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Richard Jefferson

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Cambia

Raised in Silicon Valley, Jefferson received a BA in Molecular Genetics from the College of Creative Studies of the University of California and PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado. During an NIH Postdoc at the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge UK, he pioneered biological Open Source, developed and openly distributed the most widely used enabling biotechnology in plants and agriculture and conducted the world's first biotech crop release (1987). He became the first Molecular Biologist for United Nations (FAO & IAEA) and founder & CEO of Cambia, a global social enterprise focused on democratizing science- and technology-enabled innovation. From 1989-1994, based largely on his work on microbial metabolism of hormones, Jefferson developed the Hologenome Theory of Evolution. At Cambia, funded by foundations and governments, and through open, tiered licensing of technology, Jefferson launched the Biological Open Source (BiOS) Initiative, and Patent Lens - the first open, full text global patent search. Jefferson was appointed Professor of Biological Innovation at the Queensland University of Technology in 2009 and seconded to Cambia to develop The Lens - the definitive open, global web platform for innovation cartography, and for surfacing and promoting science and technology capabilities for public benefit. Jefferson has received awards including being named to the Scientific American List of the 50 Most Influential Technologists, the Inaugural Medalist of Center for Science Policy & Outcomes, and the American Society of Plant Biology Public Service Award. His interests are in music (mandolin, choro, guitar) juggling, evolution and microbiomes, open innovation systems, intellectual property, farming..