A "world-class" wheat researcher has been appointed to lead one of Norfolk's globally-renowned crop science institutions.

Prof Graham Moore will become the director of the John Innes Centre at the Norwich Research Park, where he has worked for more than 30 years.

His appointment follows an international search for a successor to Prof Dale Sanders, who announced his intention to step down as director last year after more than a decade in the post.

Prof Moore is internationally known for his work on wheat, one of the world's most important food crops.

His research has earned awards including the 2018 Rank Prize for Nutrition and the Royal Society Darwin Medal.

He also coordinated the £40m Designing Future Wheat programme, involving eight UK institutions, and has worked on global boards overseeing wheat breeding programmes in developing countries and the rest of the world.

Prof Moore said: “I am delighted to take on the directorship of the John Innes Centre at such an exciting time as we commence new institute strategic programmes and progress our vision for 'Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Planet'.

“The John Innes Centre is well known for its unique interdisciplinary approach and I’m looking forward to working closely with colleagues to continue to build on our strength in fundamental science, as well as applying our knowledge to global challenges such as food security, climate change, and health and wellbeing."

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, chairman of the governing council for the JIC, said: “Graham is an outstanding scientist who will be a world-class director for the John Innes Centre.

"He brings decades of experience of crop improvement as well as a strong appreciation for the fundamental discovery research which makes the JIC so highly respected.

"We are delighted that he has accepted the position and know he will provide exceptional leadership in his new role, as we accelerate our ambitions to bring fundamental science and global impact ever closer together."

Sir Thomas also thanked outgoing director Prof Sanders, saying his leadership during the last decade has "delivered enormous positive impact".

He added: "Over this time, he has strengthened its outstanding position in plant and microbial science, pioneered its ambitious plans for the future, and built many exciting national and international collaborations.”

Prof Sanders will continue as director until the end of August, and Prof Moore takes up the post from September.