The story of Richard

‘Creating synergy within research’

When Richard Michelmore studied biology at Cambridge, UK, he purposely chose to specialise in plants. Compared to other areas, fundamental research into plants is more easily aligned with applied research. In the area of genetics he can fully pursue his passion for solving both underlying and practical problems.

Technological revolution

Richard is currently the director of the UC Davis Genome Center in California USA. During his career he has witnessed a great technological revolution that continues to this day. The challenge is now how to analyse all the data that is becoming available, and how to use it for the benefit of society. What Richard really enjoys is transferring valuable knowledge – whether to the students, who hold the future in their hands, or to the industry, which can translate it into practical solutions for growers.

Especially in lettuce, one of Richard’s target crops, the knowledge transfer and application process moves fast and the interaction between universities, growers and seed companies works very well. They regard each other as partners, each with their own qualities and capabilities. They feel a sense of reward when their own work contributes to the shared objective of improved varieties, such as the development of a disease resistance that reduces the need for chemical crop protection agents.

Long-term approach

In these dynamic times, Richard cannot predict the future of plant breeding. But he is convinced that his academic successors will also have close partnerships with companies like Rijk Zwaan and, just as now, those relationships will be based on trust, mutual understanding and appreciation as well as a long-term approach.

That synergy increases the efficiency of the worlds of research and industry alike and contributes to the stability of the world’s food supply, both now and in the future.

Richard Michelmore enjoys solving complex problems in collaboration with partners who create synergy with his institution’s work. Rijk Zwaan shares this delight. Together with Richard, we are working towards a healthy future.