Professor Marc Van Montagu is a pioneer of plant molecular biology who made critical discoveries over the years that continue to help scientists tackle global food security challenges. His achievements in founding, developing, and applying modern agricultural biotechnology have contributed significantly to growing crops with improved yields, resistance to insects and disease, and the ability to tolerate extreme climate variations.
Prof. Van Montagu has established two biotechnology companies and has served on the scientific advisory boards of many others. In 2000, he founded the Institute of Plant Biotechnology Outreach, with the mission of assisting developing countries in gaining access to the latest plant biotechnology developments and to stimulate their research institutions to become independent and competitive.
He was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the development of agribusiness in low-income countries by UNIDO in November 2014.
At the time of his appointment, UNIDO Director General, LI Yong, said, “We want to recognize a remarkable career that has brought such dramatic improvements to the lives of the rural poor around the world. By bestowing this recognition on Professor Van Montagu, we want to highlight, from the perspective of UNIDO, the impact of biotechnology on the food and agribusiness industries of the 21st century and beyond”.