Science Advisory Panel

Our Science Advisory Panel provides objective strategic advice to our Board of Directors to inform decisions on research strategy and future science activity.

Professor Gillian Dobbie
Department of Computer Science, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Gillian Dobbie is a computer scientist. She is a Professor at the University of Auckland, and the Director of the Auckland ICT Graduate School. She is science lead on the Precision Driven Health joint research partnership and chairs the Science Advisory Group for PlantTech. Her main research interests are big data, stream data mining, machine learning, data management, and software engineering, and has published more than 130 international peer reviewed papers. She convenes the Mathematical and Information Sciences panel for the Marsden Fund of the New Zealand Royal Society.

Professor Alastair Robertson
Consultant Science Strategy and Planning

Professor Alastair Robertson is a leading international expert in food science. His career has involved research positions in both industry (in the UK) and in research institutes. These positions have included Director of the UK’s Institute of Food Research (IFR), CEO of Food Science Australia, a joint venture between CSIRO and the Victorian Government, and CSIRO Executive Director (and subsequently Deputy Chief Executive), Science Strategy and Investment. He led the consolidation of the Australian National Research Flagships and oversaw the integration of the CSIRO Science Investment Process and Performance Management Framework as strong governance mechanisms to underpin CSIRO’s delivery of impact from mission-directed research. Prof Robertson currently holds an Honorary Professorship at the University of East Anglia (UK) and is a Research Professor at the University of Tasmania.

Professor Robertson brings to the panel wide international expertise in food science, and in developing and managing research structures based on science excellence and delivery. He also helps consolidate Plant & Food Research's developing interaction with key Australian research centres and science initiatives.

Prof Cathie Martin
Group Leader, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, John Innes Centre, UK

Professor Cathie Martin is an international leader in plant science, specialising in cellular specialisation and differentiation, particularly in relation to gene function. She has an extensive background in University and Research Institute research processes and programmes. Professor Martin, in addition to her position at the John Innes Centre, also has a background in University visiting professorships and University relations. As Editor of the world’s leading plant science journal, Plant Cell, she has particular experience in identifying current and future international trends in plant science, and in evaluating science quality. Her own research interests in cellular and gene regulation and functionality, particularly in the areas of food properties of plants, are of particular importance to PFR’s research interests.

Professor Martin brings to the panel particular experience in leading international plant science, science evaluation, and an in-depth understanding of current and future trends and developments in both research technologies and science disciplines. She also strengthens Plant & Food Research's links with UK and European research organisations of interest.

Prof Ernst van den Ende
Managing Director, Plant Sciences Group (Psg), Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Professor Ernst van den Ende has an extensive international background in agricultural science, particularly in management of urban green areas, plant diseases, plant pathogenic fungi and plant and crop protection. He has responsibility of the Plant Sciences Group at Wageningen, which conducts plant-related research and teaching programmes from the molecular through to the population level. Prof van den Ende has particular experience in the Wageningen University/PRI structure which provides a relevant model for University/Research Institute collaboration and interaction. This is seen in the cluster of the Plant Sciences Group (PSG) which embodies applied research (Applied Plant Research), strategic research (Plant Research International,) fundamental research and education of (Wageningen University)

Professor van den Ende brings to the panel particular understanding of research collaboration and development of interacting research structures. He also provides an important link with European organisations of interest to Plant & Food Research and international perspective of sustainable plant production.