Tom joined Innovate UK in March 2013, and leads delivery of the £70m Agri-Tech Catalyst, working with a wide range of stakeholders from industry, growers and levy bodies, Government Departments, Research Councils and the science base. He also delivered successful thematic competitions under the Sustainable Agri-Food Innovation Platform (SAF-IP), totalling over £38m grant funding with competitions focusing on trait measurement technologies, engineering solutions, and crop and livestock disease challenges. He also led a successful business case to BEIS that has secured an additional £26m of GCRF funding to support Agri-Tech catalyst activities through international development work focussing in sub-Saharan Africa.
Tom leads international strategy development within the Agri-Food team at Innovate UK, where activities have included successful ‘Expert’ and ‘Global Business Innovation Programme’ UK missions to Canada in March 2017 and June 2018 respectively. This work has helped to develop a UK-Canada Agri-Food Roadmap which details R&D priority areas over the short- medium- and long-term timeframes where bilateral partnerships could be taken forward for mutual benefit.
Before joining Innovate UK, Tom was Assistant Director at Biosciences KTN Ltd and Head of the Plant & Crop Sector team, where activities focussed on accelerating the commercialisation of new technology relevant to food and non-food markets. He managed two Special Interest Groups on behalf of the Technology Strategy Board, in Algal Bioenergy and Synthetic Biology. He was a key player in establishing a £6m UK initiative in biorefining technologies (BBSRC IBTI Club) and was co-chair and then Chair of the BBSRC-funded PHYCONET Management Board, with a focus on Synthetic Biology technologies to develop high-value products from algae.
Tom originally trained as a Biochemist and went on to obtain a PhD in Plant Molecular Genetics at the University of Leeds. This was followed by post-doctoral research positions at leading universities and institutions in France, Denmark and the UK which provided him with a broad technical knowledge of applied bioscience research relevant to agriculture and the bioeconomy.