A friendly team that merges business knowledge, innovative thinking and agricultural experience.

Chris Dunkley

Director of Business Development and Marketing at Royal Agricultural University

Chris looks after key commercial activities across the university including Farm491. He joined the RAU from Rothamsted, the oldest agricultural research institute in the World where, as Enterprise Director, he oversaw significant capital investment into the campus.  Prior to joining Rothamsted, he was Head of NPD and Marketing at Ipsos Retail Performance and the founding director of The Sparc Technology Network and Bright Sparc Awards for Technology Led businesses while he himself has a background in business incubation. Married with three teenage children, Chris lives in rural Northamptonshire listing his hobbies as very average guitar playing, cycling and the great outdoors.

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Verity Payne

Centre & Events Manager
Verity joins Farm491 with a wealth of experience. Verity completed a business management course at the RAU some years ago and subsequently worked at Savills. With a wealth of experience in customer service and an appreciation of the agricultural landscape she will be a real asset to Farm491. As Centre and Events Manager Verity will be responsible for management of the Farm491 buildings and facilities as well as representing us at shows and events. A very proactive person with excellent organisational and communication skills.

Luke Halsey

Entrepreneur in Residence

Luke has a range of experiences working with environmental and social impact orientated start-ups, helping them develop their business models and raise investment.  Luke has worked in California on Mission Investing portfolios that fill market gaps by seeking out and investing in innovative solutions to problems in the field of climate change  and human rights. He has been involved in all parts of the portfolio including investment diligence, deal execution, monitoring, as well as portfolio analytics. This has included The Schmidt Family Foundation and Alpha Impact Investment Management Partners. Previously Luke was at Social Finance, UK, where he worked on a number of successful Impact Bonds, the development and fundraising for a care & wellbeing fund and an affordable property fund. Luke holds a BA and Masters in Mathematics from Oxford University.

Sarah Carr

Outreach Officer
Sarah has grown up on her family farm in Shropshire, which is where her passion for agriculture began. After graduating from Lancaster University in 2016 with a BSc in Geography, she became a Farm Trader at COFCO International UK, whereby she procured grain from farmers in order to supply UK human consumption mills and animal feed homes. As well as this she sold seed and fertiliser. Her interest in agtech and desire to continue working within agriculture has led her to the role of Outreach Officer at Farm491, where she will primarily focus on the promotion of the Inspiring Agritech Innovation Programme, as well as promoting all Farm491 activities.  

Neave Anderson

Centre Coordinator
Neave officially graduates from the RAU in July 2018, having completed her BSc degree in International Equine and Agricultural Business Management. Neave has a love of farming and a passion for seeing agricultural businesses succeed. She has strong customer service and organisation skills from her experience in the service industry, which will be vital in her role as Centre Co-ordinator, whereby she will be responsible for assisting Farm491 members in any requirements they have.    


Professor Joanna Price

Vice-Chancellor of the RAU
Professor Joanna Price took over as Vice-Chancellor of the RAU in September 2016. Previously Professor Price was Head of Bristol University Veterinary School and Head of the School of Clinical Veterinary Sciences. Prior to this Professor Price had worked at the Royal Veterinary College, University College London, the University of Sheffield and the University of Bristol. Professor Price qualified as a veterinary surgeon from Bristol University in 1983 and spent a number of years in clinical practice in the UK and overseas before entering research and academia.

David Owen

David is Chief Executive of GFirst LEP, one of the most successful Local Enterprise Partnerships in the UK. He is also currently a non-executive director of the Responsible Finance Provider South West Investment Group (SWIG), and training and business development company Gloucestershire Enterprise Ltd. David is a member of the International Advisory Committee of the International Economic Development Council. He is also a previous President of the Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce and former Chairman of the South West UK Business Advisory Group. David has a BA Hons in Business Studies and a MA in Leading Change.

Matt Charman

Head of Growth Marketing EMEA; Google Cloud