Peter Innes

Chair of the John Innes Foundation

After serving in the army, Peter worked for a time in Hong Kong; then in the financial services sector in Edinburgh.  He maintains an unbroken line of Innes family members (John Innes was his great-grandfather’s brother) who have been trustees of the Foundation.  Now retired, he is currently undertaking a MSc. degree at Oxford University.




Ian Crute CBE

Non-Executive Director
Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

Professor Ian Crute has had a long and varied career in agricultural science and is a recently-appointed Non-Executive Director of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). Prior to joining the Board he held the post of AHDB Chief Scientist for 5 years. His primary professional expertise is in plant pathology and genetics with a particular interest in the sustainability of agricultural systems. Prior to joining AHDB, Professor Crute held the post of Institute Director at Rothamsted Research for 10 years. This followed 25 years in Horticulture Research International as a Research Leader in plant pathology, Head of Department and Director at the organisation’s Wellesbourne laboratory. Professor Crute’s scientific contributions are recorded in over 170 publications and his work has been recognised by several awards including a CBE for “services to plant science”. He was a member of the Lead Expert Group for the “Global Future of Food and Farming” Foresight project and he currently serves on several Boards and Committees connected with science and innovation within the UK agri-food sector including the Agri-Tech Leadership Council.



Keith Norman

Technical Director
Velcourt Ltd

Keith Norman graduated from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne with an honours degree in agriculture, specialising in crop production and plant science. Since then, Keith has followed a career in practical farm management for 6 years, initially as a working farm manager and eventually becoming arable manager on a 1200 hectares estate in Lincolnshire. Keith then changed to a more technically based role as Technical Director, supporting Velcourt’s team of 45 farm managers in crop production technology and managing Velcourt’s in-house research and development activity in 1989.  Velcourt currently manage 53,000has in the UK.

Keith has worked on various overseas projects in Spain, France, Germany and Zambia and has been actively involved in Velcourt’s recent activities in Russia and the Ukraine.

Velcourt’s R&D is primarily to provide its team of 46 farm managers with totally independent technical information from which they can make cost effective decisions to optimise yield and profit. In addition Velcourt are partners in many larger, collaborative projects funded by the UK Government’s DEFRA and Innovate UK.  Velcourt R&D also work with all the major Agrochemical manufacturers, providing truly independent evaluation of new and existing active ingredients.



Christopher Leaver MA BSc ARCS DIC PhD CBE FRS FRSE

Professor Chris Leaver was Sibthorpian Professor(1990-2007) and Head of the Department of Plant Science (1991-2007) at the University of Oxford and  is now Emeritus Professor of Plant Science and a Fellow of St Johns College, Oxford.

His main research interests were the molecular and biochemical basis of plant growth and differentiation. This included an investigation of the regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and function during plant growth and differentiation, coupled with an investigation of the molecular and biochemical basis, and phenotypic consequences, of mitochondrial genetic diversity in plants in general and cytoplasmic male sterility in important crop plants in particular. In recent years he has made contributions to our understanding of senescence and programmed cell death in plants and also worked on the metabolic and genetic regulation of glyoxylate cycle enzymes and factors regulating the biosynthesis of glutathione and its function during oxidative stress

He is committed to creating a dialogue with the public on the role of plant science in ensuring food security and sustainability and was a founding Trustee of Sense about Science and serves on a number of international advisory boards and committees. In 2000, he was awarded the CBE for services to plant sciences, elected  member of  European Molecular Biology Organisation (1982) Academia Europaea (1988), corresponding member (2003) and Inaugural Fellow (2007) of the American Society of Plant Biologists, has served on AFRC and BBSRC Councils.He was Chair of the Executive Committee,UK Biochemical Society and and a Trustee of the Natural History Museum, London.




Frank Oldfield


Frank was chairman of trustees from 1998-2015.   For many years he managed a substantial farming operation in North Norfolk.  He has also served on JIC council, been a director of Morley Research Centre and the Institute of Arable Crop Research; and has had a close involvement throughout his career with the National Farmers’ Union.