Graduate Training and Capacity Building
- We provide specialist training in biodiversity science and conservation
- We deliver outreach and public engagement to support sustainable development
Sustainable management of the planet’s natural capital requires well-informed decision makers, effectively trained practitioners, and a wider public understanding of environmental challenges and solutions. To address this we deliver formal scientific education, practical training, and link this with wider community outreach and public engagement.
Formal education from the Science team at RBGE centres on our MSc in the Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants and our international PhD programme. We also run training courses, ranging from plant identification in Scotland, through to building capacity in biodiversity science and sustainability in developing countries. We support these activities with targeted films, exhibitions and events aiming to further deliver accessible environmental education to empower people to understand and benefit from plants.
RBGE supports a vibrant and diverse international PhD community of between 20-30 PhD students. Their research topics include taxonomy, conservation science, ecology, evolution, genomics and cultural history. Our PhD programme is delivered in partnership with various universities. Many of our students are registered for their degree with the University of Edinburgh, but we also have joint PhD supervision and partnerships with many other countries around the world. Our current group of students are from 15 countries.
The PhD students at RBGE are fully embedded within the research team, and benefit from the international network of research collaborations and links through to conservation agencies and other environmental management organisations.
If you are interested in undertaking PhD research at RBGE, please contact individual members of staff whose interest matches your own, or for more general enquiries contact C.Kidner@rbge.org.uk, the coordinator of our PhD programme.
MSc in Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants
RBGE has been running its internationally renowned MSc in the Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants for 25 years. This course has attracted students from 52 countries. Over 90% of our MSc students go on to employment or further training in the biodiversity sector. The course was rated world class and the very best of its kind by a recent education review of RBGE.
The course lasts one year, and a strong focus of the course is the hands-on nature of the training (learning a lot about plants!). We are proud of the close integration of the course with the research programme and the scientific collections, giving the MSc students full access to the strengths of RBGE.
A key highlight of the course is field trip to a tropical country (Colombia or Belize) to experience tropical field work and gain practical experience of field surveys and plant identification in a highly diverse system.
Capacity Building and Training
We deliver practical training, educational activities and knowledge exchange, focusing on plant science, conservation and sustainability.
In Scotland we work closely with local communities, conservation organisations, businesses and natural history societies. Examples include:
- Training in plant and fungi identification
- Providing advice to support community restoration projects
- Communicating information on plant health risks and biosecurity best-practice
Internationally, many of our projects aim to build capacity in biodiversity surveys and conservation assessments to support sustainable management of natural resources. Examples include:
- Developing skills in plant identification in Laos
- Supporting community based forest management in Tanzania
- Professional training in biodiversity documentation and IUCN Red List Assessments in Nepal