Celebrating our Citizens of Change

Professor Sir Geoff Palmer

Citizen of Change: A great of global grain and racial equality 

Sir Godfrey ‘Geoff’ Palmer OBE studied Botany at Leicester and graduated in 1964.

Shortly after, he discovered the barley abrasion process that has revolutionised the world of brewing. 

Instrumental in the development of sorghum as brewing material and food in Africa, he also helped to secure Britain’s first exports of barley to China. 

Geoff became Scotland’s first Black university professor in 1989 and is a prominent campaigner for racial equality. 

He was knighted in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to human rights, science and charity. 

After a distinguished academic career there, he is now Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Leicester in 2016 and returned to speak at our ‘Silences in the Archives’ event in 2021 about statues and slavery.


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