The Plant Science TREE

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

Summer School filmview student research lectures view film

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Articles and Awards

Journal publications

NEW: Engaging students with plant science: the Plant Science TREE
Aurora Levesley, Steve Paxton, Richard Collins, Alison Baker and Celia Knight
New Phytologist, June 2014,

This publication examines the development, uptake and imapct of the Plant Science TREE. We show that by engaging the plant science academic and research community in its construction we have created a valuable resource that has been adopted by many educators. Through the TREE, which highlights plant science research and blends research ideas with instructional curriculum, educators are supported in delivering effective research-led teaching. The online research lectures, when embedded into a course as part of a blended learning approach to teaching, are an effective learning tool and have the potential of changing student attitudes to plant science, engaging students in research and are able to reach a large and wide student audience. The online research lectures engage a majority of students to plant science, and so may help increase understanding of this vulnerable yet strategically important subject linked to food security and other globally important issues.

The Gatsby Plant Science Summer School: Inspiring the Next Generation of Plant Science Researchers
Levesley A., Jopson S.J., Knight C.D. The Plant Cell April 2012 vol. 24 no. 4 1306-1315.

Abstract: We provide evidence from a 5-year study to show that a single concerted effort at the start of undergraduate study can have a clear and lasting effect on the attitudes of students toward plant science. Attendance at a week-long residential plant science summer school in the first year of an undergraduate degree resulted in many students changing courses to include more plant science and increased numbers of graduates selecting plant-based PhDs. The evidence shows that the Gatsby Plant Science Summer School has increased the pool of high-quality plant science related PhD applicants in the UK and has had a positive impact on students’ career aspirations. The results are discussed within the context of enhancing the pipeline of future plant scientists and reversing the decline of this vulnerable and strategically important subject relevant to addressing food security and other major global challenges. We have shown that a single well-designed and timely intervention can influence future student behavior and as such offers a framework of potential use to other vulnerable disciplines.


The Plant science Tree has been highly commended in the 2014 MEDEA awards. The awards encourage innovation and good practice in the use of media in education.


Inspirationfrom a TREE. The Global Plant Council blog Sept 2014

The TREE of plant science education. The GARNet community blog July 2012.

Online Resource Engages Students with Plant Science. GARNet , July 2014.

The Gatsby Plant Science Summer School: inspiring the next generation of plant science researchers
Celia Knight, Aurora Levesley, Juliet Jopson, Richard Collins & Alison Baker, University of Leeds, UK
UK Plant Sciences 2012
View video talk by Dr Celia Knight presented at the UK Plant Sciences 2012 meeting

Inspiring the Next Generation
Aurora Levesley, Alison Baker and Celia Knight. GARNish June 2012 Edition 17

Learning Curve - the Plant Science TREE.
Levesley A. 2013. The Biochemist, Biochemical Society.

Lectures and slides through the Gatsby Plants TREE
Aurora Levesley, Richard Collins, Celia Knight, GARNish December 2011 Edition 16