Edinburgh Plant Science

Alistair is the Director of Edinburgh Plant Science (EPS), an initiative that brings together over 600 plant and social scientists in the greater Edinburgh area to solve complex problems that reflect the needs of our world today.

EPS partners include: the Schools of Biological Sciences, Engineering and GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh, The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security, Centre for Social and Economic Research on Innovation in Genomics (Innogen), The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), The Forestry Commission, Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Heriot-Watt University and Napier University.

We have a range of on-going projects and student centred activities that are advertised on the EPS website.


Predictive Plant is an EPS project that aims to understand, model and predict how climate change affects plant growth, vitality and yield to underpin better stewardship of managed ecosystems towards sustainable food production globally.

To accomplish this we have assembled Edinburgh’s world-class expertise in modelling, environmental signalling, climate-ecosystem interactions, precision imaging, remote observation and high performance computing to build a truly unique capability we have called ‘The Predictive Plant.’

Figure 1. Working across scales

Predictive Plant operates at different scales (Figure 1) to deliver an in-depth, interconnected vision of how plants respond to their environment. We have detailed insights into the underpinning metabolic pathways and, more importantly, the very molecular processes that integrate different environmental influences. At the field scale, we use aerial and satellite imaging methods to monitor plant growth across landscapes in near real time.