NRI's ability to deliver services in support of development derives from the diverse technical backgrounds of its staff, the breadth and depth of their experience of working overseas and their ability to work in partnership with others in applying multidisciplinary approaches to development needs.
Most NRI staff have a background in the biological or social sciences and many have postgraduate qualifications in their subject. Individual specialisms range from molecular plant pathology to rural credit and participatory natural resources management. The Institute has 6 Professors, 4 Emeritus Professors, a Professorial Research Fellow, 9 Readers, 3 Visiting Professors and 3 Visiting Fellows. Approximately 50% of the scientific staff meet the HEFCE definition of Research Active. Whilst some staff are predominantly engaged in one field of work, the majority have a diverse personal portfolio which may include research, consultancy, advisory and teaching activities.
A substantial part of NRI's work takes place in the developing world, with staff spending up to 30% of their time overseas on short specialist missions to over 60 countries per year in Africa, Asia and Latin America. At any one time, up to 10% of the scientific staff are deployed on long-term overseas assignments, where they may be: providing specialist advice within development agencies; conducting research in international or national institutes; or managing large-scale development projects on behalf of clients. At some stage in their career, most staff will have had direct experience of living and working overseas. The cross-cultural and practical management skills they gain from such international experience are an important aspect of our comparative advantage.