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Humanitarian Board Member Dr Adrian C Dubock

Agricultural Consultancy for Development GmbH, Switzerland


Adrian was born in UK. Following a first degree in Zoology (University of Wales) and then a PhD from Reading University(‘Reproductive Physiology and Ecology of the Grey Squirrel’) in 1976, Adrian joined the UK government’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, as a scientist, working on methods of field testing rodenticides.

Adrian Dubock
Through his work Adrian has been to many countries, and apart from the beauty he saw many things that were not quite right. This motivated him to do whatever he could from within his position, converting him into a Syngenta ambassador to the world. Adrian is the architect of the public-private partnership that has made Golden Rice possible.

Subsequently, Adrian joined the company ICI contributing to the development of a global public health business which included malarial vector control as well as rodenticides. He published more than 50 scientific papers, and wrote chapters in several books. His work experience caused him to travel widely (more than 50 countries in the first three years alone) mostly to Asia, the Middle East and USA. Unlike much business travel, this involved more than airports and meeting rooms. Fields (including rice fields), houses, restaurants and public infrastructure such as docks and sewerage systems were visited too. An awareness of how little the poorest of society had, and how much they needed others to act for them, started to develop, together with the sense that this had to be done in a way that gave them choices, did not undermine their dignity, and respected national sovereignty. Subsequently, as ICI’s General Manager for Central America, living in Guatemala in the second half of the 1980s, when five of the seven countries were embroiled in conflict, these sensitivities were reinforced.

For the last decade of his Syngenta career Adrian’s work was principally concerned with biotechnology, straddling the boundary between technology and its commercial (and humanitarian) applications. As part of this work Adrian negotiated with Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer the agreements that underpinned Syngenta’s support for the Humanitarian Golden Rice project, and conceived the Humanitarian Board concept to provide its governance. A breadth of strategic vision and respect for the multidisciplinary processes necessary to bring an idea through research to become a product, together with concern for justice for the poor, are what drives his contribution to the Golden Rice Humanitarian Project. Adrian retired from Syngenta and his final responsibilities —biotechnology collaborations, as well as humanitarian donations of technology— at the end of 2007 after 30 years service and working in almost 90 countries.

Adrian was a sheep farmer in West Sussex, UK for 10 years, enjoys wildlife (and was the Biodiversity Coordinator for the Fernhurst Society) and travel, as well as skiing and walking when he has time. He has lived in Switzerland since 2001.

He is now consulting to try and bring private sector skills to public sector agricultural development in developing countries. Since July 2008 has been the Project Manager for Golden Rice and since July 2010 also the Executive Secretary of the Golden Rice Humanitarian Board.

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