Matthew Morell is IRRI’s director general, the institute’s chief executive officer (CEO), directly managing and administering its affairs in accordance with the policies and decisions of the IRRI Board of Trustees. He sets the institute’s strategic direction in close consultation with the board. Before assuming the role of director general, Matthew was deputy director general for research, providing strategic leadership to IRRI’s research and outreach programs across various dimensions of rice science.
Prior to his senior management roles at IRRI, Matthew was theme leader for 17 years at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) where he led a research program on Future Grains and Plant Oil Production. He also has extensive experience in identifying, protecting, and managing intellectual property, as well as establishing a means for strong compliance with the requirements of gene technology regulations, genetic modification stewardship, and occupational health and safety legislation. He holds a PhD in agricultural chemistry from the University of Sydney, and did postdoctoral studies at the University of Michigan and the University of California, Davis and served as research fellow at the Australian National University. Matthew is also a Fellow of the American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC), the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), and of the International Association for Cereal Science and Technology (ICC Academy).
Lim Kok Thai was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) on 1 October 2017. The AVA is the national authority entrusted with the mission to ensure a resilient supply of safe food, safeguard the health of animals, fish and plants, as well as facilitate agri-trade for Singapore.
Prior to assuming the post of Chief Executive Officer at AVA, Mr Lim was the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Policy) in the Singapore Police Force. As the DC (Policy), Mr Lim is primarily responsible of the staff functions in the Singapore Police Force (SPF).
Marco Ferroni is an expert in international agriculture, sustainable development, and the geopolitics of food. From 2007 to 2017, he was the CEO of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, which aims to activate value chains in developing countries through sustainable agriculture innovations. He now works on strategic and supervisory assignments and currently chairs the CGIAR System Management Board.
Before joining Syngenta, Marco held managerial and senior advisory positions at the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank in Washington, D.C. He has a doctorate degree in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University and is an adjunct professor in agriculture and environmental sciences at McGill University.
Known as the “Father of Hybrid Rice,” Yuan Longping is the first scientist to discover how to breed high-yield, hybrid rice varieties. In 2004, he received the World Food Prize for his breakthrough achievement in developing genetic materials for hybrid rice.
Yuan’s work helped transform China’s rice sector. By 2003, half of China’s rice production area was planted with hybrid rice. In addition, 20% of the world’s rice comes from varieties resulting from Yuan Longping’s breakthroughs.
Currently, Yuan continues his scientific, innovative work as Director General of the China National Hybrid Rice Research and Development Center.
At the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Nick Austin leads a team that aims to reduce poverty among farming families in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia through inclusive agricultural transformation. Before joining the BMGF, Nick was the interim executive director of CGIAR. He has also served as the CEO of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, where he led the Centre’s effort to improve farmers’ livelihoods.
Nick held senior executive roles for over a decade and served for seven years on the CGIAR Fund Council. He holds a Doctorate Degree in Irrigation from the University of Melbourne and a Masters Degree in Sustainable Management from the University of Sydney.
A plant geneticist, M.S. Swaminathan advocated for sustainable agriculture and food security. For his contributions to this area, he became known as the leader of the green revolution movement and was described by the United Nations Environment Program as the “Father of Economic Ecology.” He was also hailed by TIME magazine as one of the 20 most influential Asians in the 20th century.
M.S. Swaminathan held executive leadership positions in various international development organizations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, International Union for Conservation of Nature, World Wide Fund for Nature (India), Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, and several others. He was also the Director General of the International Rice Research Institute in 1982 to 1988.
Harold Roy-Macauley brings nearly 30 years of experience in agricultural research and leadership expertise to AfricaRice. Before joining AfricaRice, he was the Executive Director of the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD).
Harold has also served as the Regional Director of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in West and Central Africa, and was the Managing Director of the Regional Center for Improving Adaptation to Drought, a research and training center in CORAF/WECARD. Furthermore, he was a biosafety and biotechnology consultant for numerous international and bilateral organizations.
Fluent in English and French, Harold obtained his doctorate degree in Tropical Plant Biology in 1993 from the Université Denis Diderot, France.
Gilbert F. Houngbo became the sixth President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on 1 April 2017. Born and raised in rural Togo, Houngbo has spent more than 30 years working to improve the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. He previously served as Deputy Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) where he led field operations in more than 100 countries. From 2008-2012, he was Prime Minister of the Republic of Togo. He has also held numerous leadership positions at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Dora Panagides is a public health professional with over 25 years of nutrition program experience. She currently serves as Fortification Advisor for the World Food Programme (WFP) where she provides policy and technical advice on food fortification. Prior to joining WFP, Dora supported a number of food fortification programs globally as Senior Manager - Food Fortification with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). Dora lived and worked in Asia and Africa where she served as Country Director for Helen Keller International, providing overall leadership on nutrition and blindness prevention programs. She holds a Master of Health Science Degree from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of iDE UK.
Tang Huajun is President of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), China since December 2016.
He received B.S. (1982) in agronomy from South-west Agricultural University, China, and M.S. (1987), Ph.D. (1991) with greatest distinction in Physical Land Resources from University of Ghent, Belgium. He was Director General of the Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, CAAS from 1996 to 2007, and vice president of CAAS from 2007 to 2016.
Over the past decades, he has served as a consultant to a number of governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations and companies including, World Bank, FAO, and UNESCAP. His research areas include land use and crop modeling; remote sensing and GIS applications; agri-regional development. He has published more than 200 papers in international and Chinese scientific journals and has received a number of awards and honors including the corresponding member of Belgian Royal Academy of Overseas Science, President of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning. He was elected as a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering in 2015.
Robert Edis is ACIAR’s Research Program Manager for Soil Management and Crop Nutrition, a program that focuses on tillage and water management, nutrient management, and crop rotations, designed in the context of a systems approach to conservation agriculture.
Before joining ACIAR, Robert ran an agricultural science consulting practice. He was previously a soil scientist at the School of Land and Environment in the University of Melbourne, where he continues to be an Honorary Associate Professor.
Robert holds a doctorate degree in Soil Science from the University of Melbourne.
James Lomax has been the Sustainable Food Systems and Agriculture Programme Management Officer in UN Environment’s Economy Division based in Paris, France since 2009. James leads work on mainstreaming sustainable consumption and production practices in the agriculture and food sector. He has pioneered the idea of systems thinking in the food and agriculture sector where nutrition, waste, environmental externalities and livelihoods must be considered if a shift to more sustainable food systems are to be realized.
At UN Environment specifically, James manages activities and programmes on:
- Catalyzing public/private partnerships notable in sustainable agriculture focusing on rice and Sustainable Rice Platform which he has run since its inception (www.sustainablerice.org),
- Sustainable consumption like food waste reduction and prevention through developing tools and methodologies (www.thinkeatsave.org) and
Sustainability activities at national and regional levels looking at building policy frameworks for more inter-connected thinking in government and the food and agriculture sector as a whole.