The BSBI’s Training & Education Committee organises and supports events and resources for teaching botany. We also run the country’s most recognised qualification for botanical surveyors, the FISC. On this page you can find out about botany courses and training grants available from the BSBI and other sources of grants for botanists.

Tips from the Training Team

Sarah says:  "Don't forget, BSBI Training Grants go live on 1st January - scroll down to find out more!"

Short identification courses

There are many short identification courses available from various providers throughout the country. These are a good way to start out in botany, or to learn a new group of plants. BSBI experts and referees teach on many of these. Try...

Professional development

For a career in ecology, the place to start is Manchester Metropolitan University, which runs the acclaimed biological recording programmes that the BSBI was influential in setting up 20 years ago. Courses include everything from day schools in identification to a Masters Degree in biological recording which is widely considered the top qualification in this field.

Contact Emma Hopkisson for details. 

Online plant identification course for beginners

This online course provides a foundation in classification, terminology, the use of keys and the features of the most important plant families. Participants have to find common plant species and answer questions about them. Their answers are checked, and advice given, by a tutor. Further information, including a course sample, can be found on the website:

Applications for the 2018 Identiplant course have now closed, as all spaces have been filled. Applications for the 2019 Identiplant course will open on 1st December 2018 and we would encourage anyone interested to be ready to get their application in quickly for this very popular course. 

Any aspiring botanist from across Britain or Ireland who feels they have the skills to become an Identiplant tutor in 2019 should email Brenda Harold at [email protected] to discuss.

Other University courses

Not many universities offer degrees in botany these days, but here are some that do:-

Try also this Lifelong Learning page on the Linnean Society website for more natural history courses.

Know your plants

Training and Education Committee have produced a simple booklet with details of how to start learning plant identification.

The PDF is available here, or if you would like hard copies to hand out to students/learners, email Sarah Whild

Training grants

Grants of up to £250 are available for aspiring botanists who want to go on short training courses.

You do not need to be a BSBI member to apply, although members are favoured if there is competition for grants. Typical applicants would include recent graduates looking to start a career in botany or take part in interest-led botanical recording.

Applications for training grants in 2018 open on 1st January. Download  this application form and send it to Sarah Whild

Plant Study Grants

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Study Grants of up to £1,000 are available to botany students.

Applications for Plant Study Grants open on 1st January 2018. Please download this application form, fill it in and return it to Sarah Whild.

Research grants

Science and Research Committee runs a small grants scheme to support research to enhance knowledge of the flora of Britain and Ireland. 

These grants are aimed at PhD students, academic researchers and amateurs working on research. The work should be capable of resulting in a scientific publication.

Applications are now being considered for grants in 2018. Here is the  SRC Grant Application Form and the deadline for submission is 31st March 2018. 

Conference Bursaries

Students can apply for bursaries towards the cost of conferences.

Applications are now being accepted for bursaries in 2018.

Please contact Dr Sarah Whild. Good luck! 

Field skills

Training & Education Committee runs Field Identification Skills Certificates, to test how good you really are at botany. For more information, turn to the FISC page. 

Grants from other organisations

British Ecological Society: these grants are made to amateur and professional scientists undertaking surveys of habitats which are threatened or of special ecological interest or which have a history of ecological work.

Bentham-Moxon Trust: providing financial support for botanical collections and research that further the work of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

 Oleg Polunin Memorial Fund. Applicants should apply in writing to the Headmaster of Charterhouse at the address below, giving a clear statement about their proposed field studies, where they will be undertaken and when. Priority will be given to applicants with Charterhouse connections but other persons with strong botanical or biological interests will also be considered. The closing date for applications is 1st February each year.

The Headmaster, Charterhouse, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 2DJ

 The Botanical Research Fund is a small trust fund which makes modest grants to individuals to support botanical investigations of all types and, more generally, to assist their advancement in the botanical field. Grants are available to amateurs, professionals and students of British and Irish nationality who are resident in the United Kingdom or Ireland. Where appropriate, grants may be awarded to applicants in successive years to a maximum of three. Most awards fall within the range of £200–£1000.

The next deadline for applications is 28th February 2018. Further details may be obtained from Mark Carine, Hon. Secretary, The Botanical Research Fund, c/o Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD. Email: [email protected].

 The Wild Flower Society has a small fund from which it is able to make grants in support of botanical projects. Applications should be made to the General Secretary at the address below. They will be considered by our Executive Committee, which meets normally in March and September.

General Secretary, The Wild Flower Society, Sheila Wynn, 17 Southfield Drive, West Bradford, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 4TU

Systematics Research Fund. The Linnean Society of London and the Systematics Association have pooled resources in order to provide a small-grants (<£1500) fund for systematics research, available to all researchers regardless of nationality or society membership.

Applications must be submitted electronically by midnight of 15th December each year for consideration for awards announced the following March. Further details and electronic forms are downloadable 

Resources for beginners

A review of some plant identification books by Philip Oswald. 

Careers Advice

Are you hoping to study to be a botanist but don't know what degree to take or how to specialise? Download the Connexions Botany Careers Leaflet here. 


For a web site aimed at school age children, visit SAPS

BSBI posters

Three posters (as pdfs) for downloading:

poster 3

poster 4

poster 6 

BSBI Library

Our library is hosted for us at Manchester Metropolitan University‘s premises in Shrewsbury.

Most of our books and journals come from donations, and we can guarantee to take responsible care of anything that we receive. Duplicates and surplus material are found a good home at Field Centres around the country. We also digitise our own publications and books that are out of copyright, copies of which are held in the library.

If you are interested in donating to the library, please contact Sarah Whild.

We are grateful to the following for contributions:

Mike Atkinson, Ian Bennallick, Chris Boon, Michael Braithwaite, Mary Briggs, Karl Crowther, Trevor Dines, Bob Ellis, Gwynn Ellis, Jean Green, Simon Leach, Audrey Locksley, Ian McNeill, Roy Maycock, Richard Middleton, Richard Pankhurst, James Partridge, Sharon Pilkington, Mike Poulton, Richard Pryce, Paul Reade, Clive Stace, Wiltshire Botanical Society, Goronwy Wynne, Brian & Barbara Ballinger, The University of Hull, William Peter Wheldon and to the estates of Alan Underhill, Alice Lambert, John Lavender, John Ounsted, Melody Ryle and Max Walters.