Since 2010, Professor Zakri has been Science Adviser to the Prime Minister of Malaysia. He is the founding Chair of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board. He sits on the Global Leadership Council of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). He has been appointed by the United Nations (UN) as the Co-Chairman of STI Advisory Board of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). Recently appointed as IsDB Scientific Advisory Board. Zakri’s professional interests include crop science, biodiversity and science diplomacy.

In January 2017, the US-based “Biofuel Digest”, an influential industry magazine has hailed him as one of the “Top 100 Influential Persons in the Advanced Bioeconomy 2017”. He has received numerous awards. Zayed International Prize for the Environment (2014), the Academy of Science of South Africa Distinguished Visiting Scholar Award (2015), Merdeka Award for the environment category (2015). In August 2017, he was awarded the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes and also recipient of the 2017 Global Competitiveness Award, conferred by the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils (GFCC). Nationally, he is responsible in positioning science as an underpinning for socio-economic development and using the tools of foresight to prepare Malaysia as an industrialised country in the near future.”

Three species have been named after Zakri: a beetle (Paleosepharia zakrii),a cicada(Pomponia zakrii) and a pitcher plant(Nepenthes zakriana).