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Name : John Richard Hillman (Adjunct Professor)


Academic Rank: Professor

Qualification : Ph.D

Education Plant Physiology and Biochemistry

Graduate Of: Wales (University College, Aberystwyth)



1962-1968.  Wales (University College, Aberystwyth)


BSc (First-Class Honours in Botany) 1965

PhD in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry. Studies supported by a competitively awarded Agricultural Research Council Postgraduate Studentship (only 8 awarded in the UK annually) supervised by Professor P. F. Wareing FRS.- 1968

President of University Biological Society 1966-1968.


  • Director/Chief Executive of the Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI). March 1986 – March 2005. SCRI doubled in size during my tenure to employ 400 staff, and expanded financially each year, despite the fact that alone of the Scottish Agricultural and Biological Research Institutes (SABRIs), it lacked substantial financial assets held by trusts (although I started The Mylnefield Trust in 2000, its assets were less than £1 million by 2005), and the Institute had no physical assets that could be used to generate funds because it had only an annual renewable lease from the Government on its site and buildings. As with other SABRIs, SCRI was not permitted to receive direct funding from the UK Research Councils. During the time (1988-1994) when comparative data were available, SCRI was the most productive (both refereed and non-refereed papers per capita; lowest cost per refereed and non-refereed paper, lowest overhead costings etc.) of the UK research institutes.  Throughout the period 1988-2005, when data were available, it was the most productive of the five Scottish institutes.  I was responsible for introducing to the Institute’s research portfolio state-of-the-art project teams on plant biotechnology including genetically modified crops, metabolomics, genomics, bioinformatics, natural-abundance stable-isotope discrimination studies, combined gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC-MS), electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging, gene flow studies, recombinant-antibody diagnostics, non-linear mathematics, and a lipid-analysis unit. Nonetheless, conventional research themes in plant breeding/genetics, pathology, and physiology were maintained and reinforced by the new research thrusts. Cultivar production in several crop types was sustained through the commercial arm (Mylnefield Research Services Ltd.) I established, following the elimination in the late 1980s of public funding for near-market research and development. In the late 1980s, SCRI launched Scotland’s first biotechnology patent (a viral coat protein for GM crops). Clearance was sought and obtained from Government and the local planning authorities to establish the SCRI Science Park. I was responsible also for the establishment and governance of the 35-strong Scottish Agricultural Statistics Service, which I subsequently retitled to Biomathematics & Statistics Scotland. This group of statisticians and biomathematicians was formed and greatly expanded from the former AFRC Unit of Statistics, and remained based in the University of Edinburgh. I was author of the unique Global Reviews in the SCRI Annual Report series (see ), and author/joint author of the 1987-1989 Global Climate Change reviews, as well as other reviews on agriculture, food irradiation, sustainability, anti-nutritional compounds, xenobiotics, plant fibres, anti-oxidants and free radicals, stable isotopes, plant biotechnology, foresight projections, and management issues, etc.  
  • Founder and Deputy Chairman of Mylnefield Research Services (MRS) Ltd. (the wholly owned commercial arm of SCRI; Managing Director: Dr N. W. Kerby).  1989 – 2005. This company was one of the earliest technology-transfer companies to be created in the UK public-sector research establishment grouping but unlike the others, it was founded and operated without any subsidies for its establishment from the public- or private-sector or from trusts. Gift-aided over £1 million to SCRI and the Mylnefield Trust over the last four years of my tenure, and was rated independently by DTZ in 2007 to be worth over £165m p.a. to the UK economy. The company provided the base for the creation in 2000 of The Mylnefield Trust and Mylnefield Holdings Ltd. as mechanisms to provide financial underpinning for the Institute.
  • Note for information. In April 2011, SCRI and the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute in Aberdeen were amalgamated by the Scottish Government to form the James Hutton Institute, a body focused on environmental monitoring, in a policy decision that was related in part to political opposition to SCRI’s high-profile research into GM technology and thereby reducing Scotland’s contribution to international agricultural, horticultural, and industrial biotechnological research.
  • Founding Trustee, The Mylnefield Trust.  2000 to 2005
  • Founding Director, Mylnefield Holdings Ltd.  2000 to 2005
  • Visiting Professor at Universities of Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Strathclyde                                      
  • 1968-1971 - Assistant Lecturer (1968) and Lecturer (1969) in Plant Physiology, Department of Physiology & Environmental Studies, University of Nottingham School of Agriculture.  Chairman of Staff Club
  • 1971-1986 - Lecturer (1971), Senior Lecturer (1977), Reader (1980), Professor and Head of Botany (1982), University of Glasgow; supervisor of the Garscube Laboratories and Experimental Gardens.  Served on Senate, Science Faculty, Senate Appointments Committee, Discipline Committee, Heads of Science Departments Committee, and Garscube Site Committee etc.  In addition to lecturing and laboratory practical duties, supervisor of research students (39 PhD, 2 MSc) and postdoctoral assistants (5).  Organiser of the Schools Liaison initiative in biological sciences for Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities (1982-1986). At the time of my appointment to SCRI, the Glasgow University Botany Department had become by then the largest, best-funded, and most productive plant-science academic department in the UK (25 academic and 25 core-funded technical staff, 6 support staff, 50 research students, 14 post-doctoral staff, producing up to 50 honours graduates a year (in 1971 when I joined, the Botany Department had only one final-honours student) and was one of the larger departments in the Faculty of Science. 

Curriculum Vitae