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: "Applications are now open for BSBI Training Grants, Plant Study Grants and Science & Research Grants. These grants get snapped up very quickly so scroll down to find out more and apply as soon as you can!"

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 new upgraded website: If you want to develop your ID skills this may be the course for you.

Applications for the 2019 Identiplant course have now closed as the course is full. Applications for 2020 will open on 1st December 2019 and we would encourage anyone interested to be ready to get their application in quickly for this very popular course. 

New tutors are needed: see The Tutor's Role. To register your interest and get further information please email

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 UK natural history courses and this list of Plant Biology BSc and MSc courses (European and American, inc Britain & Ireland).

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 2019 are now open so please use this  BSBI Training Grant application form 2019 to apply.

Plant Study Grants

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

Applications for Plant Study Grants in 2019 are now open. Please download and read this  BSBI Plant Study Grant guidance for applicants 2019 and then submit your application to Dr 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 for 2019 are now open. Please use the  BSBI SRC grant application form 2019 to apply. The deadline for submitting your application is 28th February 2019.

Conference Bursaries

Students can apply for bursaries towards the cost of attending conferences. Please apply direct to Dr Sarah Whild.

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 31st January 2019. 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:

The Wild Flower Society offers four different grants: there are grants to Wildlife Trusts and similar organisations for running botanical training courses for their volunteers; grants to support the publication costs of botanical books, for example, county Floras; grants up to a maximum amount of £1000 for students aged 18-30 to attend Field Studies Council courses; and grants, typically up to £250, to support botanical research projects that contribute to plant conservation or that further botanical education or the promotion of field botany. Find out more about these grants and how to apply for them here.

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.