Prof John Clifton-Brown


Prof John Clifton-Brown


Contact Details


1993 Research Assistant, I.A.T.A., Florence, Italy.
1997-2000 Assistant co-ordinator to the European Miscanthus Improvement Project while based in University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart.
2000-2002 Term lecturer in Plant Physiology at Trinity College Dublin.
2002-2004 Site manager for the Greengrass and CCFLUX projects based at Teagasc, Carlow, Ireland.
2004-present Project leader, Miscanthus breeding programme.

I was recruited to IGER to lead the public funded Miscanthus breeding programme in August 2004. My background up to this date was in ecophysiology (incorporating agronomy and quantification of greenhouse gas fluxes).

In the current position, it is apparent to me that an ecophysiological approach to exploiting genetic variation can be used to increase the genetic potential of Miscanthus in terms of higher yields and qualities in diverse environments.

By working alongside molecular biologists (in particular Iain Donnison), the opportunities to link different disciplines has already born fruit: (i) a responsive mode proposal to BBSRC to examine flowering time as a key trait influencing both yield and quality has been accepted for funding, (ii) an approved pre-proposal in response to the BBSRC's call for a bioenergy research centre with colleagues in IGER, RRES, JIC and Imperial College London.


BA Natural Science, Trinity College Dublin (1989-92)
PhD Plant Physiology and Agronomy, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (1993-97)
Thesis title: The importance of temperature in controlling leaf growth of _Miscanthus_in Temperate Climates.

Committee, editorial and other responsibilities

Regular reviewer of papers for Global Change Biology, Industrial Crops and Products and Biomass and Bioenergy.
Former committee member of AGMET (agrometeorology group) in Dublin Ireland.


Miscanthus breeding, ecophysiology, climate change impacts and modelling.


Breeding programme
Public and privately funded work
Underpinning science for breeding

Public funding and many collaborations within the BEC programme including

  • Flowering time
  • Drought
  • Resource capture and allocation


Stem growth characteristics of high yielding Miscanthus correlate with yield, development and intraspecific competition within plotsRobson, P., Donnison, I. & Clifton-Brown, J., 2019 , In : GCB Bioenergy.
Breeding progress and preparedness for mass-scale deployment of perennial lignocellulosic biomass crops switchgrass, miscanthus, willow and poplarClifton-Brown, J., Harfouche, A., Casler, M., Jones, H., MacAlpine, W. J., Murphy-Bokern, D., Smart, L., Adler, A., Ashman, C. R., Awty-Carroll, D., Bastien, C., Bopper, S., Botnari, V., Brancourt-Hulmel, M., Chen, Z., Clark, L., Cosentino, S., Dalton, S., Davey, C., Dolstra, O., Donnison, I., Flavell, R., Greef, J. M., Hanley, S., Hastings, A., Hertzberg, M., Hsu, T. W., Huang, L., Iurato, A., Jensen, E., Jin, X., Jørgensen, U., Kiesel, A., Kim, D-S., Liu, J., McCalmont, J. P., McMahon, G. G., Mos, M., Robson, P., Sacks, E. J., Sandu, A., Scalici, G., Schwarz, K., Scordia, D., Shafiei, R., Shield, I. F., Slavov, G., Stanton, B., Swaminathan, K., Taylor, G., Torres, A. F., Trindade, L. M., Tschaplinski, T., Tuskan, J., Yamada, T., Yu, C. Y., Zalesny, R. -F., Zong, J. & Lewandowski, I., 2019 , In : GCB Bioenergy.11, 1, p. 118-15134 p.
Collecting wild Miscanthus germplasm in Asia for crop improvement and conservation in Europe whilst adhering to the guidelines of the United Nations' Convention on Biological DiversityHuang, L., Flavell, R., Donnison, I., Chiang, Y-C., Hastings, A., Hayes, C., Heidt, C., Hong, H., Hsu, T. W., Humphreys, M., Jackson, J., Norris, J., Schwarz, K-U., Squance, M., Swaller, T., Thomas, I., van Assche, W., Xi, Q., Yamada, T., Youell, S. & Clifton-Brown, J., 2018 , In : Annals of Botany. mcy231.
Miscanthus as energy crop and mean of mitigating floodKam, J., Traynor, D., Clifton-Brown, J., Purdy, S. & McCalmont, J., 2018 .
Investigating the potential of novel non-woven fabrics for efficient pollination control in plant breedingClifton-Brown, J., Senior, H., Purdy, S., Horsnell, R., Lankamp, B., Müennekhoff, A-K., Virk, D., Guillemois, E., Chetty, V., Cookson, A., Girdwood, S., Clifton-Brown, G., Tan, M. L. MC., Awty-Carroll, D. & Bentley, A., 2018 , In : PLoS One.13, 9, e0204728.
More publications on the Research Portal