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Lord Whitty Launches Warwick HRI and New Director Announced

Dr Simon Bright, Director of HRI
Dr Simon Bright, New Director of HRI
Originally published 18 March 2004

On Friday 19th March Defra Minister Larry Whitty will sign an agreement creating as part of the University of Warwick a new centre of excellence for horticulture research – Warwick HRI. The signing ceremony will also see the announcement of Warwick HRI’s new Director Dr Simon Bright.

Dr Bright was previously Head of Technology Interaction at Syngenta - the world’s largest agribusiness company, where he has led research on the application of genomics and biotechnology to crop plants over the last 18 years. He is a member of the Strategy Board of The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and serves on the editorial board of the journal: “Current Opinion in Plant Science”. He has particular experience in the management of technology transfer from research through to practical use.

Dr Bright will take up his post on 1st of July. Professor Brian Thomas, will continue in post as Acting Director of Warwick HRI until then, as well as maintaining his active research team.

Following a restructuring of Horticulture Research International (HRI), from 1 April what was HRI Wellesbourne and HRI Kirton will become Warwick HRI, part of the University of Warwick.

Defra’s investment in Warwick HRI includes:

  • £36.2 million for Warwick HRI over eight years for research and development
  • £1.3 million for Warwick HRI over five years to maintain the Vegetable Gene Bank at Wellesbourne

Lord Whitty said:

"This will provide a secure platform for research and development to benefit the UK horticulture industry. Warwick HRI can now look forward to a stable future, and concentrate on what it does best - delivering high quality science for the benefit of the horticulture industry and others. The new Warwick HRI will be better placed to exploit new opportunities, forge new alliances, and respond to the needs of industry.“

Dr Simon Bright said:

“I am delighted to have been chosen to lead Warwick HRI at such an exciting time in the history of the organisation. Warwick HRI will be able to exploit so many new opportunities as a part of the University of Warwick. I am looking forward to working with the Warwick HRI team to ensure we and the growing industry secure the maximum benefit from those new opportunities.”

Professor David VandeLinde, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick said:

“Together we will build on the rich achievements of Horticulture Research International and reinforce Warwick HRI as the premier centre for research and development for horticulture and land based sciences”

Press Opportunity: There will be a photo and interview opportunity at 11.50am Friday 19th March at Warwick HRI’s Wellesbourne site. Photographers and press should report to the reception desk and ask to be brought to Peter Dunn or Sarah Cook.