Simon Heck

Simon Heck is Senior Director, CGIAR, and was appointed Director General of the International Potato Institute (CIP) in February 2023.

Prior to this appointment, he led CIP’s research and development projects portfolio designed to intensify, diversify and strengthen the resilience of agri-food systems with sweetpotato-related technologies. He is responsible for setting priorities that respond to changing country, regional and global demands and that contribute to CI) and CGIAR long-term strategic objectives and goals.

He joined CIP in 2012 as Deputy Program Manager for Sweetpotato in Africa where he led the regional Scaling-Up Sweetpotato through Agriculture and Nutrition (SUSTAIN) project in 2013 and the Sweetpotato Program in 2014. He previously worked with the WorldFish Center, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

An anthropologist by training, Simon has extensive experience leading research and development projects in agriculture, aquatic resources and environmental management. He has been chair of the Agro-Enterprise Learning Alliance for Eastern and Southern Africa and has contributed to policy and strategy development in several regional and national institutions in Africa. His disciplinary expertise is in social science and he has contributed to CGIAR research on resilience of social and ecological systems, food security, social development indicators, land tenure, and innovation systems. He has a PhD in Social Anthropology from Boston University.