Maurício A. Lopes, a plant geneticist by training, received his BSc degree in Agronomy (1983) from the Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil, his MS degree in Plant Genetics (1989) from Purdue University, Indiana, and his PhD in Genetics (1993) from the University of Arizona, Tucson. He was the leader of the Maize Breeding Program (1993-1995) and Head of Research and Development (1995-1999) of the Embrapa Maize and Sorghum Center, in Sete Lagoas, MG. From January 2000 to April 2003, he was Head of Research and Development of Embrapa in Brasilia. From April 2004 to April 2007, he was the Head of Research and Development of Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, a thematic center of Embrapa located in Brasilia.
Dr. Lopes' major scientific contributions include the development and release of improved maize varieties and germplasm, capacity building activities, and many research papers and book chapters. His contributions in R&D strategic planning and management include coordination of the process that led to the development and implementation of Embrapa´s current R&D Management System; coordination and implementation of a Competitive Grants Process within the Embrapa Management System; scenario and foresight analysis to support strategic planning at Embrapa, implementation of the strategic intelligence platform of Embrapa (Agropensa), implementation of portfolio management, formulation of Embrapa´s performance evaluation platform (Integro), among others. Dr. Lopes served in a number of national and international committees, missions, panels and working groups related to agricultural R&D. From April 2007 to October 2008, he worked at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO in Rome, supporting the implementation of an internationally facilitated platform dedicated to plant breeding capacity building. Dr. Lopes was recipient of the 2007 Embrapa R&D Excellence Award, granted in recognition to his contributions as R&D manager at the Genetic Resources and Biotechnology Center. From October 2009 to April 2011, he was Coordinator of Labex Korea, a program of international cooperation of Embrapa for Asia, developed in partnership with the Rural Development Administration - RDA, the agricultural research organization of South Korea. From March 2007 to October 2012, he was member of the Scientific Council of the Agropolis Foundation in Montpellier, France. From January 2013 to December 2016, he was a member of the Scientific Board of the Global Crop Diversity Trust in Bonn, Germany. Since 2013, he has been a member of the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition in London and since 2015, he has been a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Global Bioeconomy Council in Berlin, Germany and member of the Board of the World Food Center, hosted at the University of California, Davis. In 2014, he was awarded the Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award from Purdue University and the Ordre du Mérite Agricole bestowed by the French Republic for outstanding contribution to world agriculture. In 2015, he was elected member of the Brazilian Academy of Agriculture and in 2017, he was awarded the Medal of the Rio Branco Order, in the degree of Comendador, by the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Brazil.
From April 2011 to October 2012, he was the Executive Director of Research and Development of Embrapa, in Brasilia, Brazil. Since October, 2012 he has served as the President of Embrapa.