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Our team

“Agriculture in Europe is vital. As an industry it provides essential food, fibre and fuel. It is a major contributor to the economy that supports our rural communities and thereby preserves our cultural heritage, traditions and landscapes.”

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Dr. Janez Potočnik

Dr. Janez Potočnik is the Chairman of the Board of the RISE Foundation. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (Ph.D. degree 1993). After a successful career starting in 1989 in Slovenia as a researcher at the Institute of Economic Research and then Director of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (1994), he was appointed Head of Negotiating Team for Accession of Slovenia to the EU (1998). He was also Director of Government Office for European Affairs (2000), Minister Councillor at the Office of the Prime Minister (2001) and Minister responsible for European Affairs (2002).

In 2004 he joined the European Commission, first as ‘shadow’ Commissioner for Enlargement and then as Commissioner responsible for Science and Research. In 2010 Dr Potočnik became Commissioner for Environment. His term ended in November 2014 and he was then appointed for a three-year term as a member and Co-Chair of International resource Panel hosted by United Nations Environment Programme. In the same month he was also appointed as a Chairman of The Forum for the Future of Agriculture and RISE Foundation and a Member of the European Policy Centre’s Advisory Council.

Dr. Gabriele Sacchettini

Dr. Gabriele Sacchettini is a Project Manager at RISE since 2023. Holding a degree in Economic Social Sciences from the Università degli Studi di Firenze, after obtaining a Master SMEA in the management of the Agro-food sector, in 2014 he earned a Ph.D. from the doctoral school Agrisystem of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Piacenza (Italy).

From 2010 to 2015 he worked for the academic Think Tank on sustainable agriculture OPERA, first as “Policy and Communication Officer” in Brussels, then as social science “Research Fellow” in the headquarters of Piacenza (Italy). The focus was on the sustainable use of plant protection products in agriculture.

From 2016 to 2023, he was the “EU projects team coordinator” at the academic spin-off AEIFORIA leading the communication, dissemination and policy implications of several European projects (e.g. H2020, PRIMA, POR-FEARS, EMFF, ERASMUS+). At the same time, he worked as “Managing Director” at OpenTEA, a start-up company that he founded which provides support in project proposal setup and management together with communication and dissemination services. Main topics addressed included water scarcity, biodiversity conservation, circular economy, regenerative agriculture, the sustainable use of marine resources.

Prof. Allan Buckwell

Emeritus Professor Allan Buckwell is the Director of RISE’s reports since 2012 on the following topics: crop protection, livestock, the Common Agricultural Policy, nutrient recovery and reuse and sustainable intensification. Two thirds of his career has been as an academic agricultural economist specialising in agricultural and rural policy. This has involved his work as a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for European Environmental Policy (since 2012), fourteen years at Newcastle University and then from 1984-1999 as Professor of Agricultural Economics, Wye College University of London (which was merged into Imperial College). During this period he specialised on teaching and research into all aspects of European rural policy dealing especially with the Common Agricultural Policy, trade issues, and technology and structural change in farming and its impacts. 

During 1995/6 he was seconded to the analysis and conception unit of DG Agri in the European Commission where he chaired a policy integration group who laid out a model for the evolution of the CAP. He joined the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) as Policy Director in 2000.

Since then he has been involved in debates on how to balance the CAP as a policy for Food and Environmental Security. He chaired and authored a report on Public Goods from Private Land and worked a good deal on Climate Change, the threats and opportunities this poses to rural land managers and Green House Gas accounting from land-based businesses. His key specialist subjects are CAP, agriculture and environmental land management.