Tel: +44 (0)300 067 5900
Tel direct: +44 (0)300 067 5971
Fax: +44 (0)131 445 5124
Northern Research Station
Midlothian EH25 9SY
James has had a distinguished career in research, management and market development in the timber and forestry sectors in several countries. He holds a BSc Honours degree in forestry and a PhD, both from Aberdeen University, the latter for his thesis on the preservation characteristics of tropical hardwood species from Malaysia. He has held timber research positions in several countries, including the UK, United States, South Africa and New Zealand.
James has also been head of the TNO Centre for Timber Research in The Netherlands and more recently Chief Executive of Highland Birchwoods in Scotland.
Since joining the Forestry Commission in 2002, James has held several posts, including Business Policy Advisor for Forestry Commission Scotland and a period on secondment to the Scottish Government’s Renewables Policy Team. His most recent post was as Head of the Forestry Commission's team of Specialist Advisors.
Chief Executive & Accounting Officer of Forest Research an executive agency of the Forestry Commission and member of the Forestry Commission Executive Board.
James is responsible for the strategic vision and scientific direction of Forest Research and the leadership of 180 staff and responsible for an annual research budget of £13 m. He ensures that Forest Research provides appropriate research and evidence to the Forestry Commission, Defra and devolved administration ministers. As a member of the Forestry Commission Executive Board he contributes to the strategic governance of the Forestry Commission and brings relevant scientific knowledge to decision making.
He is also required to ensure that Forest Research meets its statutory obligations as a government agency.
James is a Director of CCure Solutions Ltd a spin-out company formed in conjunction with the University of Surrey.
He is also a Director of Genomia Management Ltd which manages the Genomia Fund, a seed and pre-seed fund, which provides pump-priming to support the commercialisation of emerging technologies in the life and biosciences sector.
Affiliations and achievements
- Graduate of the Cabinet Office Leaders UK programme to develop collaborative leadership skills for public service excellence
- Member of the Institute of Wood Science
- Member of the Institute of Directors
- Member of the International Research Group on Wood Preservation
- Professional Member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters
- Member of the Association of Chief Executives.
Main recent publications
James has authored or co-authored 41 international publications, conference papers and refereed scientific papers. He has also contributed to 47 research or contract reports and co-authored 8 international patents.