Chris Downs, PhD


Chris Downs has more than 30 years experience in the food industry as a scientist, innovation leader and executive, with a focus on science and innovations that support the development of foods and beverages that are healthy, safe and sustainably produced. Chris brings global perspectives on the opportunity for the science of food to improve the global food system.

Chris Downs wants to be known for shaping and improving organizations that support food industry professionals in delivering sustainable nutrition to 10 billion people by 2050.

Chris is Director of the food research and innovation program for CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency. He works with governments, universities and industry partners around the world to bring the latest food innovations to the market and consumers.

Chris Downs has extensive governance and Board experience, including as Board Chair, in organizations and companies involved in science and innovation in the food system. He is currently on the Boards of the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology and High Value Nutrition in New Zealand. He has also trained in leadership and strategy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

IFT Highlights

Chris is currently a 3rd year IFT Board member and has served on the IFT Strategy Working Group and the IFT Audit and Risk Committee. He is currently on the IFT Cannabis Content Review Panel. He has contributed to panels and events at IFT’s annual meetings. Chris is a strong supporter of IFT’s inclusion and diversity strategy and he is passionate about IFT engaging with, and including, food professionals from around the world.


B.S. in Botany and Zoology from University of Auckland
M.S. in Plant Physiology from University of Auckland
Ph.D. in Protein Biochemistry from Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia