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RBGE Regius Keeper Bound For Pastures New

22 August 2013

Professor Stephen Blackmore CBE, FRSE, Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), will step down in December 2013, after 14 years at the helm. He will remain in the role of Queen’s Botanist in Scotland and intends to keep close links with the wider research and conservation work of the organisation, while pursuing other national and international interests.

Recently-appointed Chairman of the UK Government’s Darwin Initiative and Chairman elect of Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Professor Blackmore will continue to contribute to on-going research projects in China and retain his role on the Seychelles Islands Foundation’s (SIF) Board of Trustees for the Aldabra atoll. He will also maintain his close working relationship with several other research stations and botanic gardens, as well as enjoying the time for more writing and travelling.

Professor Blackmore explained: “My time at the Botanics has been deeply rewarding and much has been achieved, enabling us to strengthen our position as one of the world’s leading scientific botanic gardens. However, I believe that there are natural cycles in the appointments of institutional leaders and that now is the right time for the Board of Trustees to begin the search for my successor. 

 “It is only through the dedication and commitment of  RBGE’s staff, associates and volunteers that we have been able to achieve so much in recent years. I want to thank everyone for their part in our success and to encourage them to give their strongest support to whoever is fortunate to be appointed as my successor. 
“I will, of course, continue to serve as Her Majesty’s Botanist in Scotland and to help and support RBGE in any way that I can.  Personally, I am looking forward to the new opportunities opening up for me”. 

To Edinburgh visitors and supporters, his time at RBGE will be remembered – among others - for such achievements as the period when the Garden opened the purpose-built John Hope Gateway visitor centre and put in place ambitious plans for major advancement in public, horticultural and education improvements focussed on the public and research Glasshouses and their surroundings. However, major enhancements have also been realised at RBGE’s three Regional Gardens: Benmore, near Dunoon, on the Cowal Peninsula; Logan, near Stranrear, on the Rhins of Galloway and Dawyck, near Peebles, in the Scottish Borders. Among peers in Edinburgh and around the globe, he is already recognised as the Regius Keeper who firmly put RBGE at the vanguard of international research and conservation. Maintaining a significant personal research programme and producing numerous scientific papers, Professor Blackmore has also written two popular books: Gardening the Earth and Green Universe.

Sir Muir Russell, Chairman of RBGE Trustees, said: "Steve Blackmore has led RBGE with vision, inspiration and commitment  to consolidate and enhance its position as one of the top few scientific botanic gardens in the world with unique, distinctive, achievements in many areas of our science. Scotland can be proud of RBGE and of Steve, who is recognised internationally for what he has achieved. 

“I and my fellow Trustees greatly value the way in which he has championed research and conservation with worldwide partnerships, while building the Garden's attractiveness to visitors through the excellence of each of its four locations."



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