The world-leading population biologist Professor Sir Charles Godfray CBE FRS has been appointed as the next Director of the Oxford Martin School.
Sir Charles, whose work spans ecology, evolution and epidemiology, will lead the School in its multidisciplinary work on the global challenges of the 21st Century. Through his own work on the health, environmental and economic consequences of food policies Sir Charles has had a major impact on future thinking about global food security. His research on insect population dynamics has been extremely influential in understanding insect population control, including in the biological control of agricultural pests and the genetic control of malaria and dengue vectors.
Sir Charles holds a number of leadership positions across the research and policy arenas. He is part of Target Malaria, a multi-university consortium of researchers working on the control of the mosquitoes that transmit malaria in Africa. He is Chair of the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Science Advisory Council, a Trustee Director of Rothamstead Research and a Trustee of the Food Foundation, as well as sitting on a number of other scientific advisory committees. Previous roles include Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, President of the British Ecological Society, and Chair of the Lead Expert Group of the UK Government’s Foresight Project on the Future of Food and Farming. In 2017 Sir Charles was knighted for services to scientific research and for scientific advice to government.
Sir Charles has been very involved with the Oxford Martin School for a number of years, for example as the Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food and as co-creator of the Oxford Martin Restatements, a new approach to providing succinct summaries of scientific evidence around highly contentious topics.
The Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, Professor Louise Richardson, said: ‘Sir Charles is an exceptional scientist with an outstanding track record of ensuring the impact of his research on the world beyond the academy, just as James Martin envisioned. I am delighted that he will be taking up the position of Director of the Oxford Martin School in February.’
Sir Charles commented: ‘I am honoured to be appointed to lead the Oxford Martin School. The work of the School, across so many subject areas, has never felt more urgent or compelling, but I am also deeply aware that it is only by ensuring that this cutting edge research has an impact beyond academia, for example through those who set government policies around the world, that we can truly fulfil James Martin’s vision.’
Professor Sarah Whatmore, Chair of the Oxford Martin School’s Management Committee and Head of the University’s Social Sciences Division, said: ‘We are delighted that Sir Charles will be taking up this hugely important post within the University. The breadth of his research interests, combined with years of success in translating research into policy and his experience of the challenges of ensuring that academic research delivers solutions, made Charles a perfect fit for this role. I look forward to working closely with him.’
Sir Charles will take up his post on 1st February 2018.