Dec 052018

Trustees - Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

Reference: 1568
Remuneration: unremunerated
Location: Edinburgh, City of
Closing date: 18 January 2019 at midnight

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

Appointments for four years from April 2019

Scottish Ministers are looking to fill two Trustee positions on the Board of the Royal Botanic Garden (RBGE). The appointments are an opportunity to help shape the future of one of the world's most renowned botanic gardens.

RBGE's mission is “to explore, conserve and explain the world of plants for a better future”. We contribute significantly to the Scottish Government's National outcomes, not only though protecting and enhancing our environment, but also in the fields of economic development, education and skills development, social inclusion and international cooperation. Our work is based around four strategic objectives:

  1. Delivering world leading plant science and conservation programmes to reduce the loss of global biodiversity and to achieve a greater understanding of plants, fungi and environmental sustainability;
  2. Maintaining and developing RBGE's internationally important collections to maximise their value as a conservation, research, education and heritage resource;
  3. Providing learning and training in horticulture, plant science and biodiversity conservation to stimulate people to appreciate, understand, and contribute to the conservation of plants and our natural environment; and
  4. Offering a first-class visitor attraction to enable more communities, families and individuals to enjoy and be inspired by the gardens and their facilities, become more environmentally responsible and to support the work of the RBGE.

The garden is an outstanding scientific institution. At the international level we are a global scientific resource, providing expertise, training, and information to help people around the world to conserve ecosystems and protect natural capital. We work with and in many countries but have a particular focus in South America, South East Asia, Nepal and the Sino-Himalaya, and the Middle East. Our projects help to reduce plant extinctions and target scarce resources and includes: research that underpins the conservation of the rapidly disappearing dry forests of Latin America, leading the International Conifer Conservation programme, and identifying disease resistant genes and traits in wild crop relatives.

Our specialist training and public engagement links plants to individuals and communities in Scotland and around the world. Over the last five years 59,500 children have participated in our schools programmes, 180 students have graduated from our HND/BSc programme and 89 students from 34 countries have graduated from MSc in Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants. Our gardens attract 1,000,000 visits per year and our extensive programme of events, courses and exhibitions are a major attraction, complementing our living and preserved collections and helping to delight and inform our visitors.

Our gardens offer a fantastic place to support communities. In the past year the Botanic Cottage and Community Garden welcomed 2,400 participants from across the community including: disadvantaged adults and families; people with autism, dementia, Parkinson's disease and mental health issues; adults and teenagers with learning disabilities; ethnic minorities and refugees.

350th Anniversary

We celebrate our 350th Anniversary in 2020 and plans are well advanced to capitalise on this opportunity to increase our profile, build a strong platform for fundraising and create a legacy. We plan to start the Edinburgh Biomes project as part of our anniversary year - a six year programme that includes restoring and replacing our glasshouses, building new education facilities and creating state of the art plant health research and biosecurity centre.

The Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees is, under the National Heritage (Scotland) Act 1985, statutorily responsible for the custody of RBGE's National Collections and for the overall performance of RBGE's performance.

Role of the Trustees

There are currently seven members of the Board of Trustees out of a statutory maximum of nine. Members have collective responsibility for overseeing the RBGE and pursuing its statutory remit. The Board is responsible for agreeing the organisation's strategy, ensuring that the highest standards of governance are complied with; and to hold the Regius Keeper (and senior staff) to account for the management of the organisation and the delivery of agreed plans on time and within budget. It should take due account of advice given by the Regius Keeper who is not a member of the Board.


Ministers are looking to fill two distinct positions on the Board of Trustees. One position requires experience/expertise in sustainable development and conservation and the other skill and experience in leading and developing a successful visitor attraction understanding of the development of a tourism or commercial destination.

Position One

  • Sustainable development and conservation
    • expertise in the field of environmental sustainability;
    • experience of delivering environmental protection and enhancement programmes.

Position Two

  • Leading and developing a successful visitor attraction understanding of the development of a tourism or commercial destination;
    • able to realise the potential of physical and intellectual assets to develop a tourism, or commercial destination;
    • can identify new market opportunities;
    • shows imagination and creative thinking to develop an innovative business culture;
    • experience/understanding of fundraising and creating new income streams to support business growth/ diversification.

There are also a number of other skills and personal qualities which are essential for both positions:

  • analysis and decision making;
  • constructive and supportive challenge;
  • governance and financial awareness;
  • commitment and empathy for mission and objectives of RBGE;
  • communication.

Information about the roles

The time commitment is likely to average around eight to ten days per year. Trustee appointments are not remunerated, however, travel and subsistence costs as well as reasonable receipted dependant carer expenses incurred in relation to the Board's work will be reimbursed. The appointments are for up to four years and there is the possibility of reappointment.

Closing date for completed applications is 18 January 2019.

Scottish Ministers particularly welcome applications from groups currently under-represented on Scotland's public bodies, such as women, disabled people, those from minority ethnic communities, and people aged under 50. The public appointments process promotes, demonstrates and upholds equality of opportunity for all applicants.

Accessibility to public appointments is a fundamental requirement and the public appointments process promotes, demonstrates and upholds equality of opportunity and treatment to all applicants. The Scottish Government will always give consideration to disability-related reasonable adjustments that an applicant might request to enable them to meet the person specification and participate fully in the selection process.

Appointed on merit; committed to diversity and equality

Application Information

Please apply online. If you experience any difficulties accessing our website, or in the event that you require a word version of the application form, please contact the Public Appointments Team on (Freephone) 0300 244 1898, by email at, or by writing to the Public Appointments Team, Scottish Government, Area 3F North, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh EH6 6QQ.

Apply for this Vacancy

Additional Information

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