Re-appointment of Deputy Chair of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute

Date published: 24 October 2022

Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots has announced the re-appointment of Roberta Brownlee as Deputy Chair of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) for a further two years.

Confirming the re-appointment, Minister Poots said: “The role of the AFBI Board is to provide strategic direction and to promote good governance including the highest standards of financial management.  I have decided to re-appoint Roberta Brownlee as AFBI Deputy Chair for a second term of two years from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2025.

“This decision reflects the very effective performance of Roberta as Deputy Chair and recognises the key role she plays in the Board and in supporting the Chair.  I am delighted Roberta has agreed to a second term as AFBI Deputy Chair and I am confident that she will continue to excel in her role.” 

Notes to editors: 

1. AFBI is a DAERA Executive Non-Departmental Public Body set up under the powers of the Agriculture (NI) Order 2004.  It is empowered under the Order to undertake scientific work (research and development, testing, advice and information on scientific matters and dissemination of the results of scientific research) in the fields of agriculture, animal health and welfare, food, fisheries, forestry, the natural environment and rural development and enterprise.

2. The above re-appointment is made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland requires the political activity of appointees to be published.  The appointee has not been involved in any political activity during the past five years.

3. The Deputy Chair of the AFBI Board is expected to commit in the region of 20 days per year, for which remuneration of £11,643 per annum is paid.

4. Mrs Brownlee has served as Deputy Chair of the AFBI Board for three years, from 1 April 2020, with the current term ending on 31 March 2023.  She has had a distinguished professional career in Health & Social Care in the Private, Public & Voluntary Sectors and was recognised for this with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

Roberta owns and operates a Nursing Home in Castlederg, Co Tyrone. Roberta has completed an MSc in Executive Leadership which afforded her the opportunity to study in Boston and Lusanne Business Schools.

Roberta is a member of the Courts & Tribunals Service - Care Tribunal (NI) Department of Justice.

Roberta has a strong commitment to education and is a past member of the Education Board (SELB) and a past member of the Board of Governors in Primary and Post Primary Schools. She is also a past member of the Prison Service Pay Review Body (NI Member).

Roberta has three grown up children, two daughters and a son and has seven grandchildren.  Roberta enjoys fundraising and has spent many years raising money for a variety of charities in NI.  Roberta was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List 2019 for services to Charity and to the Southern Health and Social Services.

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6. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office:

7. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.


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