Prof. Sayed Azam-Ali was appointed as the first Chief Executive Officer of Crops For the Future (CFF) in August 2011. In 2017, he was elected as Chair of the Association of International Research and Development Centers for Agriculture (AIRCA), a nine-member alliance focussed on increasing global food security by supporting smallholder agriculture within healthy sustainable and climate-smart landscapes. Prof Azam-Ali also holds the Chair in Global Food Security at the University of Nottingham.
After his first degree in Plant Biology at the University of Wales, Prof. Azam-Ali completed his PhD in Environmental Physics at the University of Nottingham in 1983. He then worked as a plant physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), India, before returning to Nottingham where he became Professor of Tropical Agronomy in 2006. At Nottingham, Prof. Azam-Ali coordinated three major EU-funded Programmes on bambara groundnut and was a principal partner in two other EU programmes. He was also Principal Investigator for six UK DFiD projects. In 2008, Prof. Azam-Ali was appointed as Vice-Provost (Research and Internationalisation) at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, where he successfully secured the EU funded MYEULINK programme that links major research universities in Malaysia with counterparts in Europe. He also coordinated the successful bid by the University of Nottingham to co-host CFF against stiff international competition. Prof. Azam-Ali was instrumental in the establishment of CFF as the world’s first centre dedicated to research on underutilised crops for food and non-food uses.