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David Moore was the first Programme Director of the Trust (1977-1980). He was also one of the founders of the Trust and his biography can be found on the founders page.
John Bryden took over as programme director following the death of David Moore and retained this position until he retired in 2005.
John founded the Arkleton Trust (Research) Ltd and the Arkleton Trust (Rurtel) Ltd as non-profit subsidiaries of the Trust in the mid-1980s, the former to undertake international comparative research, and the latter to create a computer conferencing and email system to support that activity as well as the communications needs of other rural organisations.
In 1995, John took up the Chair of Human Geography at the University of Aberdeen and the Trust agreed that the research activities should move to Aberdeen and merge with those of Mark Shucksmith to create the Arkleton Institute for Rural Development Research, which John and Mark co-Directed between 1995 and 2004.
Following retirement from Aberdeen in 2004, John spent four years directing the UHI PolicyWeb in Inverness. He moved to Norway in 2008 and is currently Research Professor at the Norwegian Agricultural Economics Research Institute in Oslo. John has been a visiting scholar at the Universities of Guelph, Cornell and Missouri-Columbia, and at the Centre for Development Studies in Kerala, India. He has served on International Advisory Committees for the Polson Institute for Global Studies at Cornell, the OAC at the University of Guelph and the Foundation for Polish Agriculture.
He has been a consultant for the European Commission, the OECD, the World Bank. He was external assessor on the Scottish Land Reform Policy Group from 1997 to 1999, helping to formulate the proposals that eventually became law after the election of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. He was also external advisor to the Ministerial committee on Rural Policy in Scotland during the same period. He was Secretary of the Cross-Party Group on Rural Policy in the Scottish Parliament from 2005-8. John is currently an expert on the OECD action research project on ‘Renewable Energy as a Rural Development Policy’. John has coordinated six EU-funded trans-national research projects on rural development issues. He was a founder of the International Comparative Rural Policy Studies Consortium which holds an advanced summer institute in different parts of the world each year. He has been a keynote speaker or panellist at the major EU rural policy conferences including Inverness (1991), Cork (1996), and Salzburg (2003), as well as many OECD territorial rural policy conferences, and other conferences in Europe, Canada, USA, South America, India, Japan and Australia.
John has published on the economic and social impacts of tourism, agrarian change, farm household pluriactivity and livelihood strategies, ICT in rural regions, rural-urban equivalence, rural policy, multifunctionality and territorial development, local economic development, sustainable community development, and rural education and training. His latest book, published by Routledge New York in January 2011, is on Towards Sustainable Development in Rural Europe: Using System Dynamics to Explore the Relations between Farming, Environment, Regional Economies, and Quality of Life and is written and edited with colleagues from 11 countries. More information on John's recent publications can be found here.