BSc (Hons), MIBiol, Cbiol, PhD, DSc

Agroecology Group

Department of Agricultural Sciences

The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (KVL)

Agrovej 10, 2630 Taastrup, Denmark.

Telephone: +45 35 28 3377/3560. FAX: +45 35 28 2175 Email: [email protected]


Career Summary

A internationally-known scientist in crop ecology and physiology, biological modelling and agro-ecology with experience of multi-disciplinary and collaborative work in the response of arable crops, energy crops and complex agro-ecosystems to their environment.


Career to date

2001: DSc: ‘Modelling and Experimental Studies of the Growth and Development of Wheat’. KVL, Denmark.


2000 to present: Professor of Agroecology and Head of Agroecology in the Department of Agricultural Sciences, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (KVL), Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark.


1994 to 1999: Research Professor in Arable Systems Ecology and Head of Agroecology, KVL. Leader of research into multi-species combined food and energy agro-ecosystems and predictive crop modelling including the implications of non-linear responses of crops to their environment, especially extreme events. Teaching responsibilities include coordination of the EC SOCRATES B.Sc. course in ecological agriculture at the KVL and various M.Sc and Ph.D courses in Denmark and the wider Nordic region. Supervisor to six Ph.D. students. Administrative responsibilities for a research group of about 15 people and participation in Departmental and University Committees.


1991-1994: Head of Agroecology Section, Institute of Arable Crops Research, Long Ashton Research Station, Bristol, UK with responsibility for crop modelling, climatic change and crops, weed research, research into farmland ecology and arable energy crops using willows and poplars.


1990: Principal Scientific Officer and Research Fellow in Plant Physiology, University of Bristol, UK.


1985: Senior Scientific Officer and Research Associate in Crop Physiology, University of Bristol, UK.


1981: PhD: 'A Mathematical Analysis of Plant Form and Structure'. University of Wales, UK


1980: Higher Scientific Officer, Long Ashton Research Station, University of Bristol, UK.


1977: Landscape Designer, Arfon Borough Council, North Wales, UK.


1976: BSc Honours (First Class) in Agricultural Botany: University College of North Wales, Bangor, UK.


Research expertise

JRP has pursued an integrative, multi-disciplinary and collaborative role within the Institute of Arable Crops Research (IACR) at the Long Ashton and Rothamsted Research Stations, the Agricultural and Food Research Council (AFRC) in the UK and at the KVL in Denmark. This role has involved research institutes in Denmark and the UK, the EC and further abroad. It has involved the generation of novel ideas and projects in crop physiology, plant population biology and ecology. JRP has published more than 60 refereed publications and over 50 other publications since joining LARS in 1980. Maintaining this research output has required substantial external funding (see below) which has been in addition to management responsibilities as head of Agroecology at LARS and then at the KVL.


Other research-related activities

Elected President of the European Society for Agronomy with the Presidency to take effect from 2002 to 2004.


Leader of the Programme ‘Agroecology and Production Systems’ of the Global Climate and Terrestrial Ecosystems Programme of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Project from 2001.


Former member of the Advisory Board of the UK Natural Environmental Research Council Research Centre for Population Biology at Imperial College, University of London, UK. The board was chaired by Professor JL Harper FRS and the Centre was directed by Professor JH Lawton FRS.


Member of the UK Environmental Network of the Institution of Professionals, Managers and Specialists. In 1988 was elected chairperson of the LARS Section of the Institute of Professionals, Managers and Scientists.


Former representative to the UK Parliamentary Alternative Energy Group; member of delegation to present the Agricultural and Food Research Council's work to Mr John MacGregor, the former UK Secretary of State for Education and Science.


Former member of the Silsoe Research Institute Strategy Group (UK) on Alternative Land Use.


Former Chairperson of the Global Climate Terrestrial Ecosystems Wheat Committee of the UN International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme.


International scientific reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 1995 and 1998.


Invited expert to the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on the topic of the Legal Protection of Biotechnological Inventions.


Member of the Ethical Affairs Committee of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists.


Former elected chairperson of the Agroclimatology and Agronomic Modelling Division of the European Society for Agronomy.


Associate Chief Editor of the European Journal of Agronomy. Referee for the following journals: Nature, Plant, Cell and Environment, Annals of Botany, Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge, Climatic Change, Biomass and Bioenergy.


Participant to the Swedish Royal Colloquium on ‘Sustainable Agriculture in the Baltic Area’, chaired by His Majesty King Carl-Gustaf V.


Member of the Board of the Centre for Ecology and Environment, KVL and former member of the Board of the Danish Agricultural Research Centre for Organic Farming. Member of the evaluation panel of the Centre for Ecology and Environment at the KVL.


Member of the Programme Committee for the International Society for Crop Science Congress to be held in Hamburg Germany in Autumn 2000.


Member of the Riso National Laboratory Research Strategy Board on Biotechnology.


Member of the UK Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF) Foresight Group on Crop Physiology.


