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Professor Chris Garforth takes advantage of University's new flexible retirement scheme

Professor Chris Garforth

Professor Chris Garforth

The scheme allows Chris to continue to work with reduced hours in exchange for payment of a portion of his pension

Thirty two years after joining the University, Professor Chris Garforth is only just beginning to think about slowly loosening his ties with work by being one of the first to take advantage of the University's new flexible retirement scheme.

The scheme has allowed Chris to continue to work with reduced hours and a reduction in salary (but without much loss in income overall), in exchange for payment of a portion of his pension.

Chris joined the then Agricultural Extension and Rural Development Centre (AERCD) at London Road in 1980 on a short term (seven month) contract.

When asked what has kept him at Reading for so long, Chris said; "This is a very stimulating environment to work in. The Department (now the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development) and the job have constantly evolved."

Chris has particularly enjoyed working with international PhD students, journeying with them as they learn from their research and take their knowledge back to their own countries.

"I have supervised over 60 PhDs from 22 different countries over my career, many of whom I visit in the course of my work or have become my research colleagues. It is particularly satisfying to have the opportunity to work overseas on various projects" he said.

"My specialism is the understanding and communication of how rural change happens and what prevents it from happening - how agricultural innovation works at farm and village level and how farmers can be supported.

"Many of my colleagues in the University are involved in generating new techniques and I am involved in finding out why these innovations don't touch some farmers' lives. How the communication from Government (for example, DEFRA in a UK setting) sometimes does not have the effect on farmers that is desired."

Chris intends to spend his new-found two days of free time from his flexible retirement with his wife and family and in his allotment, although from the sounds of things, he will remain extremely busy - his work for the University continues to involve a lot of travel and between now and Christmas, he will be visiting Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Western Balkans and Ethiopia.

For further details of how you or your staff might be able to take advantage of flexible retirement, please visit the Human Resources website

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