Mark Lynch recognized with the IUPAC International Award for Advances in Crop Protection Chemistry

On 19 March 2019, the IUPAC Division on Chemistry and the Environment announced that the 2019 IUPAC International Award for Advances in Harmonized Approaches to Crop Protection Chemistry will be presented to honor the late Dr. Mark R. Lynch. The award recognizes individuals in government, industry, and academia who have exercised personal leadership for outstanding contributions to international harmonization for the regulation of crop protection chemistry. The award is associated with an honorarium of USD 3000 plus travel support for an award lecture and presentation ceremony. Corporate sponsorship for the award is provided by Corteva Agriscience™. The 2019 award will be presented to honor Dr. Lynch as part of the opening ceremonies for the 14th IUPAC International Congress of Crop Protection Chemistry, in Ghent, Belgium, on 19 May 2019.  An award lecture to celebrate the accomplishments and legacy of Dr. Lynch will be presented by Gordon Rennick, Department of Agriculture, who was both a colleague and friend.  The family of Mark Lynch has graciously directed the award honorarium to support participation in the IUPAC 2019 Ghent Congress of experts from scientifically emerging regions.

Mark R. Lynch, recipient of the 2019 IUPAC International Award for Advances in Harmonized Approaches to Crop Protection Chemistry

Lynch had a long and storied career of more than 45 years as a regulator, national and international work group leader, and consultant. He was a visionary leader, who could see that harmonization of pesticide assessments, with regulatory agencies collaborating among countries and across the globe, was the way of the future. Mark Lynch’s great visionary strength, combined with his drive, dynamism, and downright perseverance, led to major breakthroughs in harmonization of pesticide evaluation and authorization, first in the European Union, and subsequently on a worldwide basis via the OECD.
After obtaining an Agricultural Science degree at University College Dublin (1966), Dr. Lynch completed MS (1969) and PhD (1971) degrees at Cornell University, with a specialization in plant biochemistry and herbicide selectivity. After a brief stint in Ireland’s Dept. of Agriculture and a short spell as lecturer at University College Dublin, Mark returned to the Dept. of Agriculture (DoA) where his initial assignment was developing a pesticide regulatory system for Ireland. Mark served key leadership roles as part of the Pesticide Control Service within the DoA during the period 1974 to 2007, including as Scientific Coordinator and as Head of Service, and his legacy is imprinted in the highly efficient system that persists to this day.

It was during this period, as he represented the Irish government in regional and international forums related to crop protection chemistry regulation, that Mark was fatefully drawn into cooperation around harmonization efforts. During the mid-1980’s, Dr. Lynch and several colleagues were invited by the European Commission to work on a harmonized EU approach for pesticide registration. Drawing on lessons from more developed regulatory systems and building on lessons from earlier unsuccessful EU efforts, Mark proposed the two-tier system of harmonized EU active substance evaluation and member state product authorization. This led Mark and his collaborators to develop the first harmonized EU legislation and supporting guidance related to pesticide approval via Directive 91/414 EEC. The “uniform principles” it was built around have not only served the EU well but also provided a model for other regions.

By the mid-1990’s, Dr. Lynch’s energies were also directed toward the challenges of international cooperation in pesticide regulation and management. As first Chair of the OECD Registration Steering Group, Lynch for nearly a decade led development and implementation of OECD’s “Vision for Pesticides”, which yielded the foundational guidance documents and tools for international collaboration. As a pioneer of the harmonization of pesticide regulation, Dr. Lynch co-managed the first truly global joint review of a new pesticide active substance in 2008, paving the way for this effective form of global work-sharing.

After transitioning to the private sector, Mark remained active in his final decade as an advisor and consultant to regulatory authorities, inter-governmental bodies, and other organizations.

As recognized by his award nominators, Dr. Lynch was “a truly inspirational character” and “a man of outstanding character” as well as someone who was “always generous with his time and advice”. For all his accomplishments and his humanity, IUPAC is pleased to recognize Dr. Mark R. Lynch via the 2019 IUPAC International Award for Advances in Harmonized Approaches to Crop Protection Chemistry.