Meet our Scientists
Martyn Griffiths: Diplomat in the Name of Plant Protection
Dr. Martyn Griffiths unites research, development and law: He´s responsible for the Regulatory Policy for approval of Bayer´s plant protection products. His tools: communication and diplomacy.
I´m building the bridge between politics and science.
Authorities question everything – and that´s a good thing. They are one of the many motivations to further improve our products. My role is to negotiate between scientists and regulatory authorities. I often meet with administrators and lawyers who don’t have a scientific background. It’s my duty to explain our products to them: how they work and why they are safe. We use a variety of studies to prove this. Handled correctly, our products protect plants without harming the environment, humans or animals.
I´m also delivering messages back to our teams at Bayer: I show our scientists the legal requirements for new substances and point out changing rules that demand further studies for substances’ approvals. These regulations are enshrined in national and European plant protection laws. Is the product toxic? Are there any residues in the food? Is it labeled correctly? These are just a few of the question I have to answer to get a product approved. Throughout the whole process I´m constantly mediating between the inventors and regulators.
Progress and Communication
At the beginning of my career, I conducted field studies. This is why I know how important and challenging scientific findings are. Innovative analytical methods, for example, lead us to more concrete insights about plant protection product residues within our food. New technologies, for example digital farming, can increase the demands on crop-protection products: Pesticides need to improve crop yields effectively without harming the environment. And I need to strengthen my own network of regulatory authorities and scientists for even more direct communications. This way we can achieve consensus and accomplish our common goal: ensure the world’s food supply.
European at Heart
I used to work in the UK and Germany. Now I’m working in France, but I travel a lot. That’s why I consider myself European rather than British: I grew up in the UK, got my driver´s license in Germany and my wife is French. As you can see, my private life and professional life are a result of globalization much like the many new scientific and technological developments. Information spreads over the internet almost immediately, and demand for new information steadily rises with each new discovery. That’s exactly the kind of trend I observe in product approval as well: The more information we provide, the higher the legal demands.
I´m part of an incredibly complex construction of science, laws and authorities. So, when I come home in the evening, I must relax: All I need is my wife, a good glass of wine and a good movie. But going to the theater or listening to Rush, a Canadian rock band, also relaxes me. Since I travel a lot, I try to keep up my physical health by running up to ten kilometers twice a week. I always take my running shoes with me on my travels. This way I can go jogging and also discover the places I’m visiting for my work.
CV: Martyn Griffiths
1963 Born in Cambridge, England
1986 Bachelor of Science, Plant Science, University of Newcastle, United Kingdom
1989 PhD: “Follar Fertilizers on Breadmarking Quality of Wheat”. Harper Adams University, Newport, Shropshire, England
1989-1993 Field Trials Officer, Schering, near Cambridge, United Kingdom
1994 Assistant Product Safety Manager, AgrEvo, Frankfurt, Germany
1994-1998 Regional Registration Manager for China, Taiwan and Korea, AgrEvo, Frankfurt, Germany
1995-2001 Global Project Leader for Regbase, AgrEvo and Aventis CropScience, Frankfurt, Germany
1998-2002 Global Registration Manager Herbicides, AgrEvo and Aventis CropScience, Frankfurt, Germany and Lyon,France
2003-2008 Team Leader for Herbicides EU Regulatory Management, Bayer CropScience, Lyon , France