Alistair leads our science and collections teams, supporting them as they undertake scientific research, care for our unique, word-class collections and provide high-quality, evidence-based advice on horticultural challenges.
Before joining the RHS in 2013 he spent more than 10 years’ helping create the award-winning Eden Project, as Head Scientist.
What do you do?
I lead a highly-skilled team of scientists, information specialists, advisors and librarians working to improve the health of people, plants, the environment and wildlife.
We’re focused on evaluating and sharing up-to-date scientific knowledge and safeguarding our collections to advance the art, science and practice of horticulture and gardening.
"I am amazed how all life on earth, including humans, are completely dependent on plants for their existence. I’m passionate about optimising the cultural, environmental, social and economic potential of gardening and gardens to benefit the health of people and our planet."
I’m championing the relationship between gardening, health and wellbeing and have implemented the five-year science strategy
to guide the RHS’ activities, raise awareness of gardeners’ environmental responsibilities and improve plant knowledge, plant health and human wellbeing.
I work alongside my team as they deliver the science strategy and unlock a variety of resources for them to use as they ensure the RHS charity helps people to grow and remains at the forefront of horticulture and gardening science.
Why is the RHS' scientific research important?
Science for gardens and gardening is critical to provide solutions to some of the great challenges that we face such as climate change, managing pests and diseases, improving the health of people, the environment, wildlife and our planet.
No-other organisation in the world focuses on the science of gardening. Without our work we wouldn’t have the global knowledge bank on gardening practices and garden plants available for improving identification and description of plants, monitoring plant health in gardens, advancing our understanding of the ecosystem benefits of gardens and inspiring and informing people about the importance of plants, and gardens.