Skip to main content

Adrian Percy

Executive Director

Department of Plant and Microbial Biology

1152G Plant Sciences Building


With more than 30 years of experience in the agricultural sector, Adrian Percy is an advocate of the need for and benefits of modern agriculture. He is also a strong proponent of the development and adoption of new agricultural and food technologies that support global food security while conserving the environment and supporting rural community development.

Adrian is the inaugural Executive Director of the NC Plant Sciences Initiative (NC PSI) at North Carolina State University as of November 1, 2021. The NC PSI aims to exploit inter-disciplinary science and technology through public private partnerships to advance the plant sciences to the benefit of growers, consumers, and other food chain stakeholders.

He also is a Venture Partner at Finistere Ventures LLC, a technology and life sciences venture capital investor, focused on transforming the food value chain. Adrian serves on the board of directors of BioLumic, HiFidelity Genetics, and Evogene. He is a member of the science and technology boards of Oerth Bio, Terramera, Biotalys and Rothamsted Research and hosts the AgTech360 podcast on behalf of NC State’s Center for Excellence in Regulatory Science in Agriculture (CERSA).

Prior to joining NC State, Adrian served as the Chief Technology Officer of UPL Ltd a major crop protection company that is a leader in global food systems. He was also the Head of Research and Development for the Crop Science division of Bayer and part of their executive committee. In that role, he had responsibility for internal and open innovation activities in the areas of crop protection chemistry and biologicals, as well as seeds and traits. During his 25-year tenure at Bayer and its legacy companies, he also held numerous positions in agricultural research and development in France, Germany, and the United States.

Born and raised in the United Kingdom, Adrian earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacology at the University of Liverpool, as well as a master’s degree in toxicology and a doctorate in biochemistry at the University of Birmingham. He now resides in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, USA, with his wife and two children.



Date: 09/01/21 - 8/31/25
Amount: $508,721.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - Agriculture Research Service (ARS)

The objectives of this cooperative agreement are to: 1. Perform experiments and analyses related to development of high-throughput methods focused on utilizing machine learning tools for integrating into breeding programs. 2. Organize research projects to expand research in this field corresponding to multiple cropping systems, including but not limited to: cotton, soybean, blueberry, peanut and turf. 3. Work on development of genomics based tools within commodity groups to set the stage for future genomic selection projects.

Date: 01/01/21 - 12/31/24
Amount: $200,000.00
Funding Agencies: Cotton, Inc.

Graduate fellowship will support research involving identifying historically important genes in cotton through deep sequencing and data analysis. The data will be utilized to build new tools for cotton breeding and research activities using cutting edge algorithms and big data sets.

Date: 09/30/22 - 9/29/24
Amount: $181,439.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - Agriculture Research Service (ARS)

Project is in support of PSI. Our specific objectives are four-fold. First, we will accelerate ARS research by allowing NC State graduate students with strong, applied skills in data science and related fields (e.g., computer science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistics) to join and contribute these skills to ARS research teams. Second, we will enhance participating students??? educational experiences by providing paid, hands-on, real-world research opportunities, scientific domain expertise, and mentoring from ARS scientists. Third, we will boost affiliated departments and programs at NC State by increasing the breadth of training they are able to offer to their students. Finally, we will support future ARS workforce development efforts by increasing student awareness of both ARS and the possibility of agricultural research as a rewarding career for data scientists.

Date: 03/01/23 - 2/29/24
Amount: $112,650.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Project is in support of PSI. A major component of breeding and biological experiments is recording phenotypic data, recently technological advances have increased the ability to analyze photographs and images. Thus recording phenotypic data has begun collecting large amounts of imaging as a part of data collection. Tools for handling this amount of images and collection in a standardized way to enable enhanced use of the data is needed. The goal of this project is to improve the image capturing capacity within Field Book for plant and animal scientists. This will be achieved by extending the imaging capacity within Field Book, testing compatible hardware, conducting a case study in citrus to demonstrate effectiveness, and providing a broad set of recommendations for compatible hardware and workflows to the plant and animal phenotyping communities.

Date: 02/01/23 - 1/31/24
Amount: $15,000.00
Funding Agencies: Corn Growers Association of NC, Inc.

The N.C. Plant Sciences Initiative (PSI) will rapidly catalyze our ability to deliver applied solutions to growers across North Carolina through the interdisciplinary development of innovative technologies. Meaningful engagement of NC Cooperative Extension throughout research pipelines will be critical to ensure that developed technologies have the most robust on-farm impact upon public release. This proposal seeks to secure foundational support for the PSI Extension Agent Network, a network of dynamic and motivated Extension Agents that will beta-test PSI developed technologies and serve as a local link between the PSI and stakeholders across the state. We envision this network of Agents would engage in the following activities: Beta-test PSI developed technologies in the field, serve as a conduit of needs between growers and PSI, participate in monthly Zoom meetings to discuss developed technologies and digital Ag needs in North Carolina, host PSI-developed technology outreach events within Counties, and serve as an asset on PSI-submitted grants. This network will be instrumental in connecting PSI developed technologies to farmers in North Carolina to ensure seamless integration of technology into on-farm production situations. A competitive process will be employed to select Agents to participate in the N.C PSI Extension Agent Network based on both merit and representation of the diverse faucets of North Carolina agricultural production. To get the N.C. PSI Extension Agent network off the ground, we are requesting foundational support from Commodity Boards across North Carolina. We are also leveraging funds from the Interagency Digital Equity Project. Specifically, this proposal seeks to provide stipend support to 10 NC County Extension Agents who will comprise the inaugural cohort of the N.C. PSI Extension Agent Network. We envision that the long-term funding for the network would come from PSI affiliated faculty writing stipends for this network of Agents into their grants to help execute on project goals, but in the short term we need to get the N.C. PSI Extension Agent Network established so that this network is recognized as a value add for future grant submissions and throughout interdisciplinary project development.

View all grants