School of Social and Political Science

Professor Alan Raybould

Job Title

Professor of Innovation in the Life Sciences

Alan Raybould's photo

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Building (Address)

Old Surgeons' Hall

Street (Address)

High School Yards

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Alan joined the University of Edinburgh in 2019 as Professor of Innovation in the Life Sciences.  His research focuses on the use of science to inform decision-making, particularly improving the efficiency and effectiveness of regulation of products of new technology in agriculture and food production.

Following a PhD in genetics at the University of Birmingham, Alan became a Principal Scientific Officer at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. He joined Syngenta at Jealott’s Hill in the UK in 2001. He led preparation of environmental risk assessments as part of worldwide regulatory submissions for Syngenta’s genetically modified crop products. Alan moved to Syngenta’s headquarters in Basel, Switzerland in 2014, where he was a Senior Science & Technology Fellow working on risk assessment and societal acceptance of agricultural products of new technology, including insect-control sprays based on RNA interference, and crops bred using gene editing.

Postgraduate Teaching

Innovation in Sustainable Food Systems (PGSP11400)


McDonald, J., Burns, A. & Raybould, A., 2020. Advancing ecological risk assessment on genetically engineered breeding stacks with combined insect‐resistance traits. Transgenic Research DOI: 10.1007/s11248-019-00185-8

Makiola, A., Compson, Z.G., Baird, D.J., Barnes, M.A., Boerlijst, S.P., Bouchez, A., Brennan, G., Bush, A., Canard, E., Cordier, T., Creer, S., Curry, R.A., David, P., Dumbrell, A.J., Gravel, D., Hajibabaei, M., Hayden, B., van der Hoorn, B., Jarne, P., Jones, J.I., Karimi, B., Keck, F., Kelly, M., Knot, I.E., Krol, L., Massol, F., Monk, W.A., Murphy, J., Pawlowski, J., Poisot, T., Porter, T.M., Randal, K.C., Ransome, E., Ravigné, V., Raybould, A., Robin, S., Schrama, M., Schatz, B., Tamaddoni-Nezhad, A., Trimbos, K.B., Vacher, C., Vasselon, V., Wood, S., Woodward, G. & Bohan, D.A., 2020. Key questions for next-generation biomonitoring. Frontiers in Environmental Science 7, 197.

Raybould, A., 2019. Improving the regulation and social acceptance of crop-protection and seeds products produced using new technologies: an industry perspective. In: Zeigler, R. (ed.) Sustaining Global Food Security: The Nexus of Science and Policy. Clayton: CSIRO Publishing. pp. 162-186.

Malvezzi, S., Büche, C., Lorez, C. & Raybould, A., 2019. From basic research in toxicology to a career in regulatory toxicology: an industry perspective. Chemical Research in Toxicology 32, 1901-1903.

Raybould, A., 2019 Problem formulation and phenotypic characterisation for the development of novel crops. Transgenic Research 28, 135-145.

Raybould, A., Holt, K. & Kimber, I., 2019. Using problem formulation to clarify the meaning of weight of evidence and biological relevance in environmental risk assessments for genetically modified crops. GM Crops & Food 10, 63-76.

Ma, A., Lu, X., Gray, C., Raybould, A., Tamaddoni-Nezhad, A., Woodward, G. & Bohan, D., 2019. Ecological networks reveal resilience of agro-ecosystems to changes in farming management. Nature Ecology & Evolution 3, 260-264.

Sauve-Ciencewicki, A., Davis, K.P., McDonald, J., Ramanarayanan, T., Raybould, A., Wolf, D.C. & Valenti, T., 2019.  A simple problem formulation framework to create the right solution to the right problem. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 101, 187-193.

Hokanson, K.E., Ellstrand, N.C. & Raybould, A., 2018. The need for science and policy in regulatory decision-making: experiences with risk assessment of GM crops in centers of diversity. Frontiers in Plant Science 9, 1157, 1-7.

Raybould, A. & Macdonald, P., 2018. Policy-led comparative environmental risk assessment of genetically modified crops: testing for increased risk rather than profiling phenotypes leads to predictable and transparent decision-making. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 6, 43, 1-7.

