Royal Horticultural Society Appoints New Head of Science

Wednesday 1 May 2013

The former Horticultural Science Curator at the Eden Project has been named as the new Head of Science at the world’s largest gardening charity, the Royal Horticultural Society.

Dr Alistair Griffiths, who will take up his role with the RHS on 20 May, spent a decade at the world-famous Eden Project in Cornwall managing a team of scientists as they tackled the unique horticultural challenges that life in the biospheres threw their way.

As Head of Science at the RHS, Alistair will be responsible for ensuring that the charity remains at the forefront of horticulture by using science to influence its own practice and, through sharing knowledge, help gardeners make the best decisions for their gardens and the environment.

Upon Alistair’s appointment, the acting Head of Science Dr John David will return to his previous role as Chief Scientist of the Royal Horticultural Society.

With no other charity investing as much of its resources into the science of horticulture, Alistair will be leading a highly skilled team that is focused on furthering horticultural knowledge and sharing this information with gardeners at all levels throughout the UK.

Speaking about his appointment, Alistair said: “I am excited about working with everyone at the RHS and others in the horticulture world to raise the profile of horticultural science. I look forward to leading scientific research that will provide members and gardeners with information to create beautiful, sustainable gardens that maximise environmental benefit and human wellbeing.”

RHS Director General Sue Biggs said: “We are delighted to have Alistair join the RHS as the new Head of Science and to be a member of the Leadership Team. His wealth of horticultural science experience and the skills he developed at the Eden Project will benefit our extensive ambitions for science going forward.
“Alistair will be leading a team of talented and motivated scientists, and together will help our members and gardeners face an ever-changing horticultural and environmental world.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr John David for his brilliant work as Acting Head of Science," said Sue. "His knowledge, skills and experience have meant the RHS has enjoyed a seamless transition between the two permanent Heads of Science, and I know he is longing to get back to his scientific research.”



Notes to editors

For more information, please contact Garfield Myrie in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3060 or email

About Dr Alistair Griffiths FD Hort ND Hort MI Hort BSc (Hons) PhD
Dr Griffiths obtained a First and National Diploma in Horticulture while at Myerscough College and obtained a BSc (Hons) in Botany, and a PhD from the University of Reading. He is currently a Visiting Lecturer at Reading University, and a Trustee of both Plant Network and People & Gardens CIC (Community Interest Company).

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, the first of our gardens, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity.

Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 209 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit  

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262


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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262