New head of British Beet Research Organisation is ready for sugar industry’s challenges

Vicky Foster, head of the British Beet Research Organisation.

Vicky Foster, head of the British Beet Research Organisation. - Credit: BBRO

A senior scientist specialising in plant pathology and arable knowledge exchange has been handed a key role in co-ordinating research to benefit East Anglia's sugar beet industry.

Dr Vicky Foster has been appointed as the head of the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO), based at the Norwich Research Park, which commissions and evaluates research projects to maximise crop yields, and shares the results with growers.

She will join in February from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), where she was head of research and knowledge exchange programme management.

As her PhD study was in plant pathology, Dr Foster said she is aware of the plant protection issues facing the sugar beet industry.

'I am very excited to be joining BBRO at such an important time for the sugar beet industry,' she said. 'BBRO's research and knowledge exchange has been a key driver in sugar beet productivity growth over many years and I look forward to joining a great team and continuing our work to address the key challenges facing our industry.'

Cambridgeshire grower Michael Sly, chairman of the National Farmers' Unions's sugar board and a member of the BBRO executive board, said: 'We are thrilled that Vicky will be joining the BBRO. She has a great passion for the arable sector combined with a strong set of leadership skills and technical background. The BBRO executive board looks forward to working with her and the BBRO team to deliver even greater improvements for our industry.'

Paul Kenward, managing director of British Sugar and also a BBRO executive board member, added: 'The BBRO has been a cornerstone of helping our industry thrive, and getting to the strong yields and economic position we are now in. I am extremely proud of the team at the BBRO and the work they've done. The appointment of Dr Vicky Foster signals the commitment of British Sugar and our partners in NFU Sugar to even stronger delivery.'

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The BBRO also announced that Dr Mark Stevens will become its head of science with immediate effect.