Knowledge for a sustainable world

Gillian Summers, Linden Kemkaran

On Tuesday 7th May 2019, Lord Boateng paid a visit to the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Greenwich’s Medway campus in Kent. Lord Boateng recently took over from Baroness Scotland as Chancellor of the University of Greenwich. As honorary figurehead, the Chancellor presides at graduation ceremonies and other university events.

The new Chancellor met NRI staff and toured laboratories together with the University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor David Maguire, to see the latest in research, development and teaching, with a focus on food, agriculture, environment and sustainable development. Lord Boateng was keen to meet NRI experts working on providing practical solutions to challenges in the developing world, with a special focus on Africa.

PBoateng1Professor Andrew Westby, Director of NRI said, “It was a privilege to share some of the work that we do at NRI with Lord Boateng. His interest in, and commitment to, food and nutrition security and economic growth, especially in Africa, were clear and we look forward to working with him in his new role as Chancellor of the University.”

NRI’s distinctive and innovative areas of excellence include climate change, food loss and waste, sustainable agricultural intensification, food systems for nutrition, and human, animal and plant health. NRI draws on its unique blend of scientific, social-scientific and policy work, to take a global food systems approach to deliver research of the very highest quality that improves the lives of vulnerable people.

PBoateng3Lord Boateng is a Barrister, member of the House of Lords, a trustee of the Planet Earth Institute, and former British High Commissioner to South Africa, who first rose to prominence as a campaigning civil liberties lawyer. With a long and distinguished political career, Lord Boateng was MP for Brent South (1987–2005) holding many ministerial positions, including Minister of State (Home Office) and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and was Britain’s first black cabinet minister in 2001.


He currently chairs the Nairobi-based African Enterprise Challenge Fund, a multi-donor fund to promote businesses that link smallholder farmers to global markets, and the Board of Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor which works in Africa, India and Bangladesh to promote and deliver pro-poor services by urban utilities.

On his appointment as Chancellor, Lord Boateng said, “The university's commitment to access diversity and excellence is second to none. I am delighted to be associated with a university that is truly global in its outlook and contribution to sustainable development at home and abroad.”

Links: Profiles of Dr Frances Hawkes | Dr Sarah Arnold | Professor Sue Seal

  • The static suction trap demonstrated by Dr Sarah Arnold was deployed in the CocoaPOP project, in which NRI worked with researchers in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica to survey and study pollinator populations in Caribbean cocoa plantations. The traps work by sucking in air containing small insects from around the tree and preserving them for later study and identification, including DNA sequencing. Find out more in the Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment article 'The significance of climate in the pollinator dynamics of a tropical agroforestry system'.

  • NRI PhD student Joachim Nwezeobi presented his work on whiteflies during the poster session at the Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego, California, in January 2019. The poster, entitled ‘Draft Genome Assemblies of Two West African Cassava Bemisia tabaci Populations’ can be seen here.