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IRTA’s Board of Directors proposes PhD Josep Usall Rodié as its new CEO

At its last meeting held on 10 July, the Board of Directors of the Institute of Agriculture and Food Research and Technology (IRTA) proposed Josep Usall as its new CEO, replacing Josep M. Monfort Bolívar, who has headed the Institute since September 2008.

The process to select IRTA’s new CEO has been a long one, beginning in August 2017 with the announcement of the vacant position in several domestic and international media outlets, in order to publicise it as widely as possible. In total, 49 applications were received from the five continents and analysed by IRTA’s Scientific Advisor Committee, which short-listed those it considered to be the six best candidates. Subsequently, the Selection Committee appointed for the above purpose, including representation of the Catalan Regional Government and Catalonia’s businesses, selected the two finalists who presented their applications to IRTA’s Board of Directors. Once the selection process has been completed, the successful candidate will be appointed by the Catalan Government, at the request of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and the IRTA President, Teresa Jordà. This procedure has been conducted in accordance with the guidelines established by the IRTA Law 4/2009 and in the spirit governing the CERCA centres of the Catalan R&D&i system.

IRTA’s new CEO has stated that, through the research carried out at IRTA, he wishes to assist in overcoming the great challenges facing our agri-food sector and society in general and to maintain the Institution as one of the leaders in the agri-food research sector both in our country and abroad.

Josep Usall Rodié graduated as an Agricultural Engineer at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) in 1991 and joined IRTA as a researcher in 1992. He obtained his PhD at the University of Lleida (UdL) in 1995. He became the Director of IRTA’s Postharvest Technical Service in 2002 and Head of the Postharvest Programme in 2012. The main field of his research has focused on the development of strategies to control the main postharvest diseases affecting fruit and food transmission pathogens in fruit and vegetables so as to obtain fresh and minimally processed food. He has taken part in 37 research projects, 14 of them as the lead researcher, 5 of which formed part of the European Framework Programme, resulting in the publication of more than 160 articles in impact journals indexed in the SCI, 18 book chapters and participation in the publication of 9 books. He has given more than 150 talks at congresses, 12 of them as a guest speaker. He has conducted research visits in several centres in USA, Portugal and New Zealand. His interaction with the private sector has led him to participate in more than 20 major contracts with companies and he is the author of 60 dissemination articles and three patents. He has supervised 11 doctoral theses and he teaches on master’s degree courses at the University of Lleida (UdL). He has also been a member of the editorial committee of the journal Postharvest Biology and Technology.