The WBF Research Foundation

Fostering Collaboration and Innovation in Bioprotection

The WBF Research Foundation has a vision to promote bioprotection research and innovation as a means to achieve sustainable development, healthy ecosystems, and better protection of people and their livelihoods. The Foundation’s research mandate is broad, and it will initially focus on identifying microbial solutions in agriculture and the environment and will serve as a knowledge hub for academia, industry, and government stakeholders.


The mission of the WBF Research Foundation is to promote research and innovation in bioprotection, foster collaboration and knowledge exchange among stakeholders, and enable sustainable development, healthy ecosystems, and better protection of people and their livelihoods.


The purpose of the WBF Research Foundation is to drive the development and dissemination of innovative bioprotection solutions for the world’s most pressing agricultural and environmental challenges. The Foundation will lead and support research, promote collaboration and knowledge exchange, and provide a platform for engagement among stakeholders from diverse fields and backgrounds.

The Research Foundation aims to benefit the industry and commercial sector in several ways. Firstly, it will conduct research and development for the development of new technologies, products, and services. Secondly, it will serve as a knowledge hub for the industry and commercial sector, providing access to the latest research, data, and expertise in the field of bioprotection. Thirdly, it will facilitate networking and collaboration among industry players, academia, and other stakeholders in the bioprotection ecosystem. Lastly, it will work with regulatory bodies to ensure compliance with the latest regulations and guidelines related to bioprotection.

The WBF Research Foundation exists to drive the development and dissemination of innovative bioprotection solutions for the world’s most pressing agricultural and environmental challenges. The Foundation will lead and support research, promote collaboration and knowledge exchange, and provide a platform for engagement among stakeholders from diverse fields and backgrounds, working towards a common goal of protecting our planet and its inhabitants. The Foundation will strive to promote equitable access to bioprotection solutions, particularly for communities that are most vulnerable to environmental risks and impacts.

Professor Shashi Sharma PhD

Chairman, WBF Research Foundation,

Professor Sharma is a highly accomplished and influential leader in the field of plant health management. With his career spanning over 40 years, he has held numerous prestigious positions and contributed significantly to various organizations and programs. Professor Sharma’s exceptional career spans roles such as board chair, consultant, director, leader, manager, policy maker, president, professor, regulator, scientist, science leader, trustee, and volunteer.  Some of his notable achievements include:
  • Professor and Chair in Biosecurity and Food Security at Murdoch University, Australia.
  • Director and Chief Plant Health Manager at the Department of Agriculture and Food, Government of Western Australia.
  • Founder Co-Director of the Australia-China Centre for Abiotic and Biotic Stress Management in Agriculture, Horticulture, and Forestry, a joint centre of Murdoch University and the Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, China.
  • Program Leader for the Safeguarding Trade Program, Cooperative Research Centre for Plant Biosecurity, Australia.
  • Chairman of Grains Industry Biosecurity, Horticulture Industry Biosecurity, and Bee Industry Biosecurity Committee in Western Australia.
  • Biosecurity and market access and trade consultant/advisor to several countries across Asia and Africa.
  • Professor and Head of the Division of Nematology, the largest nematology centre in the world at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute, New Delhi, India.
  • Scientist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics.

Professor Sharma is actively involved in various boards and committees. He continues to provide his expertise through consulting, advising, and writing on a wide range of issues, particularly in the areas of biosecurity, food security, planetary health, and global governance. He is the founding President of the World BioProtection Forum in the UK. Additionally, he has served as the President of the Western Australian Naturalists’ Club Inc, one of Australia’s oldest organizations dedicated to environmental conservation, and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Helena River Steiner School Community Inc in Perth. Professor Sharma’s contributions to academia are highly regarded, with over 220 publications, including three books. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the prestigious Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research’s Excellence in Science Award. His extensive international experience has allowed him to establish collaborations and networks across the globe, contributing to research, education, food and agriculture, biosecurity, market access, trade, and related areas. Professor Sharma’s impact and leadership have transcended borders, making him a highly respected figure in the field of plant health management.

LinkedIn profile:

Visionary steering council (vsc)

Prof Abu Noman Faruq Ahmmed PhD

Chairman at the Department of Plant Pathology, Faculty of Agriculture, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University Bangladesh

Professor Ahmmed, a dynamic plant pathologist, currently chairs the Department of Plant Pathology at Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Dhaka. 

With an impressive portfolio, he not only possesses extensive knowledge in areas like Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Integrated Pest Management (IPM), food safety, and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures but also is a recognised authority in the realm of urban agriculture. 

