SCOTTISH SCIENTIST Professor Ian Toth has received this year's prestigious British Potato Industry Lifetime Award.

Professor Toth is the director of Scotland’s Plant Heath Centre at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee, where he has been undertaking plant health research for over 25 years, focusing his efforts on both strategic and applied research. This has brought him into regular contact with UK and devolved governments, the public and industry to whom he regularly presents his work.

Described as 'a cornerstone' and leader of the internationally recognised plant health work at the James Hutton Institute, Prof Toth is a globally recognised potato bacterial disease expert.

Presenting the award during the Potato Industry Conference 2020, held on November 24, AHDB Potatoes chair Alison Levett said: “Mention the phrase potato disease and Ian Toth’s name quickly comes into the discussion. Ian was trained under Michel Pérombelon at the Scottish Crop Research Institute but quickly became the 'go-to-person' in the potato industry for all things blackleg and soft rot related and has more recently been working with the industry on a long term strategy to control PCN.

“Through a series of rigorous scientific studies and an innate ability to collaborate, particularly with industry, Ian became the Head of the Weeds, Pests and Pathogens theme at the James Hutton Institute," she continued. "In this position he was responsible for delivering solutions for controlling blackleg throughout the potato supply chain and extending this knowledge into other potato bacterial diseases.

"His position at the interface of the science and industry sectors has recently been recognised by the award of Director of Scotland’s Plant Health Centre of Expertise," added Ms Levett. "This centre is funded by the Scottish government to help co-ordinate plant health knowledge, skills, needs and activities in Scotland including at the industry-academia interface. He was recently awarded £2million by BBSRC, NERC, Defra and Scottish Government to lead a Bacteria Diseases Initiative grant on blackleg, the most damaging bacterial plant pathogen in the UK.

“Professor Ian Toth’s prominent position in potato disease is unrivalled in the UK academic-industry interface and I am delighted that he is the recipient of this year’s award.”

For more information on his research visit www.hutton.ac.uk/staff/ian-toth.