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The Plant Health Professional Register has been created in response to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Government Office of Science reports1 recommending development of plant health skills and  creating opportunities for a wider community of trained plant health professionals. A new report from research councils was published in 20162

The Department is working with professional bodies to embed greater awareness of plant health as a key competency and component of continuous professional development, and to enhance the official training programme for inspectors, providing a better and more professional service.

Defra with assistance from the York, North Yorkshire & East Riding Enterprise Partnership have funded the establishment of the Professional Register overseen by the Royal Society of Biology. An advisory group3comprising representatives from Plant Health agencies from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Forestry Commission has compiled the competencies.

Following a successful pilot exercise, a plan is now in place to register 300 government employees by 2018 with the intention of including other professional roles where a significant involvement in plant health is required.

For further information, contact Celia Knight (

1 Defra/GoS (Dec 2014) Animal and Plant Health in the UK: Building our science capability
Defra (April 2014) Protecting Plant Health-a Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain

2 A Vision and high- level Strategy for UK Animal and Plant Health Research To 2020 and Beyond

3 Plant Health Professional Register Advisory group
Nicola Spence (Defra Chief Plant Health Officer)
Celia Knight (Consultant and chair)
Charles Lane (Fera Science Ltd)
Richard Harris (Defra)
Ged Hayward and Paul Beales (APHA - England)
Susan Ross (SASA - Scotland)
Sean McIntyre (DARD – Northern Ireland)
Nia Meddins (Welsh Government)
Nick Mainprize (Forestry Commission)
Joanne Needham (Royal Society of Biology)

To start your application visit our members area mySociety.

Read an overview of the competencies

See our guidance for applicants

The Royal Society of Biology is committed to ensuring equal opportunities in the life sciences, and supports diversity throughout the pipeline; at school and higher education, in the workplace and training.

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