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Honorary Professorship for Services to Forest Research

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24 MAY 2011NEWS RELEASE No: 14655

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Dr. Hugh Evans, Head of Forest Research in Wales has been awarded an Honorary Professorship by Aberystwyth University.

The chair is jointly sponsored by IBERS – Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences, and IGES – Institute of Geography and Earth Studies at the university.

Dr Hugh Evans is a distinguished entomologist and research scientist with an international reputation. He leads numerous international research groups as well as leading Forest Research in Wales projects, and serves on several international advisory groups.

Dr. Evans said, “I am delighted and honoured to be awarded an honorary professorship by Aberystwyth University and look forward to extending the already fruitful interaction with colleagues at IBERS and IGES, which I have found to be both stimulating and productive.

“Research in Wales, especially in the rural, forestry and climate change sectors, is extremely vibrant and I’m very enthusiastic about interacting with research groups and institutes and in building our research capacity in Wales.

“Being based within the University enables myself and the FR team in Wales to have direct access to like minded academics, whose work complements what we are doing within FR Wales and creates new opportunities for collaboration with other agencies on a national and international scale.

"I am particularly excited about our plans, with IGES and IBERS scientists to launch the Dyfi Catchment and Woodland Research Platform later in 2011, which will be a major new research initiative making use of the expertise present in our research groups.”

In addition to its international forestry dimension, Forest Research in Wales supports Forestry Commission Wales’s activities aimed at delivering the policy priorities of Woodlands for Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government’s strategy for trees and woodlands. It now employs 15 people across the country and Dr. Evans became its Head in 2008.

Following the Forest Research initiative to expand its research in Wales, Dr Evans’ first decision was to base his headquarters within Forestry Commission Wales’s already well established National Office in Aberystwyth.

Opening in January 2009, it proved an ideal base, with  the relocation of the Welsh Assembly Government Rural Affairs Department to the town, and the opportunity to exploit the environmental and ecological expertise that exists within the University at IBERS and IGES, providing  the potential for integrated research.

The subsequent re-location of the Forest Research in Wales science team to its new base at the Edward Llwyd building within IBERS on Penglais Campus has strengthened its ability to collaborate in research with both departments.

An excellent example of this is the development of the soon to be launched Dyfi Catchment and Woodland Research Platform.

Professor Wayne Powell, Director of IBERS said, “Dr. Hugh Evans’ appointment brings a strong asset to IBERS-IGES, our important alliance with Bangor University via BEAA (Biosciences, Environmental and Agricultural Alliance) and the wider academic and public sector communities. In particular his appointment will provide a clear strategic focus to our growing emphasis on ecosystems services.”

Professor Mike Woods, Director of IGES said, ”We are collaborating with Forest Research in Wales on a number of exciting research projects, including  applying remote sensing technologies and understanding the impact of forests on hydrological patterns. These are important examples of how the university is working with public agencies for the benefit of Wales, and the appointment of Dr. Evans as Honorary Professor further strengthens this close relationship.

"Conferring a University Honorary Professorship recognises the academic contribution Dr Evans has made to his discipline; and the importance that Aberystwyth University places on its relationship with the Welsh Assembly Government. It will also strengthen the growing body of interdisciplinary work between IGES and IBERS."

Notes to Editors

Dr. Hugh Evans was born in Bangor, North Wales, and graduated BSc (Hons) in zoology from Cardiff University in 1970. He went on to carry out doctoral research at the Hope Department of Entomology at Oxford University. After completing his DPhil in September 1973, he joined the NERC Institute of Virology, Oxford (now CEH Oxford), where he worked on the ecology and practical use of insect pathogenic viruses.

He joined Forest Research as principal entomologist in February 1984, and was appointed head of the Tree Health Division in June 2004. He has held particular responsibility for liaison with research interests in Wales, and is particularly active in research into the biosecurity of forests and woodlands, with emphasis on phytosanitary (plant health) threats arising from invasive, non-native pest species.

He is Chair of the International Union of Forest Research Organisation’s unit on alien invasive species and international trade, a member of the European & Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation Panel on Quarantine Pests of Forestry, and a member of the International Forestry Quarantine Research Group. He has a strong interest in and research experience of biological control of forest pests, and has worked in Welsh forests in his previous and current posts. Dr Evans has a history of strong university links, especially through the supervision of PhD students.

Forest Research is the research arm of the Forestry Commission and carries out research and provides technology transfer and advice on a wide range of forestry and woodland topics. The Unit in Aberystwyth was set up in January 2009 and works with the forestry and woodland sectors to deliver a more tailored approach to developing and delivering research results relevant to Wales.

Further Information: Dawn Havard IBERS 01970 628440 07779 645598 dbh@aber.ac.uk

e-mail: hugh.evans@forestry.gsi.gov.uk