The University of Guelph has named Nigel Raine the inaugural holder of Canada’s first research chair in pollinator conservation following a year-long international search. Raine, a leader in pollination conservation and ecology from Britain, will join U of G in May 2014 as the Rebanks Family Chair in Pollinator Conservation, according to a U of G press release.
The endowed chair is funded by a $3-million gift from the W. Garfield Weston Foundation in the name of Wendy Rebanks, daughter of Garfield Weston and one of the foundation’s directors.
Raine is currently a faculty member in the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway University of London.
U of G selected him for his work in pollinator behaviour and his vision for pollinator conservation in Canada, said Rob Gordon, dean of the Ontario Agricultural College. The search included input from the public, industry and government.
“Pollinator health is a subject of significant importance, and Nigel, as the Rebanks Family Chair in Pollinator Conservation, will provide tremendous leadership in enhancing our institution’s role and global reputation in this area,” Gordon said.
Raine studies the impacts of pesticides on bees, insect behaviour and pollination ecology. At Guelph, he will raise awareness of the importance and plight of pollinators, inform public policy, and help train highly-qualified conservationists and agriculturalists—all critical to the health of pollinators and food systems.
“This is a unique and extremely exciting opportunity to tackle the issues that are causing widespread declines of bees and other insect pollinators,” Raine said..