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….
John graduated from Nottingham University in 1973 with a first class honours degree in Agriculture. The experience nurtured a lifelong passion for soils, crop physiology and good science – especially when the three come together! From Nottingham John returned to the family business, Cobrey Farms in the Wye Valley at Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, where he pioneered the production of ‘second crop’ autumn new potatoes, the cultivation of ‘overwintered’ bulb onions and doubled the length of the British asparagus season, now producing and packing some 45% of the British crop. President of the Cambridge University Potato Growers’ Research Association. Having largely handed over management of the family business to his sons, Henry and Christopher, he now has more time for crop and soil research trials on the farm. John loves point-to-point and national hunt racing and returned to race riding in point-to-points in his sixties until, following a fall and concussion, he said ‘My wife persuaded me to give up’!
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.
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.
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.
Frontier – Founder Member Representative
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 Office 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 office 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.
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.
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!
Louise worked for the Central Science Laboratory/Fera for 20 years as a Finance Clerk, over that time she worked in numerous roles within the department, which expanded her skills and experience within a finance environment. She left due to voluntary redundancy and took on a totally new role working as an Assistant Manager in a busy convenience store. While this was both challenging and enjoyable, she took the decision to return to a finance environment. Interesting fact: Away from work Louise enjoys being a Mum and keeping fit - two activities that tend to go hand-in-hand.
Purchase Ledger Clerk
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.
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).
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.
Head of Marketing
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.
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.
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.
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.
Innovation Hub Lead
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 biocontrol projects. She has completed a Nuffield Farming Scholarship, and 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 CMI and Secretary for Nuffield Scotland. Jenna oversees CHAP’s capabilities at Rothamsted, Cranfield and CABI. Interesting fact: Jenna is a self-proclaimed slug enthusiast with a passion for international travel!
Innovation Hub Lead
Aurélie has 10 years’ experience engaging and working with a UK and international stakeholders, from start-ups and regional SMEs to multinationals as well as academic, funding and governmental organisations, enabling them to collaborate to adopt, develop and deliver innovation, including in complex technological areas, to drive socio-economic changes and growth. Prior to CHAP, Aurélie has worked with Agrimetrics, the Biorenewables Development Centre and the Biosciences KTN, where she gained a broad view on the innovation landscape and a cross-cutting R&D knowledge from a range of industrial sectors and disciplines relevant to the agri-tech/agri-food sectors and the wider bioeconomy. Aurélie has 10 years’ experience in laboratories and specialist technical knowledge in Plants Sciences, and holds a Ph.D in Molecular Biology and Genetics. Interesting fact: Aurélie enjoys independent travel and the outdoors. A keen practitioner of the Brazilian (martial) art of Capoeira, she is also involved in the running of the Capoeira in York Community.
Innovation Grant/Project Development
Emma worked at the James Hutton Institute (formerly SCRI) for more than 16 years, first doing her PhD in molecular biology there as a University of Dundee student, then working as a research assistant for 12 years on blackleg and soft rot of potato caused by the bacterium Pectobacterium atrosepticum. In her current role for CHAP Emma remains based in Invergowrie, working in a controlled environment growth facility in partnership with Liberty Produce. Interesting fact: Emma likes to spend her free time pursuing various activities with her family and walking her pug called Dolly Pugton (when Dolly decides she feels like walking).
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.
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!
Senior PMO Manager
Corrie is an experienced Project and Programme Manager and holds the Prince2 Practitioner qualification. She has worked as an independent consultant for eight years delivering strategic IT business transformation as part of large merger and acquisitions projects in the manufacturing, marine and logistics sectors. Corrie’s background is operational business systems analysis, application rationalisation and software delivery. Interesting fact: 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.
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. 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.
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.
For more information on our capabilities or to discuss a collaboration and/or grant for a commercially funded project, complete the form below.