As IRRI’s Regional Representative for South Asia, Nafees' role is to represent IRRI’s interests, coordinate and have oversight on IRRI’s activities in South Asia in a strategic and coherent manner. He works closely with government entities and a wide range of partners from other sectors, leads the implementation of IRRI strategy focusing on key contributions IRRI can make to the development of the agri-food sector in target countries in the region. He also acts as the chief spokesperson for IRRI in South Asia and interacts with a wide range of national and international partners and donors to seek out new opportunities for IRRI’s research, including philanthropic fundraising and public-private sector partnerships. He manages IRRI’s relationships with other CGIAR and international centers operating in South Asia and constructively engages in the One CGIAR process.
Nafees joined IRRI in 2016. Prior to that, he was Director of the Research Councils UK India Office. Earlier, as part of the Chief Scientist’s Group at the UK’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, he managed the government research programs on food safety, nutrition, and environmental contamination of food. He was a senior policymaker in the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs leading work on environmental impact of food production and on climate change and food security. He then became Head of Science at the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change with the responsibility of providing the evidence base for the UK Government's position in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations.
He holds a PhD in Chemistry from University College London. He also holds an LLB (Hons) from the University of London and has been called to the English Bar.