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Science Leader Joins Ministry for Primary Industries

20 August 2012

Dr Ian Ferguson (MNZM) has been appointed to the newly created position of Departmental Science Adviser for the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Deputy Director General of Policy Paul Stocks announced today.

“This is an exceptionally important role for the Ministry,” Mr Stocks said. “I am confident that Dr Ferguson will provide strong science leadership to ensure that MPI is well connected across government and with the science community, and will continue to produce high quality scientific advice.”

The role focuses on the key areas of quality assurance of science inputs into regulatory decision making; strategic direction for science investment; and ensuring that MPI is able to effectively deal with emerging risks and opportunities.

Dr Ferguson is well known in the science community both nationally and internationally. He has been the Chief Scientist of the Crown Research Institute Plant and Food Research (and formerly HortResearch) since 2003. He has a science background in plant and fruit physiology, postharvest and horticultural science, biochemistry and biotechnology.

Dr Ferguson has also been a member of New Zealand Government funding and review panels and bodies, including being on the Marsden Council and the Rutherford Discovery Fellowship panel.

“I am excited about the challenge of the new role and looking forward to understanding the breadth of what MPI deals with,” Dr Ferguson said.

“I am determined to ensure science is adding the greatest benefit possible to the challenges and opportunities facing New Zealand’s primary industries. I see this as a wonderful opportunity both personally and for the relationship between the science system, the Ministry and primary industries generally.”

“I’m delighted with the appointment of Ian to this position,” Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser, said. “This role is critical for government if New Zealand is to maximise the benefits of evidence-based policy. Ian is exactly the sort of person we need in this critical role for the primary industries and I look forward to working with him.”

The role is for a three year fixed term and is part-time. Dr Ferguson will continue in a science role with Plant and Food Research. He will be taking up the role with the Ministry in mid September 2012.

**Bio for Dr Ian Ferguson

Departmental Science Adviser for the Ministry for Primary Industries**

Dr Ian Ferguson has been Chief Scientist of Plant & Food Research, formerly HortResearch, since 2003. Prior to that, he was leader of the HortResearch Postharvest Group and a leading New Zealand and international researcher in plant science, horticulture and postharvest science.

He was awarded a PhD from the University of Auckland in 1972. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and a Life Member of the NZ Society of Plant Physiologists. He has been a member of New Zealand Government funding and review panels and bodies, including two appointments to the Marsden Council (one current) and is also on the Rutherford Discovery Fellowship panel. He has science review experience within his own organisation and through involvement in reviewing for other Crown Research Institutes (CRIs), universities and overseas organisations.

Dr Ferguson has had a long research career, specialising in plant and fruit physiology, postharvest and horticultural science, biochemistry and biotechnology. He has extensive experience both in fundamental plant research and in applied research and development for the New Zealand horticultural industry, particularly with the fruit industry sector. He is Joint Editor-in-Chief of the leading international journal /Postharvest Biology & Technology/.

Dr Ferguson is also involved in a number of international collaborations, including Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand, and a 10 year collaboration with Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, where he has been Guang Biao Visiting Professor. He has extensive experience as an international speaker on postharvest, horticulture, food production and plant science.

Dr Ferguson was awarded a membership of the NZ Order of Merit in the 2010 New Year’s Honours list for contributions to horticultural science.

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