Management and Governance

The Institute of Food Research is a company limited by guarantee, with charitable status (registration number 1058499). IFR receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

The governance structure for the Institute was revised in 2011 separating the roles of the Members from those of the Trustee Directors. There are 3 Corporate Members (BBSRC, the University of East Anglia and the Chair of the IFR Board of Trustees) and their roles and responsibilities are defined in a Members Agreement. Below this there is a Board of Trustees whose members are also directors of the company and oversee the Institute’s activities.

The Chair and members of the Board of Trustees have responsibility for the stewardship of the institute, as laid down in the Memorandum and Articles of Association and the Institute Grant Agreement, and ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Companies Act and charitable registration. The responsibility for ensuring that the Institute complies with this Agreement and takes account of related guidance rests with the Board of Trustees acting through the Director. Trustees serve on a part time non-executive basis.

Responsibility for day-to-day matters is delegated to the Institute Director and the Executive Board within an agreed and clearly understood framework of strategic control.

IFR Director

Prof. Ian Charles Prof. Ian Charles Professor Ian Charles is the Director of IFR and leads the programme to develop the UK’s new Quadram Institute, based at the Norwich Research Park.

Professor Charles returned to the UK in 2015 from Australia where he was Director of the ithree institute, University of Technology, Sydney.

He has over 30 years’ experience in academic and commercial research. His academic career has included being a founding member of The Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research at University College London, one the UK’s first institutes of translational medicine. He has also worked in the pharmaceutical industry at Glaxo Wellcome, and has been founder and CSO of biotech companies in the area of infectious disease, including Arrow Therapeutics, sold to AstraZeneca, and Auspherix a venture capital backed company founded in 2013. His current research interests include infectious diseases as well as the microbiome and its impact on health and wellbeing.

The Board of Trustees 

To reflect its predominantly “public good” and “not for profit” research missions, IFR is established constitutionally as companies limited by guarantee and registered charities.

Its charitable objects and powers are set out in Memoranda of Association, and its internal regulation is governed by the Company’s (Institute’s) Articles of Association. A Board of Trustees oversees each institute’s activities.

The Board of Trustees ensures that IFR:

  1. has strategic direction which supports the spirit and central aims of the BBSRC mission as laid down by Royal Charter

  2. operates in accordance within the terms of the Institute Grant agreement with the BBSRC

  3. meets its legal obligations as a Company Limited by Guarantee and registered charity as defined in the Institute’s Memorandum and Articles of Association.

Overview of IFR Governance - objectives, roles, responsibilities & relationships >


The membership of the Board, drawn normally from the academic community, the food industry and public representatives and covering a range of skills including business and risk, science and technology and social and ethical responsibility.

Tim Brears (Chairman)

Tim Brears Tim Brears Tim Brears is Chief Executive of Xention Limited, a Cambridge-based, venture-capital-funded biopharmaceutical company specialising in the discovery and development of ion-channel-modulating drugs for the control of atrial fibrillation.

Previously, Tim was Chief Executive of Gendaq Limited, a company focused on the development of zinc finger proteins based on technology acquired from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.  From 1993 to 1999 he was director of licensing at Ciba-Geigy (later Novartis) Agribusiness in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Tim graduated in Agricultural and Forest Sciences from Oxford University in 1983 and was awarded a PhD in plant molecular biology from Cambridge University in 1987.  He subsequently held an EMBO post-doctoral fellowship at Rockefeller University, New York, where he worked on the cloning and overexpression of nitrogen metabolic genes in transgenic plants for the purpose of improving nitrogen use efficiency.  He also has an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and is a Registered US Patent Agent.

He is closely involved in his family’s farming business, which includes arable and beef enterprises and is involved in a number of crop assurance and environmental schemes.

Ian Black

Ian Black Ian Black Ian’s career includes director roles in a number of  global organisations including NCR, AT&T, RIL and BAT with a business sector focus on Engineering, Technology and Fast Moving Consumer Goods where Ian has worked in various Corporate roles covering Strategy, HR, IT, Quality and Marketing Services.

Ian currently is the founder Director of Arch Management Consultants focusing on business strategy, HR Leadership, Change Management, Remuneration, Talent Management, Governance and Performance Improvement. In this capacity he has provided consulting services to organisations in various sectors including, insurance, consumer goods, aviation, pharmaceuticals and technology.

Ian is also a Non- Executive Director of Remploy Ltd, MLCSL Ltd and BSH Ltd where he is either Chair or Member of the Board Audit, Remuneration, Nominations and Strategy committees.

Roger Dickinson

Roger Dickinson Roger Dickinson Chief executive, general manager, lawyer and consultant over 30 years, focused on governance and the commercial exploitation of science in a number of industry sectors – electronics, utility, engineering and bio-tech/healthcare.

