Professor David Main appointed as new Pro Vice-Chancellor at the RAU

Professor David Main has been appointed as the new Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Planning & Resources) at the RAU.

David, who was previously the RAU’s Professor of Production Animal Health and Welfare, is a veterinary surgeon and worked at Bristol Veterinary School before joining the RAU in 2018. He is also chair of Home Office Animals in Science Committee. 

He has research interests in science and the practice of knowledge exchange, animal welfare assessment and improvement strategies, and animal welfare education. His role, which is a new position, includes responsibility for the line management of academic staff as well as leading on both UK and international partnerships.  

David said: “I am really excited to take on this role. At a time when global challenges are arising from climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and threats to our food supply chain, there has never been a more important time to be working at the heart of food, farming and environment.

“I am particularly keen to work with our excellent team of academics here at the RAU to shape the curriculum of the future. Our future graduates - whether they are seeking their ideal job, dreaming of starting their own business, or simply passionate in their ambition the make the world a better place - will need a critical set of work-ready skills. 

“Technical knowledge will always be a key component of all our degrees here at the RAU but modern employers are placing increasing value on interpersonal, analytical, creative, self-management, and emotional intelligence skills. 

“In our increasingly automation and technology driven world, those graduates who can excel in these uniquely human skills will be those that are most highly valued in the work place. We want to make sure our graduates are 100% work-ready with the skills and experience to change the world.”

A former member of the Farm Animal Welfare Council, Food Ethics Council, and Soil Association Council, David’s previous initiatives include the AssureWel project, a collaboration with RSPCA and Soil Association that introduced welfare outcomes into certification schemes, and the Healthy Feet Project that has been widely adopted by the UK dairy industry.  

He was also project co-ordinator for Hennovation, an EU H2020 project that investigated the value of participatory approaches to innovation in the laying hen sector.