Experts in their field

19 December 2016

The School of Agriculture, Policy and Development has had a lot to celebrate this year, but it is particularly enjoying the success of three colleagues - two of which marked their 40th anniversary of service, and one who has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Universidad Privada de Ica in Peru for his extensive contributions to Behavioural Economics.

40 years service
Congratulations to Dr Alistair Murdoch, Programme Director for MSc Agriculture and Development and Richard Tranter, Professor of Rural Economy, who both marked their 40th year in the University in October 2016.


Dr Alistair Murdoch

Dr Alistair Murdoch
Alistair has research spanning four over decades with notable contributions such as the development of a temperature gradient plate that is still commercially produced three decades later by Grant Instruments Ltd in Cambridge.

Through partnerships with commercial companies in the UK and USA, Alistair is currently seeking out high tech yet environmentally friendly, solutions to reduce the amount of herbicides on field vegetable crops by 90%. Speaking about his time at Reading, he said: "The School's diversity of staff and students' origins and research is one of the highlights of my time here to-date.

"It encourages opportunities for multi-disciplinary working when it comes to research which allows me to learn from behavioural economists, livestock scientists, farmers and many more."

His journey started with the University of Reading in 1976 as an Assistant Experimental Officer to the late Professor Eric Roberts, following the completion of his PhD, successfully attained at Reading.

Alongside his research and Programme Director duties, Alistair believes that being a tutor to undergraduates and postgraduates is a privilege, saying: "Helping students develop and overcome personal struggles to eventually succeed is very rewarding, as if being trusted by them."

Recently appointed Impact Lead for the School, Alistair is looking forward to identifying and contributing to research where there is positive impact at large for the UK and in developing countries. He sees the future as being "incredibly bright" when referring to the advancement of technology and believes that the School's current interactive multi-disciplinary approach will help overcome challenges in adapting to such changes and ensuring that our research remains industry relevant.


Professor Richard Tranter

Professor Richard Tranter
Richard arrived at the University as an Agricultural Economics undergraduate in 1970 and continued as a postgraduate student.

Having a wealth of published research on a national and international scale, he has investigated topics such as organic farming and biomass as a source of fuel, both re-occurring, big issues that he has observed during his time here, due to the high industry interest.

Richard said: "It is pleasing to see that some of our work has influenced Agricultural policy and it really feels as if we are making a difference. I am proud to reflect on our research contributions, particularly that of the debate in the 2000s, of how a widely criticised EU agricultural policy could be reformed."

Echoing Alistair's comments, Richard also points to the School's multi-disciplinary approach as a highpoint in his time at Reading so far, saying: "It is always interesting to work with knowledgeable people from different disciplines, from plant experts to anthropologists - it's intellectually stimulating."

Richard particularly enjoys working with colleagues on European projects when investigating diverse food and farming systems, he adds: "It's a pleasure to see how colleagues have blossomed over the years and gone to bigger and better things, both within the School and externally.

"I credit the University and the School for its full commitment to their staff and students. So when you leave here with a degree, it's really worth something special."

Looking to the future, Richard considers the challenges that Brexit will bring to British agriculture and is keen to explore how the agricultural industry can become more accessible to all now that the world is becoming so incredibly diverse.


Professor Nikos Georgantzis

Professor Nikos Georgantzis
Congratulations to Nikos Georgantzis, Professor of Behavioural Economics who was awarded an Honorary Doctor by the Universidad Privada de Ica in Peru for his extensive contributions to Behavioural Economics.

Universidad Privada de Ica presented him with the award in recognition of his "high professional and intellectual qualities, as he is renowned for his valuable contributions to the Economic Sciences."

Nikos said: "I am very honoured and thank the Universidad Privada de Ica for their generosity. An honorary doctorate is presented to those an institution deems as respected and distinguished in their professional area. I'm a humble guy so this is an unusual moment for me."

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