He is a Registered Trainer of GLOBALG.A.P. IFA 5.2 and Technical Editor of The Agriculturists journal. He has dedicated 19 years to advancing research in the bio-rational management of crop diseases.

Dr Minshad Ansari PhD

Founder and Chairman of the World BioProtection Forum (WBF), United Kingdom

Minshad is the Chairman of WBF. He is passionate about developing and commercialising natural bioproducts to protect crops from pests and diseases, reducing the use of synthetic pesticides, enhancing food security and increasing crop yields.

Minshad has >20 years of experience in developing and launching bioprotectors in AgriTech sector, having published >70 research publications in international journals and received many prestigious business innovation awards.

He is the Founder and CEO of Bionema, a bioprotectant technology company.

Dr D. Joseph Bagyaraj PhD

Chairman, Centre for Natural Biological Resources & Community Development (CNBRCD), Anand Nagar Bangalore, India

Dr Bagyaraj, an agricultural Microbiologist, has left an indelible mark with ground-breaking work on AM fungi and microbial inoculants for sustainable agriculture.

His legacy encompasses 541 publications, 11 seminal books, and numerous accolades. As an Expert Committee Member of national and international funding agencies, he influences globally.

The European Commission sought his input for the Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas, underscoring his eminence. A fungus, Glomus bagyarajii, is named in tribute to his monumental contributions.

Mr Marco Brini MBA

Digital Agriculture Expert and Independent C-Level Consultant, Switzerland

Marco is a seasoned expert in sustainable agriculture and digital innovation. Armed with profound expertise in remote sensing, data analysis, and product strategy, he spearheads transformative agri-tech breakthroughs across continents.

His resolute dedication to propelling high-impact research and fostering global alliances positions him as a leader in advancing bio-protection and ushering in a new era of sustainable agricultural paradigms.

Dr Keith Davies PhD

Director, KG Davies Limited, Associate Professor and Visiting Research Professor, United Kingdom

Professor Davies has a distinguished three-decade research journey in biocontrol and invertebrate pathology. Pioneering eco-friendly pest control strategies, his work harmonises multitrophic dynamics.

A transformative sabbatical exploring genetic complexities of pathogenicity has led his research towards development of resilient biocontrol systems. Beyond science, he navigates public perception’s intricacies. Also, in public affairs he advocates imaginative, evidence based approaches. Professor Davies champions uncharted biocontrol domains.

Prof Patricia Stock PhD

Emerita Director and Professor School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences University of Arizona, Tucson, USA

Dr Stock is an Emerita Director and Professor at the University of Arizona. Her research has catalysed the discovery of unprecedented entomopathogenic nematode species across the globe. Driven by unrelenting curiosity, her team navigates the intricate nexus of nematodes and their bacterial symbionts, unravelling the profound nuances that dictate virulence, reproduction, and metabolic pathways.

Furthermore, her exploration extends to the untapped potential of entomopathogenic bacteria-derived secondary metabolites and potent toxins for pharmaceutical bioprospecting and far-reaching applications in agriculture.

Dr Suhas Wani PhD

Former Research Program Director,Asia & Director, ICRISAT Development Centre (IDC). International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Adrid Tropics (ICRISAT), India

Dr Wani is a transformative force in global agriculture and development. Former Director (Asia) of ICRISAT, he guides JSW Foundation, SM Sehgal Foundation, Heirloom as Advisory Board Member. His expertise is sought by ADB, IFAD, FAO.

Recognised by multiple governments, including Vietnam and India, and esteemed bodies like CAAS-China, he is a ‘Most Impactful’ Water and Rural Marketing Leader according to World CSR Forum. University Gold Medallist, Visiting Professor at University of Alberta, Canada, his legacy resonates across sectors and countries, driving impactful change.

Program advisory council of experts (PACE)

Dr K Annapurna PhD

Former Head, Division of Microbiology, Indian Agriculture Research Institute, New Delhi, India

Dr Annapurna, former Head of Microbiology at ICAR-IARI, New Delhi, India is a luminary in soil and plant microbiome research. Her impactful work elucidates the interplay between agricultural practices and microbiota.

Pioneering the study of factors influencing biocontrol and growth promotion, she delves deep into indigenous rhizosphere microbiota. Her breakthroughs in whole genome sequencing for symbiotic and diazotrophic organisms offer biotechnological avenues for augmented nitrogen fixation potential.

Dr Annapurna’s leadership, global collaborations, accolades, and impactful journal publications underscore her transformative contributions.

