Environment (Water) Scientist

Royal Horticultural Society

Woking, , GB

To fulfil the RHS Vision and Science Strategy you will develop and support implementation of an RHS Water Strategy that helps our membership and the UKs gardening community use and manage water sustainably in their gardens. You will develop a research programme to better improve our understanding on water use and management in gardens, including RHS gardens. You will identify and develop collaborative links with other research organisations and secure external sources of funding to help towards delivering the research programme.

Applicants should have a PhD or MSc in environmental science or related subject with a clear and demonstrable focus on water use and management. In addition, experience in project management and presenting and publishing scientific research to audiences of varied technical ability is vital.

Hours: Full time

Contract: Permanent

Reports to: Head of Horticultural & Environmental Science

Reports: None

Job Purpose:

To develop and support implementation of an RHS Water Strategy for gardeners and gardens. The post holder will compile existing knowledge, identify knowledge gaps and undertake new research contributing to the Horticultural and Environmental Science (HES) research programme.


Based at Wisley with opportunities to work with other research organisations nationally and internationally, and to work with other RHS gardens and divisions.


1. To develop and support implementation of an RHS Water Strategy for gardeners and gardens. This will include water quality and quantity, sourcing, handling, efficient and appropriate water use and the uptake of novel technologies.

2. To develop and co-ordinate an RHS programme of research to infill the knowledge gaps identified by the RHS Water Strategy. Will lead on undertaking water related research projects contributing to the HES research programme as well as working with other staff in the science and curatorial departments to support their work.

3. To develop opportunities for collaboration and secure external funding for experimental work through attendance at conferences, liaison with other organisations, and promoting and sustaining the research programme through dissemination of results.

4. To ensure prompt publication of the results from the research programme in appropriate scientific journals and broad dissemination of the results in the non-scientific media, to our members and through the relevant RHS divisions.

5. To raise the profile of RHS Science through involvement in professional and peer-group activities, such as editing of manuscripts, journals and conference proceedings and through citizen science, interpretation and public engagement.

6. To maintain awareness of relevant water related issues and policies, represent the Society on relevant national bodies and stakeholder groups, and advise the Society of developments in these areas where appropriate.

7. To utilise the RHS Water Strategy and develop practical advice and guidance for RHS members and for gardeners in the UK.

8. To work with the curatorial teams from the RHS gardens and make use of the RHS Water Strategy, to assist and advise on garden management strategies in relation to sustainable water use.

9. To co-supervise PhD, MSc, BSc and other relevant students and technical staff in order to deliver high quality and relevant scientific research.

10. Ensure own safety, and the safety of others who may be affected by your actions. Employees must follow instructions and co-operate at all times with their line manager to enable the RHS to meet its legal responsibility. Employees must stop work if the nature of the situation involves risk of serious injury to any person and must report any hazardous situation or defective equipment to their line manager without delay.

11. Undertake any other duties as may reasonably be required of you in the post.

Person Specification



A PhD or MSc in Environmental Science or relevant subject with a focus on water management.

Thorough knowledge of water quality and quantity, water sourcing, water handling and water use in practical applications as evidenced by publication in peer reviewed scientific literature and practical experience.

Effective knowledge of appropriate research techniques including experimental design and analysis of quantitative data, as evidenced in peer reviewed scientific literature.


Understanding of garden management and plant production practices in amateur horticulture and / or commercial horticulture.

Familiarity with the different pressures horticultural users face with regards to water as a resource.

Familiarity with the policy/regulatory issues associated with water use.



Comprehensive research experience, as evidenced by appropriate research projects and/or peer reviewed publication record.

Demonstrable experience in the public engagement and communication of technical and or scientific information to non-scientific audiences.

Project management skills, ability to demonstrate the delivery of a successful project from start to finish and that was on time and on budget.


Understanding of practical amateur and professional horticulture.

Experience in supervising, supporting and mentoring internships, BSc, MSc and PhD students.

Experience in successfully winning and managing external funding to undertake scientific research activities.

Skills – Job Competencies


Use of Microsoft Word at an ‘Intermediate’ level including producing reports and formatting letters

Use of the Internet to carry out research, obtain information and e-mail

Use of a database including inputting data and searching for information

Ability to communicate accurately and effectively in verbal and written English

Ability to travel as required, usually up to 7 days per year

Ability to stay away overnight as required, usually up to 5 nights per year