Training and Capacity Building

PhD programme

  • RBGE supports a vibrant and diverse international PhD community of between 20-30 PhD students. Their research topics range from taxonomy, conservation science, ecology, evolution, and genomics, to cultural history. Our PhD programme is delivered in partnership with a number of universities - many of our students are registered for their degree with the University of Edinburgh, but we also have partnerships with institutes in many other countries around the world. Our current cohort of students are drawn from 15 countries.  

    RBGE PhD students are fully embedded within the research team, and benefit from our international network of research collaborations and links to conservation agencies and other environmental management organisations.

    If you are interested in undertaking PhD research at RBGE, please contact the individual members of staff whose research best matches your own interest; for more general enquiries contact, PhD programme coordinator.

MSc in Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants

  • RBGE's internationally renowned MSc in the Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants has now been running for 25 years, over which time it has attracted students from 52 countries. Over 90% of our MSc students go on to employment or further training in the biodiversity sector. The programme was rated world class and the very best of its kind in a recent education review of RBGE.

    The programme lasts one year and has a strong focus on hands-on training with many contact hours with lecturers, experts and plants themselves. We are proud of how closely the programme integrates with the research programme and scientific collections, giving the MSc students full access to the strengths of RBGE.

    A key highlight of the programme is a 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 highly diverse ecosystems.

    If you are interested in the MSc programme, please contact the director Louis Ronse de Craene at

    MSc Students on field trip in Belize

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:

    Internationally, many of our projects aim to build capacity in biodiversity surveys and conservation assessments to support the sustainable management of natural resources by local people. 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
    Environmental education - a classroom full of students, Tanzania