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Senior Management Team

Professor Colin Campbell, Chief Executive

Photograph of Colin Campbell

Colin is Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute and is responsible for leading the organisation and its staff in delivering the Corporate Plan. He has been in post since Feb 2016. Prior to this he was Interim CEO from September 2015 and before that was Director of Science Excellence responsible for the strategic development of the excellence of the institute's scientists, facilities and resources. He has 28 years of research experience in soil microbiology/soil science applied to agri-environment issues. His expertise lies in fundamental and applied studies on the effects of pollutants on soil microorganisms and soil health and in understanding how microbial diversity contributes to ecosystem functioning. Colin was also Director of the Institute’s Post-Graduate School which has over 120 registered students, registered at 30 different universities from around the world.

He is a Guest professor in the Soil and Environment Department, Swedish Agricultural Sciences University (SLU), Uppsala, Sweden and has worked in Australia and China looking at semi-tropical and temperate ecosystems there.


Alasdair Cox, Director of Operations

Alasdair CoxAs Director of Operations Alasdair is responsible for the delivery of the Institute’s Communications, Estate, Human Resources and IT functions, as well as the development of the Project Management Office and providing operational support to James Hutton Limited. 

He has over 20 years experience gained in the agricultural and food sectors where he managed multi-functional teams in a very competitive retail environment and latterly in a publicly funded research, education and consultancy organisation.


Professor Bob Ferrier, Director of Research

imageBob is Director of Research and leads our international and income generation strategies; he is also Director of the Centre of Expertise for Waters (CREW) and oversees our strategic partnerships. Bob also leads the Scottish Government’s Hydro Nation Scholars and International Fellows Programme and holds Honorary Chairs at the Universities of Aberdeen (School of Geosciences) and Dundee (School of Social Sciences).

He has over 30 years’ experience in water resources management globally, in particular the hydrological, hydrochemical and ecological consequences of environmental change; in particular land use and management, and climate change.


Derek Leslie, Director of Finance and Company Secretary

Derek LeslieDerek Leslie is Director of Finance and Company Secretary, and provides supports to the Project Management Office and to James Hutton Limited.

He is an experienced business professional, building on a successful career as a finance director in the food and drink industry. He brings considerable experience in change management, having worked in different organisations in the UK and abroad. 


Professor Deb Roberts, Director of Science

Professor Deb RobertsDeb is Director of Science. She is a member of the SEFARI Directors Committee and is responsible for progressing the Institute’s impact and open science agenda. Deb is a Director of ClimateXChange and leads on Macaulay Development Trust funding opportunities. She oversees our Environmental and Biochemical Sciences (EBS), Information and Computational Sciences (ICS), and Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences (SEGS) groups, plus our research farms.

Deb has over 25 years of experience in rural economic analysis with particular research interests in agricultural and environmental policies, regional development and social wellbeing issues in rural areas. She has a joint position at the University of Aberdeen where she is a Professor in Real Estate in the Business school and she is responsible for the Institute’s partnerships with the University of Aberdeen. Prior to her current role, Deb was leader of the SEGS group.


Professor Lesley Torrance, Director of Science

Photo of Professor Lesley TorranceLesley is Director of Science and leads the delivery of the RESAS Strategic Research Programme and Underpinning Capacity; she also leads on the establishment of a new joint laboratory in China and our partnerships with the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews. She oversees the Ecological Sciences (ES) and Cell and Molecular Sciences (CMS) groups.

Lesley’s research interests are in plant virology and more broadly in strengthening potato production systems in sub-Saharan Africa. She continues her research through her joint position as Professor of Biology at the University of St Andrews. Prior to her current role, Lesley was leader of the Institute's CMS group.

Printed from /staff/senior-management-team on 21/11/18 12:23:00 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.