The James Hutton Institute (JHI)

The JHI was formed in April 2011 by amalgamation of the Scottish Crop Research Institute (Dundee) with the Macaulay Institute (Aberdeen).

JHI is internationally recognised for research on land use, plant sciences and molecular biology. It is Scotland’s leading institute on plants and their interactions with the environment. It works to develop sustainable, productive ecosystems in the face of environmental change and threats to biodiversity. It has a lead position in GM crops, particularly in areas of environmental impact assessment, geneflow, coexistence and IPM. Work in AMIGA will reside within the JHI’s Ecological Sciences Group, which a significant track record in translating science to policy, practice and public understanding.


JHI will lead WP3 on long-term effects and contribute to WP1 (Project Management and Compliance with EFSA Documents), WP5 (trophic impacts), WP7 (monitoring methodologies), WP8 (IPM, deputy lead), WP10 (economic impacts) and WP11 (outreach activities). As a framework for ERA and risk-benefit assessment, it will provide research expertise on spatio-temporal modelling of biogeochemical processes.

Staff members’ profile

Prof Geoff Squire (WP3 leader) is a biologist whose interests extend to sustainable systems, ecological resilience, food security, biodiversity and biogeochemical cycles. He has coordinated and collaborated in many major government-funded projects, including the UK’s Farm Scale Evaluations of GM crops and the EU FP7 SIGMEA project. He has advised a range of organisations such as the WTO and EU member states on GM issues, and was an author of the revised GM Environmental Risk Assessment Guidelines (EFSA 2010).

Dr Nick Birch (WP8 deputy leader) is a senior entomologist and manages and coordinates multidisciplinary research in insect-plant interactions, chemical ecology, IPM strategies and GM risk assessment, the latter in the EU FP6 ECOGEN project and the GMO Guidelines project in Kenya, Brazil and Vietnam.

Task leaders and other contributors include Dr Cathy Hawes, an ecologist with a background in trophic interactions and major ecological field campaigns (including the UK’s Farm Scale Evaluations of GM crops), and who now manages the field platform at the JHI’s Centre for Sustainable Cropping; Dr Graham Begg, a quantitative ecologist who will contribute to landscape-scale issues; Dr Pietro Iannetta, a molecular ecologist with experience in geneflow and persistence; and Mark Young who provides bespoke IT solutions.