Professor Angela Karp is the new director and chief executive of Rothamsted Research – the first female director of the Institute since it was founded in 1843.

Professor Karp has been interim director since December last year when her predecessor Prof Achim Dobermann stepped down after five years in the post. She will retain her current position as Rothamsted’s director for science innovation, engagement and partnerships.

With over 35 years’ experience in crop genetics and plant breeding for food and bio-renewable uses, Prof Karp has more than 130 refereed scientific papers to her name, has co-authored textbooks on genetics and co-edited books on genetics and bioenergy. In 2007 she was awarded the Royal Agricultural Society of England’s Research Medal and in 2008 the Alfred Toepfer Prize for her research achievements.

“I feel very excited, and hugely proud, to be taking up this role at a time when agriculture is undergoing such significant transformation,” says Prof Karp. “It is a time of great opportunities, but also of considerable challenges, as farmers strive to identify the most resilient, viable and sustainable routes to providing nutritious, healthy food whilst also enhancing and protecting the environment. Rothamsted Research is in a unique position to make significant contributions through agricultural science and innovation, whilst also providing independent evidence-based analysis and advice to society.”

Sir John Beddington, who chairs the Rothamsted Research Board, adds: “This was a unanimous decision by the Board, and we are absolutely delighted that Angela is taking up the role permanently. Her leadership during the last few months, including her effective handling of the Covid crisis, has been outstanding. We look forward to working with her to move Rothamsted into the exciting next chapter of its illustrious history.”