Botanical University Challenge – supporting the next generation of botanical enthusiasts

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Logo: Botanical University Challenge

Botanical University Challenge (BUC) was brought to life in 2016 as a fun and friendly competition between teams of HE students in which all the questions are about plants! BUC aims to bring together students keen on plants, who tend to occur in small numbers scattered across the UK and Ireland. BUC includes all branches of the plant sciences, from classical botany and field ecology to modern molecular biology. It is widely recognized that there has been a decline in training of botanists and other plant scientists over many years.

Since 2016, BUC had grown and grown in popularity and influence and in 2023 a record 25 teams competed from institutions in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Two on-line rounds were held in February 2023 and the top 4 teams went forward to the live semi-final and final held at University of Nottingham in July 2023. The University of Oxford were the eventual winners and following this exciting, nail-biting event we held the very first Student Botany Festival. This festival celebrating plants and plant-aware students included plant and book stalls, botanical visits, lectures and a careers workshop and provided opportunities for students to get together to make new friends and share their enthusiasms and interests as well as networking with industry professionals.

people sitting at a table around a lectern with an image of a plant on a screen behind them
Trinity College Dublin team answering a question on Ficus during the finals of BUC 2023 at Nottingham (Botanical University Challenge)

In 2024, the second festival will be held at University of Oxford and will extend over two days. We welcome involvement of all organisations who look to recruit botanists and other plant scientists. The festival is a unique opportunity for you to interact with the next generation of plant scientists. You will not only witness the amazing knowledge base of our students, but will have the chance to tell them about your organisation, its aims and activities. No other event attracts so many early career plant scientists to a single venue in the UK.

Contact Jonathan Mitchley at



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Posted On: 26/09/2023

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