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York scientist is appointed Kew trustee

Posted on 11 March 2016

A University of York scientist has been appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

Professor Sue HartleyProfessor Sue Hartley

Professor Sue Hartley, who is the Director of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI) and a member of the University’s Department of Biology, was appointed to the Board for the next three years by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Minister Lord Gardiner.

Professor Hartley, who is also the University’s Research Champion for Environmental Sustainability and Resilience, studied biochemistry at the University of Oxford before moving to the University of York where she did a PhD on plant defences against insect herbivores.

Later, at the University of Sussex, her research included projects on the factors maintaining the extraordinary biodiversity of tropical forests and the impact of climate change on plant resistance to herbivores. In 2009 she delivered the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, becoming only the fourth woman to do since they began in 1825.

In 2010, Professor Hartley returned to York to become Director of YESI, a new interdisciplinary research centre bringing together leading environmental researchers from a broad range of disciplines to tackle the key challenges facing humankind. In 2015, she was elected President of the British Ecological Society.

She said: “"I am thrilled and honoured to be appointed a trustee at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and I’m very excited to join the Kew team. Kew is an iconic institution globally recognized for world-leading botanical collections and scientific research and I'm really looking forward to contributing to its future development.”

Further information:

  • RBG Kew is an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body created under the National Heritage Act 1983, sponsored by Defra and which operates under a Board of Trustees.
  • The Board of Trustees for RBG Kew comprises a Chairman and 11 members. Ten members and the Chairman are appointed by the Secretary of State. Her Majesty the Queen appoints her own Trustee on the recommendation of the Secretary of State.
  • For more information about YESI, please visit:
  • For more information about the University of York’s Research Champions, please visit
  • For more about the Department of Biology at York, please visit:

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