New Trustee appointed to champion horticultural research

An international expert in food security has joined the board of East Malling Trust, further strengthening its focus on the advancement of horticultural research.

Professor Sarah Gurr is the Chair in Food Security at Exeter University. In 2023, as well as in 2019, she was listed amongst the world’s top 1% of most highly cited researchers by Clarivate Analytics.

As a charity, The East Malling Trust is tasked with the advancement of science for public benefit, primarily through the support of horticultural research and development.

During her career, Sarah has authored or co-authored almost 200 publications, including several high-profile papers in Science, Nature and Nature Journals and contributed to the Government Foresight report on Biological Hazards. She is frequently called upon to speak at horticultural science and industry events around the world.

She said: “My career is dedicated to improving understanding of plant disease, and so I’m very pleased to have been asked to join the board of East Malling Trust, where I can share my knowledge in support of food security, and the industry.”

Sarah grew up in Kent, attending school in Canterbury. During her career she has held many fellowships, including at St Andrew’s University, the Royal Society, and the University of Oxford, as well as other honorary titles. She originally graduated from Imperial College, where she also obtained her PhD in Plant Pathology. Other roles have included curator of the Oxford Botanic Garden; being the first woman President of The British Society of Plant Pathology; and advisor on Plant Health to the Scottish Government.

She has been a Visiting Professor and held the Donder’s Chair (Honorary) at Utrecht University in Holland. She recently became a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) and Fellow of American Academy of Microbiology.

Welcoming her to East Malling Trust, Chairman Oliver Doubleday, said: “Sarah’s scientific track record and global reputation makes her an excellent addition to the board of trustees and our support for horticultural research and the industry.”

The board of The East Malling Trust comprises nine Trustees drawn from leading members of the perennial crops industry, including prominent academics and leaders of the business sector.

East Malling Trust, which was established in 1913, is a key funder of the world-class work in perennial and clonally propagated crops undertaken by NIAB East Malling in Kent. For more information, see

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