Ruaraidh is an evolutionary biologist providing leadership to the genetic conservation role of the Institute. His remit is to safeguard rice genetic resources in the genebank at IRRI; facilitate their effective and responsible use in compliance with international obligations; develop new approaches to improve their conservation and use globally and institutionally; and represent IRRI and the CGIAR in relevant international fora, particularly in the International Treaty on Plant Genetics Resources for Food and Agriculture. The current major thrusts are: improving longevity and the prediction of longevity of seeds in storage; improving the maintenance of the accessions’ genetic integrity; automating key genebank management processes to enhance quality and throughput; characterizing sequence diversity in rice and linking it to breeders’ needs to improve use of genebank accessions; streamlining compliance with international obligations; and improving the management and value of data.
Among his external duties, Ruaraidh is on the executive committee of the “Article 15 Group of genebank managers”, which comprises the genebanks in international organizations that have signed special agreements with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN under the Treaty; the International Advisory Council for the Svalbard Global Seed Vault; and the Steering Committee of DivSeek. He is a loaned expert to FAO in leading the development of the Global Information System of the Treaty.
- Genebank management
- Genetic diversity
- Law and policy on genetic resources
- Database design, data management, and data analysis
- PhD, University of Cambridge, England (1980)
- MA in Applied Biology, University of Cambridge, England (1977)
- BS in Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge, England (1975)
- Principal Scientist, IRRI (2016- )
- Head, T.T. Chang Genetic Resources Center, IRRI (2002)
- Consultant, IPGRI, Italy (2000)
- Consultant, IPGRI, Italy (1996)
- Documentation consultant, UN FAO, Republic of Korea (1990)
- Information consultant, UN FAO, Republic of Korea (1989)
- Biodiversity group leader and Genetic Resources Unit head, Institute of Grassland and Environment Research, UK (1990-2002)
- Senior Research Fellow, Evolutionary Biology, Unit of Plant Population Biology, University College of North Wales, UK (1986-1990)
- Senior Scientist Database Developer, Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical, Colombia (1984-1986)
- Post Doctoral Fellow in Plant Population Biology, School of Plant Biology, University College of North Wales, UK (1981-1983)
- Consultant plant collector, International Board of Plant Genetics Resources, Italy (1980)
- Documentation consultant, International Board of Plant Genetics Resources, Italy (1980)
- Technical Assistant, Poa Breeding Programme, Scottish Plant Breeding Station (1976)
During a seminar on 6 June, Ruaraidh Sackville Hamilton, Senior Scientist, Evolutionary Biologist and Head, T.T. Chang Genetic Resources Center, provides an update on activities at IRRI's International Rice Genebank.