Skip to main content
LOGO: Queen's University Belfast


George Scott Robertson Lecture 2021

Professor Maggie Gill OBE, FRSE reflected on what the outcomes of COP26 mean for Northern Ireland’s agricultural and agrifood sector

Professor Maggie Gill (centre) was welcomed to Queen's by IGFS Director Prof Nigel Scollan (right) along with representatives from AFBI, the Ulster Farmers' Union and DAERA

The annual George Scott Robertson Memorial Lecture was hosted recently in the Great Hall at Queen’s University Belfast.

The lecture ‘Delivering Change in the Agri-Food Sector – Learning from Each Other’, delivered by Professor Maggie Gill OBE, FRSE, emeritus Professor in the School of Biology, University of Aberdeen, reflected on the outcomes of Cop26 and recent strategic developments underpinning the future direction of the NI agrifood ecosystem.

Professor Nigel Scollan, Director of the Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) at Queen's University Belfast, said: "Professor Maggie Gill is one of the most distinguished thought leaders in the UK in the area of sustainability in agriculture and food systems.

"She is a strong advocate for bringing science and policy closer together and has extensive experience of working with governments to further the UN Sustainable Development Goals. I very much enjoyed hearing her insights on where we are on the roadmap to net zero, especially in the light of Cop26."

The annual lecture, which is jointly hosted by IGFS at Queen's, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI); the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), commemorates the work of Dr George Scott Robertson, who played a key role in promoting agricultural progress in Northern Ireland in the first half of the 20th century.

Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) president Victor Chestnutt said: “The UFU were delighted to be involved in the George Scott Robertson Memorial Lecture once again. We enjoyed hearing Professor Maggie Gill, reflect on the outcomes of COP26 and the recent strategic developments underpinning the future direction of the Northern Ireland (NI) agri-food ecosystem. We’re expecting to see a period of change in NI over the next few years with the recent announcement of the Green Growth Strategy and the pending consultation on a future agri policy. It was interesting to hear her thoughts on the direction future policy will take.”

Dr Elizabeth Magowan from AFBI commented: “Dr Elizabeth Magowan from AFBI commented: “The title of this year’s lecture hints at the need for an integrated approach between science, agricultural and government to take us into a sustainable future. This is a pivotal time for many in the agri sector and we were delighted, along with our co-hosts, to have been able to offer this opportunity to hear from one of the most respected scientists working in this area today.”

The lecture can be viewed on the IGFS YouTube channel, George Scott Robertson Memorial Lecture 2021 - YouTube