Dean Metcalf PhD

Managing Director and Plant Pathologist Metcalf BioControl, Molesworth, Tasmania, Australia

Dr Metcalf is an experienced plant pathologist specialising in the biological control of fungi via Trichoderma spp. His extensive proficiency extends to Allium crops and encompasses diagnostics and biosecurity.

Notably, he established Metcalf BioControl in 2002 in Tasmania, Australia, dedicated to advancing Trichoderma inoculants. Dr. Metcalf’s contributions showcase his commitment to innovative solutions in the field.

Aram Mikaelyan PhD

Assistant Professor of Entomology Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA

Dr Mikaelyan specialises in insect-microbe interactions. His research delves deep into the intricate world of insect physiology, strategically disrupting microbial symbiosis in pest species.

Balancing scientific curiosity with real-world impact, he not only advances our grasp of insect microbiomes but also spearheads practical biological control measures.

Driven by his quest for consistent microbiological solutions, his efforts are fortified by support from prestigious entities like NSF, USDA, and Bayer Crop Science. A Max Planck Institute alumnus, Aram now serves as an Assistant Professor at NCSU.

Kiran P.Raverkar PhD

Dean, Post Graduate Studies, Govind Ballabha Pant University of Agriculture & Technology Pantnagar, Uttarakhand, India

Dr Raverkar, an esteemed Dean at a prestigious Indian University in Pantnagar, is a distinguished Soil Microbiologist. He hails from eminent Indian Institutes and is adorned with prestigious fellowships and awards.

He served as a Visiting Scientist in the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, and as a Consultant at ICRISAT. Orchestrating the assessment of Asian Development Bank’s watershed initiative across Vietnam, Thailand, and India, his expertise spans across soil microbial biodiversity, biofertilisers, and carbon sequestration.

With an extensive 34-year journey encompassing teaching, research, and administration, he radiates unparalleled proficiency.

Rajan Sharma PhD

Principal Scientist and Cluster Leader - Crop Protection & Seed Health International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) Patancheru, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Dr Sharma, a distinguished Principal Scientist & Global Cluster Leader at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), has core expertise in Crop Protection & Seed Health.

He holds a pivotal role as a Board member and South Asia Regional Coordinator for the International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences (IAPPS).

Dr. Sharma’s research spans unravelling host-pathogen interactions, disease resistance utilisation, biocontrol, IPM, and diagnostic protocols. His contributions are instrumental in safeguarding germplasm by the development of diagnostic protocols and salvaging techniques for infested/infected germplasm.

D R W Kandula PhD

Research Fellow, Faculty of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Lincoln University, Lincoln,
New Zealand

Dr Kandula has 40+ years of experience in plant pathology and bio-protection. As a Research Fellow at Lincoln University, he has engaged in applied on-farm research in the New Zealand Seed Technology Institute and Bio-Protection Research Centre.

His journey includes 3 distinguished post-doctoral fellowships in the UK and Germany, showcasing his global experience and influence.

Dr Kandula’s current focus on biological disease control underscores his commitment to advancing sustainable agriculture. His legacy resonates as a Program Advisory Council Expert at the World BioProtection Research Foundation.

Zhibing Zhang PhD

Professor and Co-Director of the China Institute, University of Birmingham School of Chemical Engineering, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Professor Zhang, an esteemed leader of the Micromanipulation and Microencapsulation Research Group and Co-Director of the China Institute at the University of Birmingham.

He also heads Microforce Measurement Ltd and serves as Vice President of the World Bioprotection Forum. His influence extends to the Royal Academy of Engineering’s initiatives, Sino-British Engineering Technology Cooperation, and international journal boards.

As an eminent force in bioprotection research, Professor Zhang reshapes the field’s direction through dynamic leadership and innovation.

Initiative 1: Global Consortium for Microbial Solutions in Agriculture and the Environment

The business case for this initiative is to establish a global consortium for microbial solutions in agriculture and the environment. The consortium will bring together stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to collaborate on research and innovation in bioprotection. The consortium will focus on identifying microbial solutions to address the world’s most pressing agricultural and environmental challenges, including reducing the use of chemical pesticides, improving soil health, and mitigating climate change.

The WBF Research Foundation will play a crucial role in fostering innovation, promoting knowledge transfer, and facilitating collaboration in the bioprotection industry. It will lead to enhanced opportunities for commercialization and growth while ensuring equitable access to bioprotection solutions. It will serve as a catalyst for research and innovation in bioprotection, driving sustainable development, healthy ecosystems, and better protection of people and their livelihoods.