CEO of ICSA and ITI Scotland. Executive Director & General Counsel of Anglian Water plc, Gemini Genomics plc and Domino Printing Sciences plc. Commercial/ intellectual property lawyer of British Technology Group. Solicitor, LL.B (London), M.Business Law (CNAA) and AMD (Harvard Business School)

Duncan Maskell

Duncan Maskell Duncan Maskell Duncan Maskell is Marks and Spencer Professor of Farm Animal Health, Food Science and Food Safety at the Department of Veterinary Medicine, and Head of the School of the Biological Sciences at the University of Cambridge. He was also educated at Cambridge, gaining his first degree and PhD there in the 1980s, before being employed at Wellcome Biotech. He subsequently worked at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, and the Department of Biochemistry, Imperial College, before being elected to his current Professorship in 1996. He was Head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine from 2004 until taking up his current role as Head of the School of the Biological Sciences in 2013.

His main research interests have centred on bacterial diseases of humans and other animals, with food poisoning bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter being particularly constant elements of his research portfolio. His work has covered all aspects of the host-pathogen interaction, from how the bacteria themselves work, through to how host responses operate to lead to infection or clearance of the bacterium, and this research has resulted in over 220 papers.

Outside the University, Duncan has been a founder shareholder and consultant to a number of biotech companies. He co-founded Arrow Therapeutics in 1998, which was sold to Astra Zeneca in 2007, and was recently a co-founder of Discuva Ltd and Bactevo Ltd.

Duncan has been a member of many UK and overseas funding panels, advisory boards and Councils, including for the BBSRC, Defra and the Food Standards Agency. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2011.

Roger Platt

Roger Platt Roger Platt Roger Platt retired in 2004 as a Senior Vice President in Unilever. After spells in Holland, the United States and London, he was appointed head of Unilever’s Port Sunlight laboratory and co-ordinated the work of laboratories in Holland, USA, India and China. His last role in Unilever was the leadership of supply chain strategy for the global Home and Personal Care Business.

His public sector experience includes a secondment to the Foreign Office; as a Non-Executive Director of the Ministry of Defence research laboratories (Dstl) and of the Department of Education in Northern Ireland (DENI); and the Chairmanship of the North West Science Council.

Currently he is a member of the Council of the University of Liverpool and of the Advisory Board of the Food and Environmental Research Agency (Fera). After an early academic career as a natural scientist, in retirement he has been studying history at Liverpool University, where he has completed a PhD in Anglo-Soviet relations and is now undertaking post-doctoral work on the post-war British diplomatic community.

Steven Walker

Steven Walker Steven Walker Director General, Campden BRI
Steven obtained his degree in Food Science and PhD in Microbiology from the Queen’s University of Belfast, before joining the Microbiology Department of Campden BRI in 1986. In this role he worked extensively on predictive microbiology and chilled foods microbiology.

From 1994 to 2004, Steven undertook the newly created role of Director of Research, which guided, directed and managed the company’s research programme, funded by membership subscriptions, UK Government, the EC and industrial consortia.

Following four years as Director of Cereals and Cereal Processing, where he led and managed the research, consultancy, analytical and training activities of the division, Steven was appointed as Director-General in 2009.

During his 26 years service, Steven has played a major role in both the scientific and commercial aspects of the business, working closely with senior technical, operational, financial and political representatives from the agri-food and allied industries and funding bodies in the UK and overseas.

In 2010, he was appointed Visiting Professor at Harper Adams University and elected a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science & Technology

Steve West

Steve West Steve West Following a degree in Economics from the London School of Economics, Steve qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG, London, in the early 1980’s. He then moved into “industry” with Schlumberger and Xerox Corporation, taking a first Financial Director role with Odhams-Sun printers in 1988. Since 2008, Steve has been Group Finance Director of The Shropshire Group a large salad and vegetable farming, processing, packing and marketing organisation headquartered near Ely in Cambridgeshire. The business employs 5000, has sales of circa £400m and physical operations in the UK, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, Senegal and the USA.

Steve is also a member of the Strategy Board for the Eastern Region of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Steve lives in Ely, is married with two children, both of whom work in London.

Christine Williams

Christine Williams Christine Williams  

Professor Christine Williams OBE, was until very recently Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Reading, responsible for the leadership of the University's research and innovation strategy, and preparations for the Research Excellence Framework.

Christine brings a wealth of experience to the Board of Trustees, both from her distinguished career in nutritional science and in her leadership role in driving innovation and its application to supporting the knowledge economy.

Christine joined the University of Reading in 1995, as the first Hugh Sinclair Professor of Nutrition. She headed the School of Food Biosciences from 2003 to 2006, before being elected as Dean of Life Sciences. Her research interests are focused on the impact of dietary fats on human health, particularly in relation to cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance.

In 1999 she was awarded the Royal Society of Medicine Gold Medal in Nutrition for her contribution to scholarship and education in nutrition, and in 2013 Professor Williams was awarded an OBE for services to higher education and nutritional science.

Professor Williams actively engages in dissemination of nutritional science and frequently provides advice to government and industry on matters relating to dietary policy and public health. She is a Governor and Member of Council of the British Nutrition Foundation, a former President of the UK Nutrition Society, and chaired the BBSRC Agri-Food Committee from 2003-2006. She was also a member of the Food Standards Agency, Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN).

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