Consultants | Dr Robert Koebner
Dr Robert Koebner is a graduate in Agricultural Science from the University of Queensland (Australia) and a holder of a PhD from the University of Adelaide (Australia). Upon completion of his PhD, he was recruited as a postdoctoral fellow by the Plant Breeding Institute, Cambridge (United Kingdom), a post which evolved into an open-ended project leader position. For the 20 years from 1986-2006, he led a research programme at the PBI, which was relocated to the John Innes Centre (Norwich) in 1989, focussing on various aspects of wheat genetics, cytogenetics and the development and deployment of molecular markers in wheat research and breeding. His programme was able to attract financial support from a range of national and international donors. This research led to the authorship of over 70 peer-reviewed scientific papers published in a spectrum of international academic journals, as well as to numerous presentations at both national and international conferences. In the course of his research career, he served as a reviewer of grant applications for funding bodies in the UK, USA and EU; as a project evaluator for the EU; and as an editor and reviewer for a number of academic journals, remaining as chief editor of Plant Genetic Resources: Characterisation and Utilisation. His responsibilities have included the teaching, supervision, training and examination of MSc and PhD students.
Since 2006, Dr Koebner has worked as a consultant. His major current commitment is to the Kirkhouse Trust, a charity dedicated to supporting agricultural crop improvement research for the developing world. Its overarching objective is to strengthen and promote research skills in the developing world, and in particular, to deliver appropriate marker assisted selection to National Programmes in Africa. In addition, he founded and continues to operate smartEnglish, an internet-based scientific editing service to authors in the field of plant genetics and breeding whose mother tongue is not English; and is contracted to two CGIAR institutes (IITA, Ibadan and The Generation Challenge Program, CIMMYT, Mexico) and the prestigious German Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung (IPK) as a scientific writer. He is a native speaker of English, and is fully conversant in French and German. His first and foremost aspiration is to maximise the application of publicly-funded crop science research.