School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Staff Profile

Professor Chris Tapsell

Visiting Professor of Practice


Professor Tapsell is the Research Director of KWS UK, the UK subsidiary of KWS Saat SE, one of the largest seed companies in the world.  He is also responsible for all wheat breeding globally for KWS Saat SE. In the UK the company is involved in wheat and barley breeding, in addition to selecting and developing oilseed rape, and trialling and developing maize and sugar beet varieties in conjunction with the KWS group. The company uses a range of technologies to ensure improved consistency in crop performance. Higher yields, superior disease and pest resistance, suitability for a wide range of end uses, and improved performance in adverse conditions are all key criteria that the company seeks to establish in their product portfolio.  As a member of the company’s Executive Board Chris has played a key role in developing a new vision for KWS UK together with short and mid-term business plans; he was central to turning around the business finances through development of a superior product portfolio and business restructuring.  Chris, who has an international reputation in the AgBiotech business, has held key positions in other breeding companies, including biotechnology companies.  He is a Board member and Panel member of several organizations including BSPB, Innovate UK and BBSRC.

Chris is actively involved in both teaching and research within the School of Biology, giving lectures to MSc students on Marker Assisted Breeding. He is also a member of the Newcastle/Liverpool/Durham BBSRC DTP Advisory Committee. His company is involved in several research projects within the University and notably are the industrial partners on a recently funded BBSRC project within the School (awarded to Prof Gatehouse and Dr Edwards).