs, swimming and has completed three marathons.

Linsey Cresswell

Commercial Director

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. Interesting fact: Away from the office Chris enjoys ultra-long distance cycling and has completed both the Paris Brest Paris (1200km) and London Edinburgh London (1400km).

Chris Delf

Business Development 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. Interesting fact: 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.

Darren Hassall

Marketing Manager

Lorraine went into journalism after gaining a degree in English Language and Literature at Lancaster University. She worked as a Sub-Editor/Production Editor for many years working on a variety of print publications from trade journals, through consumer magazine to tabloid newspapers. She spent two years working as a Volunteer Communications Consultant with two Non-Governmental Organisations in Delhi to India, through Voluntary Service Overseas, and has since looked to work in the broader communications sector. Interesting fact: 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.

Lorraine Connolly

Content Manager

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 will have 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. Interesting fact: 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).  

Matthew Briggs

Membership Manager

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 Interesting fact: 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.

Dr Ruth Bastow

Innovation Director

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. Interesting fact: 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.

Dr Harry Langford

Innovation Network Lead

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. Interesting fact: 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.

Richard Glass

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. Interesting fact: 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.  

Amy Farrington

Innovation Sector Lead

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. Interesting facts: 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.

Kaisa Kantola

Research Technician, 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. Interesting fact: 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.

Ross McKellar

Research Assistant, IHCEA

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 at CHAP’s Fine Phenotyping Lab at Rothamsted Research. Interesting facts: Archita loves playing and watching cricket. Her childhood dream was to become a cricketer.

Dr Archita Barua

Research Project Associate, Fine Phenotyping Lab

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. Interesting fact: 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.

Faye McDiarmid

Research Assistant, Fine Phenotyping Lab

Nicholas worked in the golf industry for 10 years before joining CHAP. He started out as a professional golfer, and then turned his skills to Sports Turf Management, moving from apprenticeship through to achieving a golf course management qualification. He brings skills in team development and and management strategies to achieve a high standard. Also taken courses in Golf Course architecture, in which he redesigned his local club's short game area. Interesting fact: Nicholas is naturally competitive and became a professional golfer, at a Handicap of +1. He now enjoys cycling and races for a team based in Stratford-upon-Avon. He competes in both Road and Criterium (closed circuit) races, but his main interest is Time Trials, having come top in the National Time Trial Circuit Championship.

Nicholas Gardener

Horticultural and Glasshouse Technician, NLG Centre

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. Interesting fact: 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.

Sarah van Aswegen

Operations Director

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.  Skilled at managing client relationships, and looking forward to collaborating with the organisations Partners, industry and academics to deliver successful projects for CHAP. Interesting fact: 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!

Karen Donal

Capability Liaison 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. Interesting fact: 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.

James Godber

Assistant Project Manager

Laura has a wealth of experience in both the public and private sector, having managed a large diverse portfolio of events and projects throughout her career. She is also an agricultural college graduate who is passionate about CHAP and enjoys putting her skills to good use. Interesting fact: 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.  

Laura White

Assistant Project Manager


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