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Working his way out

Dr. Roger Beachy plans on establishing the Global Institute for Food Security before making a quick exit

By Nicolas Heffernan

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Dr. Roger Beachy just started at Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) but he’s already eying the exit.

Beachy took the reins of GIFS as Founding Executive Director and CEO in December 2012 but is already looking for a successor. The province of Saskatchewan, the University of Saskatchewan and PotashCorp are collaborating to develop GIFS at the university to tackle the global challenge of feeding a growing population.

“I hope to work myself out of a job by the end of the year,” he chuckles, “and then leave [GIFS] in the hands of a very skilled executive director in the future. I will stay involved as the chief science advisor for a few years after.”

The institute, with initial commitments of up to $35 million from PotashCorp and $15 million from the province over the next seven years, hopes to address the increasing global demand for safe, reliable food.

And with more than 45 years as a researcher and founder of the Danforth Plant Science Center in Missouri, the First Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Chief Scientist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beachy will use his experience to try and make GIFS a success.

“What I’ve come to learn in my 45 years in science… is to empower the scientists and team members – because this is really team science – to do their thing,” he says. “I’ve really learned a lot from pitfalls along the road a lot of things I failed at and I think those experiences will be helpful at this point in time.”

The institute will administer the no-strings attached funds that were contributed by the donors and oversee project management; help stimulate new science initiatives that will have global visibility and global impact; and to broaden the knowledge about GIFS and the university with the intention of bringing on additional financing and sponsors.

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