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Chris Branson, M.S.

Chris Branson, M.S.

Chris Branson

Posted June 18, 2018

Name: Chris Branson

Degree: Agronomy with emphasis in Plant Breeding and Statistics

Year Graduated: 1984

Advisor: Dr. James J. Hammond

Current Position: Retired, 2017

Before retiring I spent 30 years in Canberra working for the CSIRO (Australia’s federal science agency) and for a number of Commonwealth Government departments and agencies. My work has varied significantly over the 30 years. Initially, I worked as a plant breeder, but eventually became involved in research commercialisation, intellectual property matters, science policy, food safety and finally, in regulation policy and programs. I have provided science, agriculture, biotechnology and biosecurity policy advice to a number of Commonwealth Ministers and to an Australian Prime Minister. Later in my career, as a senior executive, I changed direction and became responsible for federal government programs designed to promote the uptake of large and small scale renewable energy and to better manage carbon in agricultural systems and, hence, to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

How has NDSU Plant Sciences/Cereal and Food Sciences contributed to where you are today?

Despite not having been a plant breeder for much of my working life, my experience and the skills I learned at NDSU provided me with a solid foundation upon which to build my career. The skills you learn as a researcher (irrespective of the discipline) and the inquiring mind you develop can be applied in so many ways, from the everyday through to other types of analysis and research. I have always felt confident to tackle whatever was thrown at me, drawing on my experience as a graduate student and researcher at NDSU. Having travelled to NDSU from the other side of the world and arriving in a country where I initially knew no one, my NDSU experience also taught me to be resilient and not fear change. So many times in my life when I have had to make large scale change, I have thought back to my NDSU days and took comfort in knowing that I have done it before and I can do it again. I shall forever owe a great deal to my academic advisor at NDSU, the late Dr. James J. Hammond, and to my colleague Lyle Lindberg.

If you are an alumnus of NDSU Plant Sciences/Cereal and Food Sciences, we would like to hear from you!  Visit our alumni page ( and submit an update form. Include a statement about your experience at NDSU, along with a photo, and indicate your permission to use it in our web and social media outlets.

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