Innogen welcomes Alan Raybould

23 August 2019

Prof. Alan Raybould joins the University of Edinburgh as Chair of Innovation in the Life Sciences.

Alan’s research aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of regulation of products of new technology in agriculture. He will be working closely with Ann Bruce and Geoff Banda to develop and deliver courses within the School of Social and Political Science and The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security.

Before joining the University of Edinburgh, Alan worked in the crop protection and agricultural biotechnology industry for 18 years.  His research concentrated on improving product-development decisions for genetically modified (GM) crops.  More recently, he has worked on developing regulatory policy for insect-control sprays based on RNA interference and crops bred using gene editing. Alan has worked with regulatory authorities in many countries to help to improve the quality of the science they use to support their decisions about whether to approve uses of GM crops. 

In his first seminar as Chair of Innovation in the Life Sciences, which will be delivered via WebEx on Friday 30 August at 10 am, he will argue that decision-making over the use of products of new technology in agriculture should be hypotheses-led.  This requires clear policy objectives for the use of such products.  In contrast, regulatory decision-making is often data-led, requiring extensive characterisation of the product for unintended effects of its method of production and apparently lacking explicit policy objectives. The seminar will point out the pitfalls of this approach and suggest some reasons for its popularity.

Alan has been a collaborator and friend of Innogen since the early 2000s. His ability to work across the academic/industry divide is highly regarded and I look forward to working with him,” says Joyce Tait, Innogen co-Director.

University of Edinburgh staff and students can register for the seminar by contacting