A crop research institute has hired a new managing director a year after it was rescued in a takeover. NIAB EMR, formerly known as East Malling Research, will be led by Professor Mario Caccamo, a computer scientist by training who has 15 years’ experience in life science studies and big data. He will take over from present boss David Neill in April, who will return to his former position as NIAB’s chief operating officer at its headquarters in Cambridge.
The company acquired East Malling Research in Feburary last year after bosses had warned the institution faced administration if it did not turn around annual losses of more than £1.5 million. NIAB chief executive Tina Barsby said the research centre had focused on “maintaining income growth” since the takeover and “introducing the organisational changes”. She said: “We now want to focus on our research and commercial growth strategy, realising the opportunities offered by the wider NIAB Group. “Mario will play a key role in this evolution, bringing energy and scientific leadership to the role and driving forward our ambitious research strategy.”
Professor Caccamo joined NIAB in July 2015 as head of crop bioinformatics and will continue in this role alongside his new position. His past work has focused on understanding of crop genetics and how agricultural crops interact with their environment. He said: “The research opportunities in the horticulture sector both nationally, focused on UK crops, and internationally, working with scientific organisations in the developing world, have never been greater. “NIAB EMR’s world-class scientists are already leading in the application of novel solutions for horticulture and I am very excited about the opportunity to lead this team to even greater achievements.”