Bill joined the Plant Breeding Institute (PBI), Cambridge, Wheat Breeding Programme after graduating in Genetics from the University of Liverpool. At PBI he specialised in spring wheat breeding where he introduced the concept of autumn sown spring wheat – now an established strategy for UK wheat growers. He also introduced high-yielding breadmaking spring wheats, such as Highbury and Wembley, into the UK market.
He then joined the Nickerson Seed Company and gained exposure to hybrid wheat breeding as well as developing the winter wheat programme in the UK. He was promoted to Head of Wheat Breeding and during this period, leading varieties such as Buster (the ﬁrst variety speciﬁcally for use in animal feed), Zodiac, Spark, Claire, Einstein, Alchemy, Istabraq, Nijinsky and Invicta were brought to the UK market. More recently, Crusoe – a nabim Group 1 breadmaking variety – was added to the UK Recommended List.
With the transition to Limagrain, Bill integrated the Advanta and Innoseeds wheat breeding activities to form the plant breeding activity known in the UK as ‘LG Seeds’
He completed his career with the group as International Wheat R&D Manager for Groupe Limagrain and Senior Wheat Breeder for Limagrain UK. This involved the development of hybrid wheat and evaluation of opportunities for genetically modiﬁed wheat, as well as integrating new technologies such as single seed descent, double haploids and marker assisted selection into the international programmes. He coordinated the international wheat breeding activities of Groupe Limagrain
Once AWC was established, its global consultancy became involved with number of initiatives on a national and international scale. Currently, Bill sits on the Board of CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre www.cimmyt. org), which is the largest publicly funded global wheat programme, and one of his colleagues will be doing his PhD with CIMMYT and the John Innes Centre.
Bill has an advisory role within the Delivering Genetic Gain in Wheat (DGGW) project within the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative. This activity, which is part funded by the UK Government through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Oﬃce, has real impact in helping to mitigate hunger.
He served on the BCPB Strategy Board from 2004 – 2007 and was awarded a BCPC medal in 2011 for ‘outstanding service to the crop production industry’; he was awarded the RASE Technology Award in 2007 and appointed to the BBSRC Strategy Advisory Board in Feb 2010; he chaired the BBSRC Horticulture and Potato Initiative (HAPI) from 2012 to 2015; and co-edits the authoritative World Wheat Books, with the ﬁrst volume published in 2001, Volume 2 in 2011 and the ﬁnal Volume 3 in 2016.