The Plant Science TREE

Find information on


View leading plant scientists talking to a student audience about their research

Summer School filmview student research lectures view film

Gatsby Charitable Foundation logo


Engaging a global student audience with plant science


The Plant Science TREE

Developed by the University of Leeds, the Plant Science TREE (Tool for Research Engaged Education) is an online teaching tool giving access to inspirational educational resources in the form of online lectures, lecture slides, movies, practicals and images from the research community, so that the excitement and potential for plant science can be disseminated to a wide student audience through educators worldwide.

The Plants science TREE was developed as part of the Gatsby Plant Science Summer School project to address the decline in student numbers in plant science at a time when there is concern that future demand for plant scientists may not be met (The Royal Society, 2009). The TREE aims to bring inspirational plant science teaching materials together in a one-stop, easy to use website, so that the excitement and potential for plant science can be disseminated to a wide audience of undergraduates through plant science educators worldwide.

With over 90 contributors, a key strength of the Plant Science TREE is that it has been developed by the plant science community and was built on the strength of the UK Gatsby Plant Science Network and communication between its academic members.  Research-active teaching academics shared and reviewed their lecture slides, selected key content and built the TREE structure for their respective subjects.

Uniquely the Plant Science TREE holds a collection of online research lectures, delivered at the annual Gatsby Plant Science Summer School, by leaders in the field of plant science who are good communicators and who have delivered the lectures at a level to engage and enthuse undergraduates. The research lectures cover a broad range of cutting-edge plant science research that address globally relevant applied initiatives as well as curiosity-driven research and provide an excellent insight into how discoveries are made and science is carried out. These online research lectures have proved extremely popular with undergraduates.

The Gatsby Plant Science Summer School

Talks from leading scientists, careers sessions and eye opening practicals inspire some of the UK’s brightest bioscience undergraduates on to a future in plant science.

Initiated and run by the University of Leeds from 2005-2013, the Gatsby Plant Science Summer School joined its sister project Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS) in 2014, which is based at the University of Cambridge. Through research talks from leading scientists, inspiring practicals, careers sessions and discussions with researchers and peers, the Summer School aims to introduce the excitement and potential of plant science to first-year undergraduates.

The impact of the Summer School in changing students’ attitudes to plant science, increasing the pipeline of plant science researchers and in inspiring future graduates that will enter disparate careers with a raised awareness of the importance of plant science to society. is reported in: Levesley A., Jopson S.J., Knight C.D. 2012. The Plant Cell April 2012 vol. 24 no. 4 1306-1315.


We would like to thank all those who have generously supported this project. The Plant Science TREE and the Summer Schools would not have been possible without the time and energy put in by so many members of the plant science community who have acted as speakers, practical leaders and tutors at the Summer Schools and have contributed teaching materials, their time, support and ideas to the TREE.

The work of the Gatsby Plant Science Summer School project (2005-14) was funded and supported by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation. We are very grateful for their support.

Translation of Educational Resources. We are currently working in partnership with the Global Plant Council and plant science volunteers to translate undergraduate research lectures that are curently available in English into other langauges, so as to widen their global reach.

Special thanks go to Michael Wilson, University of Leeds; Dr Edith Taleisnik, CONICET, Argentina; Prof. Leonor Alegre Battle, University of Barcelona, Spain; Maura Di Martino, University of Warwick; Prof. Rosario Muleo, Universita' della Tuscia; Prof. Renato D'Ovidio Universita' della Tuscia, Italy who have generously contributed their time to make this translation initiative possible.