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Board of Directors

Chair: Ian Gambles

Ian GamblesIan Gambles is the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission. Previously, Ian was Director of National Infrastructure at the Planning Inspectorate, and Director of Operations at the Infrastructure Planning Commission. His career has spanned both the public and private sectors, including HM Treasury and management consultancy firms KPMG and Deloitte. He also ran his own consultancy business for a number of years, focusing on strategy and business management within the public sector. Ian is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.




Susan Davies

Photograph of Susan Davies

Susan Davies is currently Director of Conservation with the Scottish Wildlife Trust. Prior to this Susan spent over 25 years in the public sector, latterly as the acting CEO of Scottish Natural Heritage, working on international, UK and Scottish nature conservation policy and practice. She led the science advisory teams of Scottish Natural Heritage and took a secondment into Scottish Government to oversee the management and development of the rural affairs, food and environment science programme.  Susan is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, and she has also been nominated as the James Hutton Institute's Sustainability Champion.






Chris Gilligan

Photograpgh of Chris GilliganProfessor Chris Gilligan is a Director at the University of Cambridge where he held a personal chair in Mathematical Biology and was previously Head (Dean) of Biological Sciences. He continues to lead the Epidemiology and Modelling Group in the Department of Plant Sciences, working on models to predict and optimise disease control, with applications in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Australia, US and UK.  He has been a member of Council of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences; he chaired the Defra Science Advisory Council and the UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee as well as a number of government and scientific reviews, including tree health and biosecurity, crop science and animal disease. He is the King’s Trustee at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and was previously a Trustee of the Natural History Museum. He is an Honorary Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society and former President of the British Society for Plant Pathology. He has held a Royal Society, Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship and a BBSRC Professorial Fellowship and was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours (2015) for services to plant heath in the field of epidemiology.


Ken Greetham

Photograph of Ken Greetham

As the former Chief Executive of Wynnstay Group plc, Ken has significant experience in core agriculture, corporate planning and the development of commercial businesses. Originating from a farming background, Ken gained an HND in Agricultural Marketing and Business at Harper Adams University. He established an agricultural business in 1987 which became integrated into Wynnstay in 1997. Having developed the arable division of Wynnstay, he became Chief Executive of the Group in 2008. The company was registered on AIM in 2004 and, during his tenure, Ken oversaw significant growth of the business, establishing its position as a major supplier of a wide range of products to the UK agricultural industry. He was a member the Agricultural Industries Confederation Strategy Group, having previously served on the UKASTA national fertiliser committee, including representation on the FACTS committee. Ken maintains an active interest in the agricultural industry and sits on the Audit and Risk Management Committee for Harper Adams University. He is a member of Empower, a Multi Academy Educational Trust and is also involved in a number of local community projects.


Sir Paul Grice

Photograph of Sir Paul Grice

Sir Paul Grice, FRSE, FAcSS has been Principal and Vice Chancellor of Queen Margaret University Edinburgh since 2019. He was Clerk and Chief Executive of the Scottish Parliament from 1999 to 2019, and was knighted in the New Year’s Honours List 2016. Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 2018. Elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences 2020. Besides his board membership at the James Hutton Institute, his current non-executive roles include Council Member, Institute for Fiscal Studies; Scientific Advisory Board Member, Behaviour Change by Design Research Project, Cambridge University; Chair, Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland; Convenor, Universities Scotland Learning and Teaching Committee; Board member of The British University in Egypt; Member, Place2Be Development Advisory Group Scotland. Previous roles include Trustee, Bank of Scotland Foundation, 2011-2020; Board Member, Edinburgh International Festival, 2013-2019; Board Member, Economic and Social Research Council, 2009-2015; Member of Court, University of Stirling, 2006-2013; Board Member, Policy Scotland (University of Glasgow) 2014-2019; Advisory Board Member, Scottish Centre for Social Research 2017-2020. He graduated in 1984 from University of Stirling, joined the UK Civil Service through the “Fast Stream” in 1985 and worked in several roles in Whitehall. Moved to The Scottish Office in 1992. Joined Constitution Group in May 1997 with lead responsibility for the Referendum on establishing the Scottish Parliament and, subsequently, the Scotland Act 1998 which laid the new constitutional framework.


Deborah Keith

Photograph of Dr Deborah KeithDr Deborah Keith has over 30 years of experience in the science and technology sector, most recently in corporate R&D strategy in Syngenta, a world-leading agribusiness company. Following an early career in academic research in plant genetics, and in international development in Bhutan to improve local farmer cash crop productions, she has spent the past sixteen years focused on the commercialisation of R&D innovation. In her most recent role in Syngenta as Head of external Collaborations, she headed global teams to build strategic partnerships with academia and commercial enterprises in order to deliver integrated crop strategies, and headed the crop protection research portfolio to deliver global products to development. Deeply experienced in the innovation process, corporate culture and organisational change techniques, she has led corporate teams in the development of global R&D strategies.



