Philip joined UEA in September 2011 as a Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Science.
He read for his degree in Genetics at the University of Leeds and gained a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from Warwick University where he worked on light-regulated gene expression. He subsequently held personal Fellowships at the Rockefeller University in New York.
In 1991 he returned to Leeds University as a Lecturer, gained a personal chair in Plant Molecular Genetics in 1999, and in 2004 became Pro-Dean for Research in the Faculty of Biological Sciences. In 2008 he joined Durham University as Principal of St Mary's College before moving to UEA in 2011.
He maintains an active research laboratory which is based at the neighbouring John Innes Centre. His research focuses on gene regulation, flower development and plant breeding systems.