Member of the Non-Food Research Committee, the Departmental Research Committee and the Agricultural Faculty Board of the KVL. Chairperson and member of various search and evaluation committees for both junior and senior staff positions at the KVL. The senior appointments have included an Associate Professor in Crop Ecology (1996 and 2000, committee chairperson), Research Professorship in Ecological Plant Production (1997, committee chairperson), Professor of Terrestrial Plant Ecology (1998, committee member) and Research Professor in Precision Agriculture (2000, committee chairperson).


Research programme reviewer for the New Zealand Foundation for Science and Technology.


Research programme reviewer for the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.


Reviewer of the Agroforestry Modelling Project of the UK Overseas Development Agency for the University of Oxford, UK.


Grant reviewer for research organisations in the following countries: UK, USA, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Czech Republic and New Zealand.


Educational and teaching activities

A fluent English, French and Danish speaker having lectured in each of these languages. A moderate Italian speaker and reader. I understand written Norwegian and Swedish and can understand them as spoken languages.


Although not formally required to teach or supervise students under the terms of my Research Professorship (1994-1999) I took the responsibility to organise, participate in and plan courses at the KVL at the B.Sc and M.Sc. levels. I have also participated in and organised courses at the M.Sc and Ph.D levels in Denmark, the Nordic region and the European Union (EU).


Course co-ordination, planning and development

1996:    Participant in and co-planner of course ‘Systems Ecology’, KVL (participant in 1997 and 1998). This course has the goal of building a coherent understanding of the structure and function of natural and managed ecosystems and includes the theory and terminology associated with them. It includes treatment of a number of ecosystems including temperate forest, perennial and annual crops and grassland. Important topics covered in the course include the flows of energy and matter through ecosystems, their diversity and the importance of scale and hierarchy in their observation and understanding.


1997:    Member of the Nordic Veterinary and Agricultural (NOVA) Universities working group to develop and implement a Nordic Universities M.Sc in Agroecology (continuing to present).


1998:    Course organiser and coordinator  for the EU SOCRATES B.Sc programme in Ecological Agriculture (also 1999 and 2000), KVL. This international course has the objectives of deepening students’ understanding of the ideas and principles that lie behind ecological agriculture. These include the application of ecology to ecological agriculture, the principles behind rotational cropping systems, the flows of C and N  and the maintenance of soil fertility and the role of mechanisation in ecological agriculture.


1999:    Course organiser and coordinator for a Ph.D course ‘Systems Theory and Agroecological Analysis at Different Scales’, KVL. This course has the goal of developing an overview of hard and soft systems theory and understanding the importance of hierarchy, non-linearity and scale in attempts to upscale information from the farm to the landscape levels.


Major international visits and study periods abroad

1987: INRA Avignon, France

1992: DSIR New Zealand

1994: IATA-CNR Italy

1995: Crop and Food Research Ltd, New Zealand

2001: Crop and Food Research Ltd and Lincoln University, New Zealand.


Professional memberships

Danish Agronomic and Veterinary Union

Nordic Agricultural Research Society

British Ecological Society

European Society for Agronomy

Association of Applied Biologists

Society for Experimental Biology



Review of the UK research programme in Agroforestry – University of Oxford, UK

Prediction of the protein content of wheat grain – confidential European client

Review of Hungarian Agricultural Research – United Nations Development Programme

Review of Research Programmes in energy crops and modelling – Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food, UK


Education and qualifications

Calday Grange Grammar School, Merseyside, UK: Advanced Level French, English Literature, Economics and General Studies (1968). Brunel Technical College, Bristol, UK: Advanced Level Biology and Chemistry (1973).

University College of North Wales, Bangor, UK: BSc (Hons), 1st Class in Agricultural Botany (1976).

Institute of Biology, London, UK: CBiol, MIBiol (1977).

University of Wales, UK: PhD. 'A Mathematical Analysis of Plant Form and Structure', (1981). PhD supervisors were Professors JL Harper FRS, P Grieg-Smith and GR Sagar.

The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Denmark: DSc (jordbrugsvidenskabelige doktorgrad, dr agro.) for a thesis entitled ‘Modelling and Experimental Studies of the Growth and Development of Wheat’ (2001). Evaluation committee: Dr CR Jensen (KVL), Professor PB Tinker (University of Oxford, UK), Professor A Sjelvaag (Norwegian University of Agriculture, Norway).


5 most recent publications:

61. HARRISON P.A, PORTER J.R. & DOWNING T.E. (1999). Scaling up the AFRCWHEAT2 phenology model to assess the broad-scale sensitivity of wheat development to climate change in Europe. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. In press.


62. EWERT F. & PORTER J.R. (1999). Modelling the effects of ozone exposure on wheat in response to elevated CO2 and climatic conditions: short term and seasonal responses of leaf photosynthesis. Global Change Biology. In press.


63. JAMIESON P.D., SEMENOV M.A., PORTER J.R., EWERT F. & OLESEN J. (1999).  Modelling CO2 effects on wheat with varying water and nitrogen supplies. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. In press.


64. WHEELER T.R., CRAUFORD P.Q., ELLIS R.H., PORTER J.R. & HADLEY P. (1999). The impact of variability in temperature on the productivity of annual crops. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. In press.


65. PORTER J.R. (2000). Patent confusion in law on new plant varieties. Nature, 404, 13.