Dr Ian Ferguson MNZM has been appointed to the newly created position of Departmental Science Adviser for the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) and will take up his part-time role from mid-September.
Announcing the appointment, MPI deputy director of policy Paul Stocks said that it is an exceptionally important role for the Ministry. “I am confident that Dr Ferguson will provide strong science leadership to ensure that MPI is well connected across government and with the science community and will continue to provide high quality scientific advice.”
The role focuses on the key areas of quality assurance of science inputs into regulatory decision making; strategic direction for science investment; and ensuring MPI is able to effectively deal with emerging risks and opportunities.
Dr Ferguson is well known in the science community, both nationally and internationally. He has been the chief scientist of crown research institute Plant and Food Research (and formerly HortResearch) since 2003. He has a science background in plant and fruit physiology, postharvest and horticultural science, biochemistry and biotechnology. He has also been a member of the New Zealand government funding and review panels and bodies, including being on the Marsden Council and the Rutherford Discovery Fellowship panel.
Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser says the role is critical for government if New Zealand is to maximise the benefits of evidence-based policy.
The role is for a three year term and is part-time. Dr Ferguson will continue in a science role with Plant and Food Research.