Walters, F.S., Graser, G., Burns, A. & Raybould, A., 2018. When the whole is not greater than the sum of the parts: a critical review of laboratory bioassay effects testing for insecticidal protein interactions. Environmental Entomology 47, 484-497.

Devos, Y., Ortiz-García, S., Hokanson, K.E. & Raybould, A., 2018. Teosinte and maize × teosinte hybrid plants in Europe – environmental risk assessment and management implications for genetically modified maize. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 259, 19-27.

Bohan, D.A., Vacher, C., Tamaddoni-Nezhad, A., Raybould, A., Dumbrell, A.J. & Woodward, G., 2017. Next-generation global biomonitoring – large-scale, automated reconstruction of ecological networks. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 32, 477-487.

Graser, G., Walters, F.S., Burns, A., Sauve, A. & Raybould, A., 2017. A general approach to test for interaction among mixtures of insecticidal proteins which target differing orders of insect pests. Journal of Insect Science 17, 39; 1–12.

Hokanson, K.E., Ellstrand, N.C., Dixon, A.G.O., Kulembeka, H.P., Olsen, K.M. & Raybould, A., 2016. Risk assessment of gene flow from genetically engineered virus resistant cassava to wild relatives in Africa: an expert panel report. Transgenic Research 25, 71-81.

McClain. S., Jones, W., He, X., Ladics, G., Bartholomaeus, A., Raybould, A., Lutter, P., Xu, H., Wang, X., Jia, X., Chen, J., 2015. Agricultural biotechnology safety assessment. Chinese Journal of Preventive Medicine 49, 78-87.

Tamaddoni-Nezhad, A., Bohan, D., Raybould, A. & Muggleton, S.H., 2015. Towards machine learning of predictive models from ecological data. In: Davis, J. & Ramon, J. (eds) Inductive Logic Programming: Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 9046. Springer International Publishing, Switzerland. pp. 154-167.

Ladics, G.S., Bartholomaeus, A., Bregitzer, P., Doerrer, N.G., Gray, A., Holzhauser, T., Jordan, M., Keese, P., Kok, E., Macdonald, P., Parrott, W., Privalle, P., Raybould, A., Rhee, S.Y., Romeis, J., Vaughn, J., Wal, J-M. & Glenn, G., 2015. Genetic basis and detection of unintended effects in genetically modified crop plants. Transgenic Research 24, 587-603.

Raybould, A., Burns, A., & Hamer, M., 2014. High concentrations of protein test substances may have non-toxic effects on Daphnia magna: implications for regulatory study designs and ecological risk assessments for GM crops. GM Crops & Food 5, 296-301.

Raybould, A., Quemada, H. & Romeis, J., 2014. Introduction to ISBGMO12: biosafety research past, present and future. Transgenic Research 23, 911-914.

Burns, A. & Raybould, A., 2014. Nontarget organism effects tests on eCry3.1Ab and their application to the ecological risk assessment for cultivation of Event 5307 maize. Transgenic Research 23, 985-994.

Garcia-Alonso, M. & Raybould, A., 2014. Protection goals in environmental risk assessment: a practical approach. Transgenic Research 23, 945-956.

Roberts, A., Devos, Y., Raybould, A., Bigelow, P. & Gray, A.J., 2014. Environmental risk of GE plants under low exposure conditions. Transgenic Research 23, 971-983.

Devos, Y., Sanvido, O., Tait, J. & Raybould, A., 2014. Towards a more open debate about values in decision-making on agricultural biotechnology. Transgenic Research 23, 933-943.

Herman R.A. & Raybould, A., 2014. Expert opinion versus empirical evidence: the precautionary principle applied to GM crops. GM Crops & Food 5, 8-10.

Research interests

Research interests

Current PhD Students

Tara Wight - Enhancing plant resilience via stress-priming: a solution for sustainable agricultural development

Hellen Mbaya - Regulatory regimes and tools for detection of genome edited organisms and/or their products