13-14 December 2021, Canberra
Advisor, Global Commission on Adaptation at World Resources Institute
Dr. Rob Horsch recently retired from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which he joined as a deputy director in November 2006 to develop and lead the science and technology initiative of the agricultural development program. He recruited and managed a team of program officers and other staff that made and managed a large and diverse portfolio of research and development grants aimed at improving the productivity of small holder farmers by improving the crops that poor farmers raise, and poor consumers eat. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research and the 2 Blades Foundation, and as an Advisor to the Global Commission on Adaptation and to the Global Farmer Network.
Rob is a leader in the effort to create agricultural technologies that help improve yields and incomes for farmers around the world. He joined Monsanto in 1981 and led the company’s plant tissue culture and transformation efforts until 1995. In that capacity, he contributed to the development of the Bollgard, Yieldgard, and Roundup Ready traits in broad use today and directed an expanding research group to apply genetic transformation technology to many important crops, including potato, tomato, cotton, soybean, corn and wheat. From 1996 to 2005 he led the company’s programs for International Development Partnerships with responsibility to help small-holder farmers in developing countries gain access to better agricultural products and technologies.
Rob received his Ph.D. in Genetics at the University of California, Riverside, in 1979, and then conducted postdoctoral work in plant physiology at the University of Saskatchewan. He has served on the editorial boards of several leading journals in the plant sciences and as an advisor to the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. He served as a member of the Millennium Development Goals Hunger Task force and has been active in international agricultural development projects for the past 25 years. He was awarded the 1998 National Medal of Technology by President Clinton for contributions to the development of agricultural biotechnology.