Plant research and development manager

Testing and developing new products for a company, such as plant protection products or digital solutions for horticulture, to improve efficiency, productivity and sustainability

Training, qualifications and skills Degree level qualification in a relevant subject, such as biology, plant science, ecology; masters or PhD (not essential); experience of working in, or with industry; once in role you may be needed to become BASIS qualified, which may be something a company will pay for
Career progression opportunities Product regulation specialist; product development; IPM specialist; biopesticide development; agricultural roles; trials or research; technical management; education; digital solutions advisor are potential roles
Useful links Plantae
British Society for Plant Pathology

Focus on: Technical development specialist

Ant Surridge
Full time, salary up to £35k
West Sussex

My role primarily entails sourcing, developing and testing our range of nation exclusive technical products which ranges from plant protection products to digital solutions for horticulture for the Fargro portfolio

Try to understand as many elements of a product's cycle as possible such as what a grower needs, what are the goals of the authorisation holders and what do the sales team need for success.

My job entails bringing new crop protection solutions to the UK market. It is very rewarding to see a product go from an idea to being used on farm to protect crops from pests and diseases and keep the UK a world leader in sustainable crop protection practices.

I grew up on an ornamental nursery and went on to study plant science at university, giving me a good understanding of both grower needs and the technical complexity behind the products. 

Focus on: Plant research and development manager

Libby Rowland
Vitacress Herbs
Full time, salary up to £45k

Following my environmental biology degree, I studied for a PhD at the University of Southampton, funded by Sainsbury’s, in collaboration with Vitacress. I conducted my research in Vitacress glasshouses, where I learned a wealth of scientific and commercially relevant skills that enabled me to secure my position with the company.

Take advantage of all work opportunities – whether it’s to meet new people, learn a new skill, travel or take on a challenging task.

I trial new herb varieties, new products, new production and growing methods and new technologies for the business. I have the privilege of visiting other growers, attending conferences, seminars, and meetings – sometimes presenting research while I’m there – and interacting with customers, growers, industry representatives and scientists worldwide.

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.