A pioneer in the field of sustainable pest management has been awarded an Honorary Professorship by Cardiff University.
Dr Owen Jones, a commercial adviser and industrial stakeholder who specialises in commercialising research, is a longstanding collaborator of experts at the University’s School of Chemistry.
The award recognises his outstanding contribution in the field of insect pest management, and his important contributions to recent breakthroughs in Cardiff University research.
One of the earliest researchers working to find sustainable alternatives to harmful synthetic pesticides, Dr Jones’ focus has been on biopesticides, naturally occurring biological alternatives to conventional pesticides.
Inherently less toxic than conventional pesticides, which are subject to increasingly tighter regulations and in many instances bans, biopesticides also generally affect only the target pest - unlike their chemical alternatives, which can have devastating effects on wildlife.
While working as a research entomologist at the University of Southampton, Dr Jones pioneered the use of insect pheromones to control insect pests across agriculture, forestry and public health. He then established what became AgriSense BCS Ltd, a company focused on ensuring the commercialisation of insect pheromones for pest control around the globe.
Since 2012, Dr Jones has been a lead partner in Lisk & Jones Consultants Ltd specialising in the use of biological pest control products, with a focus on pheromones and other semiochemicals.
Dr Jones’ relationship with Cardiff University spans several decades since a collaboration between Agrisense and Cardiff University on a European Commission project studying the use of semiochemicals in the management of olive pests.
Most recently, his expertise has been central to Cardiff-led projects including a recent breakthrough in large scale production techniques for novel semiochemical crop protection systems, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) funded work on ’sugar traps’ for disease-spreading mosquitoes.
His work includes managing field trials both in the UK and on continental Europe, as well as providing training for postgraduate researchers in semiochemical technologies.
Welcoming the appointment, Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Rudolf Allemann acknowledged Dr Jones’ contribution: "I am delighted that we are able to confer this honorary title on Dr Jones, who has had such an impact on this incredibly important field and on the future of sustainable agriculture.
Professor John Pickett of Cardiff University’s School of Chemistry, who has worked closely with Dr Jones for many years, added: "Owen’s work has been crucial to the development of sustainable pest control on a global scale.
"This award is an acknowledgement of a relationship which spans several decades, and we look forward to working closely with him in the future."
University Chancellor Dame Jenny Randerson announced the conferment at a recent event in the House of Commons.