School celebrates as two Professors complete 40 years of service

04 October 2017

Paul Hadley and Richard Ellis

The School of Agriculture, Policy and Development is celebrating 40 years of continuous service of two of its Professors, Richard Ellis and Paul Hadley who both joined as Research Fellows in October 1977 (to the then Department of Agriculture and Horticulture), and are part of our Crop Production Group.

Professor Richard Ellis

Richard began his PhD research studentship here at the University of Reading 45 years ago, with a short break as a Research Fellow in Scotland, before retuning in 1977. He is now a Professor of Crop Production as well as overseeing University collaborations with NHS Trusts and similar bodies. He was Head of the School from 1998 to 2008 and Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences from 2008 to 2016.

Professor Paul Hadley

Paul also joined the University in October 1977 as a Research Fellow at the Plant Environment Laboratory. He is now a Professor of Horticultural Crop Physiology and Director of the Centre of Horticulture. Paul's interests now mainly focus on the environmental physiology of both temperate and tropical perennial crops. He manages a research programme on cocoa which includes the International Cocoa Quarantine Centre, the International Cocoa Germplasm Database and a long-term research programme on the impact of climate change on cocoa. Paul also manages the Soft Fruit Technology Group which is a University/Industry partnership carrying out applied physiological research on berry crops.

Richard and Paul gratefully acknowledge the excellent, understated, and always jovial mentoring they received from the late Professor Eric Roberts at the start of their careers here: not only in enabling each of them to develop independent scientific approaches to crop production research, but also in the successful conduct of genuine, strong teamwork in achieving international research excellence.

Speaking to Professor Richard Ellis about his time here at the University he said: "Our best time, if a single period can be defined, as academics was in the 1990s with our joint research on climate change impacts on cereal and vegetable crops, in which we not only devised a unique approach to such investigations, but the consequent series of scientific papers altered the international direction of focus of such research towards the impacts of brief periods of extreme weather at particularly sensitive stages of crop development."

He adds: "We have both enjoyed many decades of supporting the learning of a diverse undergraduate and postgraduate student body from the UK and overseas (and hearing of all their subsequent successes)."

They continue to cooperate; for example, both are heavily involved in the management of the National Fruits Collection, and also in developing the new, large, long-term study investigating climate impacts on apple production at that site.

Professor Julian Park, head of the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development commented saying: "this is a fantastic contribution to the University, but also to crop and horticulture science globally and they both remain highly respected and productive members of the School"

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