Published: 12:13, 13 August 2018
| Updated: 17:51, 16 August 2018
Horticultural research organisation the East Malling Trust has appointed a new chairman.
The charity, which focuses on the advancement of horticultural and plant-based science primarily through the funding of scientists at NIAB EMR, has recruited Dr Oliver Doubleday.
A trustee of the charity since 2012, he takes over as chairman from Professor John Mumford of Imperial College.
Prior to becoming a trustee, Dr Doubleday was chairman of East Malling Research, which recently became NIAB EMR.
Well known in the county, he is the great great grandson of the founder of GH Dean, the soft fruit farm in Sittingbourne which provides supermarkets from its 200 hectares of apples, pears, cherries and plums, and which he remains a director of.
Dr Doubleday said: “Our support at the trust for the work here at East Malling ensures NIAB EMR retains the critical mass of research required to support the industry and individual growers.
“The commercial research undertaken by NIAB EMR continues to bring forward major advances for its partners and the horticulture industry.
“While NIAB EMR’s scientists are capable of delivering nationally important research, they are only able to recover 80% of the cost of the research, unlike their counterparts on the country’s universities who can claim 100% of the cost.
"In effect, the trust as a major supporter of NIAB EMR subsidies the UK government’s national research agenda.”
Sally Flanagan, executive director of the East Malling Trust, added: “Oliver brings with him a wealth of industry knowledge not just as a prominent Kent grower of apples, pears and cherries, but importantly as a PhD research biologist. He clearly understands the value of a strong science community and is passionate about the success of the industry."