The executive board of Wageningen University & Research has appointed Dr. Julian Ramirez-Villegas as special professor of Agriculture Climate Impacts and Adaptation as of 1 May 2021. The chair is funded by the Alliance of Biodiversity and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), which is part of CGIAR.
Dr. Julian Ramirez-Villegas is an Agricultural Engineer by training, with a PhD in Environmental Sciences. Julian’s past and current work contributes to understanding and addressing the single most important challenge of humanity – climate change. He focuses on understanding how climate change affects food production, and how rural households, governments, and farmers themselves can be better equipped to respond to climate change.
“I’m very proud to be joining WUR.”, prof. Ramirez-Villegas says, “The goals of CGIAR and WUR are obviously in line with each other: if we want to sustainably feed 10 billion people by 2050, we need to tackle climate impact on agriculture. My chair will focus on better understanding this impact and develop new ways for food production systems to adapt to climate change.”
Julian gained his PhD in Environmental Sciences at the University of Leeds in late 2013. In his PhD, Julian investigated climate change and its impacts on agriculture, and looked into genotypic adaptation – one of the many strategies that farmers can use to adapt to climate change.
After his PhD, Julian worked as a postdoctoral research fellow for three years at same university, funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). After his postdoctoral fellowship, Julian joined the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), to lead projects on climate impacts and adaptation. His topical expertise in agriculture and climate change, combined with a strong skillset in modelling climate and crops helped advance research and action toward climate adaptation.
Since 2020, with the forming of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, Julian leads a global research agenda on Data Science for Climate Action.
Impact around climate change
Julian’s position at WUR is an opportunity to connect both CGIAR and WUR’s work around climate change impacts and adaptation for agriculture. His ambition is multifold. First, he seeks to train the next generation of CGIAR agriculture and climate change scientists through joint PhD studentships and through teaching at Wageningen University. Second, he wants to tackle fundamental questions around the limits to adaptation and transformational change for agricultural production systems by bringing together WUR and CGIAR experts. And third, he seeks to ensure that the science produced by the CGIAR – WUR partnership around climate change has impact at scale. He also hopes that this is perhaps the first of several CGIAR-based Special Chairs at WUR.