A dedicated champion of farm science and agricultural technologies says she was "humbled and honoured" to be made an OBE in the King's birthday honours list.

Dr Belinda Clarke, director of Agri-TechE, has been honoured for "services to agri-technologies and farming".

Agri-TechE (formerly Agri-Tech East) is a membership network connecting farmers with researchers, technologists, entrepreneurs and investors, to accelerate the development and adoption of new innovations.

The Norfolk-born scientist has led the organisation since its inception, drawing on her research experience and her career "at the interface of government, industry and academia".

Dr Clarke said: “I am humbled and honoured to be awarded an OBE for agri-technologies and farming and would like to pay tribute to the inspiring network, alongside whom I have the daily privilege of working.

“I see this as an accolade not just for myself, but also recognition of the contribution that Agri-TechE members’ world-leading science and innovative farming practices are making towards food security, agricultural productivity, and environmental sustainability of the global agri-food value chain."

John Barrett, director of farming company Sentry and chairman of the Agri-TechE Stakeholder Board, congratulated Dr Clarke on a "richly deserved award".

He added: "The many agri-tech businesses introduced, supported and promoted through Agri-TechE have been transformational. This wouldn’t have happened without Belinda’s drive, leadership and enthusiasm. She should be incredibly proud of this legacy."

Among her many industry roles, Dr Clarke has been a member of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and a trustee of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA).  

In 2021 she was awarded the Sir Timothy Colman Prize by the RNAA for “outstanding leadership in the agri-tech sector”.

Dr Clarke is a Nuffield scholar, a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, a chartered biologist, and has chaired the Norfolk Farming Conference for the last two years.

She was born in Norfolk and attended Norwich High School for Girls before studying natural sciences at the University of Cambridge. She also has a PhD in plant biochemistry following post-graduate research into starch production by peas and potatoes at the John Innes Centre in Norwich.

She went on to work for six years as science liaison manager at the Norwich Research Park, and launched a series of "Farmer-Scientist Dialogues" to help bring the county's research and farming communities closer together.

She also wrote the "Science On Your Doorstep" column in the farming pages of the Eastern Daily Press and appeared on Radio Norfolk in a monthly "Science Slot’".