Appointment of Trustees of the Board of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, announced the appointment of Dr David Hamilton and Robert Wilson as Trustees of the Board of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.  The appointments will take effect from 1 July 2017.


Dr David Hamilton has a degree in Botany from the University of Glasgow and a doctorate from Imperial College, London.  Since completing them, he has worked in the private sector where he owns and runs a management consultancy specialising in financial services.  Dr Hamilton has a wide range of experience covering plant science, strategy, project management, and partnership ventures.  He is currently the Chairman of the Rock Trust, a Scottish homelessness charity headquartered in Edinburgh.

Robert Wilson is chairman and co-owner of Nelsons, the UK’s largest natural medicines company.  Plant medicine is at the centre of what Nelsons do.  In 2009, Mr Wilson, with his wife Nicola, opened Jupiter Artland, which was nominated for the Museum of the Year in 2017.  Landscape and Gardens and the science of plants are areas of great interest to him.

Length of Term, Time Commitment and Remuneration

The appointments are for four years and will run from 1 July 2017 until 30 June 2021.  The time commitment averages around eight to ten days per year.

Trustee positions are not remunerated.

Other Ministerial Appointments

Dr Hamilton and Mr Wilson do not hold any other Ministerial appointments.

Political Activity

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.

Dr Hamilton and Mr Wilson have had no political activity in the last five years.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The garden is first and foremost a scientific institution.  At the international level it is a global scientific resource, providing expertise, training, and information to help people around the world to conserve ecosystems and protect natural capital.  It works with and in many countries but has a particular focus in South America, South East Asia, Nepal and the Sino-Himalaya, and the Middle East. Projects currently range from research that underpins the conservation of the rapidly disappearing dry forests of Latin America and leading the International Conifer Conservation programme to providing scientific expertise to address illegal logging in Tanzania and understanding the diet of Giant Pandas.  In Nepal it is leading the production of the first comprehensive guide to its flora and assisting with training, community engagement and conservation programmes.

At the national level it is Scotland’s botanical institute playing a significant role in delivering the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, addressing the major challenge of plant health and giving Government access to scientific excellence.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)