Forestry Commission chose Dr Hugh Evans, head of the tree health division at its Forest Research agency, to spearhead plans for the centre in Aberystwyth, Wales.
Dr Evans will focus on biosecurity and support the commission’s plant-health service, which aims to protect Britain’s forests and woods from pests and diseases.
“Research in Wales, especially in the climate-change, rural and forestry sectors, is extremely vibrant,” he said. “I’m keen to interact with research groups and institutes.”
A native of Bangor in north Wales, Dr Evans is currently based at Forest Research’s Alice Holt Research Station near Farnham, Surrey, and transfers to Aberystwyth in January.
Dr Evans is a distinguished entomologist and research scientist with a leaning towards plant-health threats from invasive, non-native pest species.
Clive Thomas, head of policy and programmes at Forestry Commission Wales, said: “Hugh is a well-respected colleague as well as a researcher of international repute.”