2.New Director for Rothamsted Research - BBSRC
EXTRACT: The appointment of Moloney is nothing short of a declaration of war on both public concern over GM crops and the conclusions of the IAASTD report on the future of agriculture that the UK Government signed onto, which concluded GM has little to offer in meeting the major global food and farming challenges of the 21st century. (item 1)
1.A declaration of war
The Government's heavily industrially aligned public funding body, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has just appointed Professor Maurice Moloney as the Director and Chief Executive of Rothamsted Research, the UK's leading agricultural research centre.
Who he? He's the Chief Scientific Officer of SemBioSys Genetics Inc. - a plant biotech company well known for its controversial work on pharma crops (eg producing insulin from safflower seeds) - http://www.sembiosys.com/. A GM pharma specialist, Moloney has also worked on deriving a blood anti-coagulant from canola.
Previously, Moloney led the Cell Biology group at Calgene, acquired by Monsanto in 1997, where he developed "the world's first transgenic oilseeds, which resulted in RoundUp Ready Canola and other novel crops." (see below) Moloney's GM Roundup Ready canola has, of course, lead to conflicts like the Percy Schmeiser case and to the end of organic canola growing in parts of Canada due to GM contamination.
Moloney holds more than 300 patents.
If this all seems to bode less than well for the future of British agriculture, then consider Moloney's sensitivity to the concerns over GM crops as reflected in comments such as, "Much effort has been wasted on the criticism of biotechnology using arguments that come from narrow philosophical belief systems such as creationism, left or right-wing politics or aesthetic rather than rational views of nature."
Professor Moloney is quoted as saying: "Rothamsted Research is one of the most powerful engines for agricultural research in the world" and that he will lead it in deploying its science in relation to both food and biofuels. "I also welcome the opportunity to build on Rothamsted's strong reputation for training the next generation of skilled researchers in agricultural bioscience."
The appointment of Moloney is nothing short of a declaration of war on both public concern over GM crops and the conclusions of the IAASTD report on the future of agriculture that the UK Government signed onto, which concluded GM has little to offer in meeting the major global food and farming challenges of the 21st century.
For more on the BBSRC:
For more on Rothamsted Research
2.New Director for Rothamsted Research
BBSRC, 14 January 2010
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Governing Body of Rothamsted Research and the Trustees of the Lawes Agricultural Trust are pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Maurice Moloney as Director and Chief Executive of Rothamsted Research. He will assume the full duties of his post from 15 April 2010.
Rothamsted Research is one of the Institutes of BBSRC and, established over 160 years ago, is almost certainly the oldest agricultural research centre in the world. It has research campuses at Harpenden in Hertfordshire, North Wyke in Devon and Broom's Barn, Suffolk.
Professor Moloney is currently Chief Scientific Officer of SemBioSys Genetics Inc, based in Calgary, Canada. He founded the company in 1994 and has maintained this role alongside a successful academic career at the University of Calgary, where he serves as NSERC/Dow AgroSciences Industrial Research Professor of Plant Biotechnology.
Professor Moloney has authored over 80 scientific papers in high profile international journals and holds over 300 patents in plant biotechnology worldwide. He is a leading authority on plant cell biology, especially seed biology and its biotechnological applications in crop improvement and in using plants to produce high value proteins such as therapeutics and novel high-value lipids. Professor Moloney also has significant experience of research policymaking having served on the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada 2002-2008 (a Privy Council appointment).
Before moving to Calgary, Professor Moloney led the Cell Biology group at Calgene Inc. in Davis, California, developing the world's first transgenic oilseeds, which resulted in RoundUp Ready® Canola and other novel crops. He was previously a Royal Society European Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
BBSRC Chief Executive, Professor Douglas Kell said: "Maurice Moloney brings a unique combination of skills and experience that combines top class plant cell science with effective translation of research into successful business activity. His experience of leadership in academic, commercial and policy arenas will help Rothamsted Research to capitalise fully on its scientific strengths and play its full role working closely with other UK and international partners, in delivering the UK’s R&D priorities in food security and sustainable bioenergy."
Professor Moloney said: "Rothamsted Research is one of the most powerful engines for agricultural research in the world. It will be a great privilege to lead future scientific developments at the Institute and to deploy its science in meeting the challenges of sustainable food supply, bio-based energy and mitigation of agriculture's carbon footprint for the benefit of both UK and global agriculture. I also welcome the opportunity to build on Rothamsted's strong reputation for training the next generation of skilled researchers in agricultural bioscience."
Acting Director at Rothamsted Research, Professor Peter Shewry welcomed the news: "Maurice's leadership will not only ensure our research is of the highest international quality, but also build on our strength in ensuring it is translated into useful outcomes for the industry and the public."
Professor Nick Talbot, Chair of the Rothamsted Board of Directors welcomed the appointment saying: "Maurice Moloney will bring new ideas and leadership to Rothamsted. He has an excellent track record of making fundamental scientific discoveries and applying these to produce new crops and tools for farmers. I look forward to working with him in the future."
Originally from Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan in Ireland, Prof Moloney, 57, returns to Europe to take up the post in April 2010. After studying chemistry at Imperial College, London, he was awarded a PhD in Plant Biology at Leicester Polytechnic (now De Montfort University) in 1979. As a postgraduate student, Prof Moloney won a Wain Fellowship from the Agricultural Research Council, a forerunner of BBSRC, which he used to join the laboratory of Professor Robert Cleland at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, USA. The results of the Wain Fellowship were published in top-tier journals and became a significant foundation for Prof Moloney’s research career.
Prof Moloney will be the 12th Director at Rothamsted since 1843 He succeeds Professor Ian Crute CBE, who retired from the institute in 2009 and is now Chief Scientist at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.