We are governed by a Board of 6 Directors comprising two appointees from each shareholder – The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Ltd, Agresearch Ltd and The New Zealand Forest Research Institute trading as Scion.

BPN Chairman

David Hughes, GM Commercial, The New Zealand Institute of Plant & Food Ltd

David is the CEO of Plant & Food Research, a CRI with a focus on horticulture, arable crops, seafood and wine.  He is responsible for the company’s marketing, business development and IP functions.



Previously David worked extensively in the Dairy Industry.  David joined the New Zealand Dairy Board in 1987 and worked for 5 years in a range of technical functions at the head office in Wellington.  In 1992 he transferred to the Middle East where he spent 5 years in sales, marketing and product development. His next move was to Tokyo, Japan where, for 2 years he was the General Manager Technical for the NZDB’s Japanese operating company.  In 1999 he returned to Head Office in NZ to take up the role of Global Category Manager before moving to the US to the role of Senior Vice President Business Development for the US operating company.

In 2003 David returned to NZ to a leadership position in Fonterra’s newly formed Marketing and Innovation group (Fonterra was formed through a merger of the majority of the dairy industry in NZ and is now of the worlds largest dairy companies). In 2005 David swapped from the ingredients to the branded consumer side of Fonterra’s business taking the role of GM Brands Innovation with responsibility for consumer goods R&D before accepting the role of CEO of Plant and Food Research in December 2017.

BTech (Hons), Manufacturing, Massey University, New Zealand
PGDip, Applied Statistics, Massey University, New Zealand

Professional Memberships
Member, New Zealand Institute of Directors
President, Australasian Industrial Research Group


Dr Russell Burton GM Research & Investments, Scion

Currently Russell has oversight of the New Zealand Government investment into Scion to ensure maximum value to New Zealand and to Scion.


With over 30 years involvement in the science sector, Russell’s role has varied from research, research management and commercialization of technologies. He has had a key role in development of a number of Scion’s spin-out companies including Greenweld Technologies Ltd and Wood Hardening Technologies Ltd where he has been CEO for periods and later, on the Board.

BE (Chemical and Process), University of Canterbury 1977.
PhD (Applied Science), Loughborough University of Technology United Kingdom 1987
Fellow Institution of Professional Engineers, New Zealand
Fellow Institution of Chemical Engineers, United Kingdom
Chartered Engineer, United Kingdom

Professional Memberships
Member, New Zealand Institute of Directors


Dr Elspeth MacRae, GM Manufacturing & Bioproducts, Scion

Elspeth leads the Manufacturing and Bioproducts business and science area which includes all Scion’s wood and fibre processing as well as biorefinery, biodiscovery and bioplastic activities.

Her personal science background includes research into:
Kiwifruit and plants in general
Sensory and consumer responses
Postharvest technologies
Carbohydrate and cell wall metabolism in plants
Flavour and fragrance chemicals and plant metabolic pathways and human detection
Allergens from plants and human interactions
Genomics, metabolomics and genetics technologies
Translating genomics to industrial biotechnology applications
Enzyme structure, function and activity


Dr Kieran Elborough, GM Science, Food Innovation,The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Ltd

General management of approx 200 science staff and several business managers in the Food Innovation portfolio.

2006-2008 Business Leader, HortResearch
2000–2006 Chief Scientist (forage/rumen genomics) Fonterra/Vialactia Biosciences (NZ) Ltd.
1995–2000 Lecturer, University of Durham, UK

BSc, Microbiology/Microbial genetics, University of Dundee, United Kingdom
DPhil, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Imperial College, University of London, United Kingdom 

Professional Memberships
Director and decision maker for the New Zealand government’s environmental protection agency (ERMA NZ)


Dr Jolon Dyer,
Science Group Leader, Food & Bio-based Products, Agresearch Ltd

Dr Dyer’s research specialises in protein chemistry, proteomics and structural biology, and their application to wool, meat, dairy and personal care products. He is particularly active in the application of redox proteomics approaches to understanding and controlling protein damage within these substrates, and also in evaluating molecular level interactions between proteins and other biomolecules, especially in foods and textiles.

Dr Dyer has achieved significant national and international recognition, including the AWI Award for Scientific Achievement and AWI-DWI Excellence in Wool Science Personal Award (2005), NZIAHS Significant Science Achievement Award (2008) and American Society of Photobiology New Investigator Award (2010). Dr Dyer also has adjunct positions within the Biomolecular Interaction Centre at the University of Canterbury (Senior Fellow), the Wine and Food Molecular Biosciences Department at Lincoln University (Associate Professor), and the Riddet Institute based at Massey University (Associate Investigator).



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