International biosciences leader joins Global Institute for Food Security Board of Directors

SASKATOON - Mr. Stephen Visscher, a renowned international leader in developing new multi-national partnerships to tackle global food security, is joining the Board of Directors of the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan, effective immediately.

Mr. Visscher is the Deputy Chief Executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), a government-funded council in the United Kingdom that invests in world-class bioscience training and research with potential for major societal impacts. He is also the executive team member responsible for international strategy.

"GIFS is a unique organization with the ability to fast-track discovery research in agriculture into application in both the developed and developing world. With Steve's extensive experience in funding policy, international strategy, and forging new research partnerships, his insights will be invaluable to the Board in helping GIFS grow as a major solution provider to the global issue of food security," Dallas Howe, Chair of the GIFS Board of Directors, said in announcing the appointment.

Mr. Visscher has been a major player in strengthening the Council's research in universities and institutes over the past two decades. BBSRC supports 1,600 scientists and 2,000 research students in universities and institutes across the UK.

He has developed extensive links in food security with funders in the US, Canada, Brazil, France, India, China, the European Union, and the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). He took a leading role in establishing the G20 International Wheat Initiative and the International Wheat Yield Partnership, a public-private partnership. He also led the UK delegation to G20 meetings of agricultural chief scientists in Russia in 2013 and in Australia in 2014.

For his support for scientific research, Mr. Visscher was honoured in 2013 with the title Commander of the Order of the British Empire, awarded for outstanding work in the respective individual's field.

"Saskatchewan is a major contributor to global research and innovation in the agri-food sector, and I am excited to join the Board of this tremendously important endeavor,"Â Mr. Visscher said. "Addressing how to feed nine billion people sustainably by 2050 is a daunting global issue. A university or research institute often cannot provide the whole solution to a particular food security issue, but working with others can achieve a much greater impact."

About GIFS:

GIFS was established in December 2012 through the collaboration of its founding partners - PotashCorp, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the U of S. With initial commitments of up to $35 million from PotashCorp and $15 million from the Saskatchewan government over seven years, the Institute addresses the increasing global demand for safe, reliable, and nutritious food. Located at the U of S, the Institute facilitates research that will result in much needed technological, economic, nutritional, and environmental improvements to the food supply system both at home and around the world. Visit for more information.

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For more information about this announcement, contact:
Dr. Maurice Moloney, Executive Director & CEO
Global Institute for Food Security
Phone: 306-966-3701

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