Harper Adams University has appointed sustainable livestock systems expert, Professor Michael Lee, to the role of deputy vice-chancellor.
Professor Lee will undertake a wide range of duties overseeing the academic activities of the university as well as deputising for the vice-chancellor, Dr David Llewellyn.
Announcing the appointment, Dr Llewellyn said: “I am delighted to welcome Michael to the University. His experience and expertise will be invaluable as we move ahead with the delivery of our new strategic plan. Michael is joining us at a time when the UK’s agricultural system is going through a major transition, and his contribution to our work will help strengthen the support we can provide to the industry, through education and research, in the years ahead.”
Lee has dedicated his career to defining the role of sustainable livestock systems in securing global food security at the same time as protecting environmental health, for the sake of people and the planet.
He graduated with first-class honours in Animal Science from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1997 and gained a PhD in ruminant nutrition (protein and energy metabolism) from the University of Aberdeen in 2001 followed by postgraduate certificate for teaching in higher education from Aberystwyth University in 2012.
He worked for the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research from 2001-2008. before the merger with Aberystwyth University, where he stayed as a principal scientist and senior lecturer in animal nutrition and rumen biochemistry until moving to the University of Bristol, School of Veterinary Science (Bristol Veterinary School) in 2013 as a reader in sustainable livestock systems.
“At the global level, to tackle these issues, we need the best research and the best minds to re-develop agricultural practices towards sustainable food production and environmental protection.”
In 2015, he took a joint appointment between Rothamsted Research and the University of Bristol as Head of Site at North Wyke and was promoted to Chair in Sustainable Livestock Systems later that same year.
In August 2016, he was elected as vice-president of the European Federation of Animal Science Livestock Farming Systems Commission and in August 2019 became president of the commission. In April 2018 he was elected as vice-president of the British Society of Animal Science and will also take on the Presidency in April 2021.
Professor Lee commented: “I am very excited and honoured to be joining Harper Adams University at a vital time for UK agriculture. The growth at Harper Adams University has been truly phenomenal, not only in terms of its student intake and campus development but also its stature. Investment in critical areas of growth for sustainable agriculture in terms of precision Ag and artificial intelligence, agricultural engineering, environmental policy and land use, food and veterinary science (including One-Health, as exemplified by the Covid-19 pandemic) are inspirational.
“At the global level, to tackle these issues, we need the best research and the best minds to re-develop agricultural practices towards sustainable food production and environmental protection. Furthermore, Brexit and Covid-19 have increased the need to reshape our food systems, supporting industry and rural communities at a regional and national level.
“Harper Adams University is perfectly positioned to address these challenges as the UK’s leading agricultural, land-based and rural higher education institution with a clear mission and vision to lead, through exciting recent investment in capabilities, facilities and research areas. But, to Harper Adams’ greatest credit, which has positioned it more than most for the challenges ahead, is its relationship with industry and the community it serves.
“The decision to be a leading advocate of the four-year bachelor’s degree programme with a year in placement has entwined industrial research and collaboration within the very fabric of the University. This has seen benefits not only in terms of impact-driven research but also in student employability, satisfaction and, crucially, recruitment and retention of excellent students.
“I look forward to taking the next step of Harper Adams’ exciting journey to deliver people with the skills to tackle our greatest challenge of sustainably feeding a growing population and ensuring planetary health for future generations.”