With this summer set to be one of the driest on record, the RHS has announced it is collaborating with Cranfield University to recruit and train the UK’s first garden water scientist.

This new role responds to climactic changes that are resulting in more extreme weather events and aims to better prepare the country’s 27million gardeners for periods of drought and flood which put pressure on plants, people and wildlife.

The water scientist will explore ways to improve water provision in gardens by adopting new technologies, developing management strategies and encouraging behavioural change among gardeners.

Head of Cranfield Water Science Institute, Professor Paul Jeffrey said: “As water resources come under additional strain both farmers and gardeners will need to change their behaviours and make better use of new scientific understandings and innovations.

“Cranfield is working with the RHS to generate new insights into water efficient practices and is supporting the implementation of a suite innovative, cost effective, impactful water management technologies and methodologies.”

Director of Science at the RHS Alistair Griffiths said: “Climate change is resulting in more frequent hot and dry spells and are projected to increase in the coming years. This could lead to less water being freely available in the growing season to support optimum growth so it’s important we look at how we can maintain our gardens, and the wildlife they support, for the future.”

The water scientist will be based at RHS Garden Wisley where a new Centre for Horticultural Science and Learning will open in 2020. Applications are open until midnight on 31st July 2018.


Notes for editors

About the RHS: The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, 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. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.

The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £15 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 020 3176 5820, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262


About Cranfield University

Cranfield is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

Cranfield Water

Cranfield has over 40 years’ experience in the sector and we are recognised internationally for our work in the science, engineering and management of water. We work in all aspects of water – whether it is helping to ensure safe, clean supplies for domestic consumption, assessing agricultural needs for food production, protecting and enhancing natural habitats or improving process engineering for manufacturing and industry.

We have strategic partnerships with the Department for the Environment, Yorkshire Water, Severn Trent and Anglian Water.

Our activities are underpinned by world-class facilities, including a pilot-plant hall at the University’s own sewage treatment works, state-of-the-art soil and water laboratories, a grey water treatment pilot area, a managed borehole drilling site and soil and irrigation testing facilities.

We are a founding member of Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP); it is estimated that, to date, it has helped provide over one million people with clean drinking water, and some 400,000 with improved sanitation.

In 2015, we were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for our education and research into safe water and sanitation for the world's poorest communities.