Prof. David Hopkins of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh has been appointed to the Government’s Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE).
ACRE is an independent advisory committee composed of leading scientific and farming experts. Its main function is to give statutory advice to Ministers in the UK and Devolved Administrations on the risks to human health and the environment from the release and marketing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It also advises on the release of certain non-GM species of plants and animals that are not native to Great Britain.
The appointment of Prof. Hopkins has been made following agreement from the Devolved Administrations, to whom ACRE also reports. He will be filling a long-standing vacancy for a member with expertise in soil microbial ecology.
Prof. Hopkins took up a post in March 2011 as Professor of Environmental Biology and Head of the School of Life Sciences at Herriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. Prior to this he was Director of Science Planning and Principal Research Scientist at the Scottish Crop Research Institute and Professor of Environmental Biogeochemistry at the University of Stirling. He has previously been head of the School of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Stirling and a senior lecturer in biological sciences at the University of Dundee. He has been a president of the British Society of Soil Science, been on the editorial boards of several soil science journals and has published over 100 articles on soil microbiology and biochemistry.
Prof. Hopkins has been appointed for three years from 11 April 2011 and will receive the standard fee of £173 for each day spent attending ACRE meetings or on other ACRE business (an estimated 20 days per year).
The appointment has been made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies. All such appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) to be made public. Prof. Hopkins has stated he is not involved in political activities.