About Us


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The Plant Health Centre is a virtual centre of expertise funded by Scottish Government through RESAS (Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division) to help tackle plant health challenges for Scotland.

Working with the Chief Plant Health Officer for Scotland, Professor Gerry Saddler from Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), the Centre brings the plant sectors for forestry, horticulture, environment and agriculture together to co-ordinate plant health knowledge, skills, needs and activities across Scotland. We work with Scottish Government, public bodies and stakeholders to provide scientific evidence to help them make important decisions about pests and pathogens that threaten Scotland the most. The Centre Directorate is headed up by the James Hutton Institute, and has sector leads from Scotland’s Rural College (agriculture), Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (horticulture and environment) and Forest Research (forestry).

It has a Science Advisory and Response Team (SART) from the above organisations as well as partners from the universities of Edinburgh, Exeter and Strathclyde, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland (BioSS), each bringing with them a range of skills from understanding public perceptions to long-term disease forecasting.

A Steering Group oversees the functioning and governance of the Centre.  

To see a schematic of the Centre structure click here

Find out more about our members below.


Our Aims

Improve resilience to plant health threats in Scotland by connecting science to application to inform policy, planning, responses and solutions

The Key objectives for the PHC at present are:

  1. Strengthening resilience and emergency response plans, and contributing to improved surveillance and detection.
  2. Providing scientific evidence to support policy decisions and outbreak management by the Chief Plant Health Officer Scotland
  3. Improving Rural Industry resilience in Scotland by helping to mitigate plant health risks through horizon scanning, trade risk assessments, business resilience and knowledge exchange
  4. Enhancing Scotland’s capacity and capability to respond to threats and assemble scientific evidence by leveraging non-Scottish Govt funded expertise, facilities and data.
  5. Contributing to an expansion of interdisciplinary networks to improve capacity to respond to threats across all plant health sectors.
  6. Engaging effectively with stakeholders of the PHC, providing evidence to meet their needs and encourage uptake of findings.


Meet the Plant Health Centre Team



Centre Director
The James Hutton Institute
Sector Lead: Forestry
Forest Research
Sector Lead: Agriculture
Scotland’s Rural College
Sector Lead: Horticulture and Environment
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Centre Manager
The James Hutton Institute
Centre Facilitator
The James Hutton Institute

Science Advisory and Response Team

Head of Diagnostics, Wildlife and Molecular Biology
Head of Rural Resource Economics
Scotland’s Rural College
Chair in Food Security
University of Exeter
Mathematics and Statistics
University of Strathclyde
Curator of Living Collections at RBGE
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Forest Pathologist and Programme Manager
Forest Research
Professor of Systems Physiology and Director of Edinburgh Plant Science
University of Edinburgh
Plant Soil Ecologist
The James Hutton Institute
Social and Economic Research Scientist
Forest Research
Head of Research
Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland
Group Leader, Ecology Evolution and Environmental Change
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Steering Group

Chief Plant Health Officer for Scotland; Head of SASA
Executive Director of Agrico UK Ltd; Chairman of the Food and Drink Federation of Scotland; Agriculture Champion for Scottish Government
National Manager for Scotland
Confederation of Forest Industries
Land Use Policy and Advice Manager
Freelance Consultant, Scheme Manager for the Plant Healthy Certification Scheme
Operations Manager
National Trust for Scotland
Knowledge Transfer Manager - AgriFood
UKRI Knowledge Transfer Network
Plant Health Policy
Scottish Government
Head of Plant Health, Inspections and Rural Engagement / Deputy Chief Plant Health Officer for Scotland
Head of Agronomy
Angus Growers
Head of Tree Health
Scottish Forestry
Head of Field Department
Kettle Produce Ltd
Principal Science Adviser
Scottish Government