George Lawrie

Photograph of George Lawrie

George has farming interests in the Kinross area, Perthshire. He is a past board member of NFUS, where he served as treasurer and past chair of the Land Use and Environment Committee He is currently on the board of AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds' and is chairman of their Research and Knowledge Transfer Committee. He is also on the board and chairman of The Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS), a trustee and chairman of The Royal Highland Educational Trust (RHET) and a board member of Scottish Agronomy.




Iain Reid

Photograph of Iain ReidIain is an experienced Chartered Accountant who was Chief Financial Officer of Sunergos Innovations Ltd, a subsidiary of the University of Edinburgh which identified and facilitated opportunities for commercialisation of innovative research. Prior to this he was Finance Director of the National Trust for Scotland and within his role as FD he also had responsibility for IT, legal, procurement, HR and facilities. Before joining NTS he worked in the software and property sectors helping a French company prepare for a potential flotation and guiding an Edinburgh based property company through the early stages of the most recent recession. Prior to these roles Iain was Finance Director of Newell & Budge Ltd, an IT Services company with offices throughout the UK. He was part of the management team which grew and developed this business with the support of venture capitalists 3i culminating in the sale of the company to Sopra Group. Earlier in his career Iain held a number of strategy and corporate development roles with Scottish Widows. He was Company Secretary of the company during its demutualisation and sale to Lloyds and, following the successful conclusion of the demutualisation project became Chief Operating Officer of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership.


Alyson Tobin

Photograph of Alyson Tobin

Professor Alyson Tobin is a plant physiologist and biochemist with research interests in plant nitrogen assimilation and in mitochondrial and plastid development and metabolism. She has held senior academic positions at the University of St Andrews as Dean of the Faculty of Science, Professor of Biology and Acting Vice-Principal (Learning and Teaching) and is currently an Honorary Professor in Biology at St Andrews. Alyson is the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor at York St John University, a post she held for 4 years with responsibility for the university’s academic strategy and leadership of the university’s successful bid for research degree awarding powers. Alyson has a first-class honours degree in Plant Biology and a PhD in Plant Biochemistry from Newcastle University. She has held academic posts at the universities of York, Sussex, Manchester and St Andrews and has held two personal research fellowships from The Royal Society- the ICI Alfred Spinks Fellowship for research in Plant Biochemistry and a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. Alyson has published over 100 articles in academic journals, edited books, conference proceedings and popular articles and is co-author of an advanced Plant Biochemistry textbook. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.


Rebekah Widdowfield 

Dr Rebekah Widdowfield is Vice Principal, People and Diversity at the University of St Andrews. A researcher by background, Rebekah worked in academia for a number of years before joining the Scottish Government in 2001 to pursue a more applied research career. She became a senior civil servant (SCS) in 2008 serving in a variety of analytical and policy roles including as Chief Researcher, Head of Rural and Environmental Science and Analysis and Head of Higher Education and Science.

As a member of the SCS, she led on several strategic advances including instigating and then working with the Commission on Widening Access, delivering the first carbon accounting of a financial budget, and initiating a programme of work on climate change behaviours.

Rebekah left Government to become Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2017, leading a programme of change to enhance the Society’s visibility, impact and reach through initiatives such as the RSE’s Women in Science Exhibition, a regular summer public engagement programme, the Post-Covid Futures Commission and development of a regional strategy. Rebekah is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and an honorary Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Ian Wall

Professor Ian Wall brings decades of experience in property development/management and in Public Engagement in Science (PES); before retiring he was CEO of The EDI Group responsible for many property development and refurbishment projects across central Scotland.

Ian has chaired two Committees on STEM education for the Scottish Government and was previously Chair of WASPS and the Scottish Poetry Library, a member of the Heriot Watt University Court, a non-executive director, SheIter, visiting Professor of Architecture at the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and immediate past Chair of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI). He is a Trustee of the National Museum of Scotland and of Newbattle Abbey College, a non-executive Director of Scotland’s Regeneration Forum (SURF), Visiting Professor of Urban Design at Heriot Watt University and a Board Director of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, the latter which he invented.  He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.



David Gray

David M Gray is a Chartered Accountant and is Chair of The Gannochy Trust, which owns over 200 homes let at affordable rent, a woodland park, 700 acres of farmland and forestry and which awards grants of around £5m annually. He was a partner in KMG Thomson McLintock (now KPMG), before moving into industry. David was Managing Director of Caledonian Paper, Finance Director of Scottish Hydro Electric, Director of SSE and Chair of EMEA Capital Markets at DTZ. He held a number of non-executive directorships over 20 years , including Scottish Water and several public and private companies. He was a member of Court and is a Fellow of the University of Strathclyde. For many years he taught and mentored on The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme.

Printed from /staff/directors on 02/10/23 07:58:44 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.