Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: Full time – Fixed Term (FTA 21 months

£34,933 per annum (pro rata): Kew Gardens, Richmond

Enset is a giant perennial herb that provides the staple food for 20 million people, but outside of Ethiopia, this remarkable banana relative is virtually unknown. Like many tropical clonal crops, which tend to preserve poorly in the archaeological record, enset’s domestication history is poorly understood. Yet today we observe over a thousand unique landraces, many with traits specialised for disease tolerance, taste, co-products and other useful attributes.

The successful applicant will make a major contribution to understanding how farmers selected and cultivated this diversity, and over what time period, helping to unravel the mystery of enset domestication. This has significant applications in supporting the adaptation of enset and other clonal crops to climate change. The successful applicant will also form part of a vibrant, dynamic and cross disciplinary scientific environment, with access to Kew’s state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and opportunities to develop professional skills for the next stage of their career. This role coincides with a major new collaboration between Kew and the UCL Institute of Archaeology as we apply novel approaches combining genomics and archeobotany. 

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG Kew) is a leading plant science institute, UNESCO World Heritage Site, and major visitor attraction. Our mission is to understand and protect plants and fungi for the well-being of people and the future of all life on Earth.

We are working to end the unprecedented extinction crisis and to help create a world where nature is protected, valued by all and managed sustainably. We will achieve these goals by drawing on our leading scientific research, unrivalled collections of plants and fungi, global network of partners, inspirational gardens at Kew and Wakehurst, and our 260 years of history.

Join us on our journey as protectors of the world’s plants and fungi. 

The ideal candidate will have a PhD in genomics or a related discipline, together with a strong interest in crop evolution and domestication and a track record of research publications commensurate with their career stage. They will be excited at the opportunity to integrate archeobotanical evidence (e.g. phytoliths, macro remains) from sites across the Ethiopian highlands, together with environmental and cultural diversity data to help parameterise genomic models. They will also be confident with developing novel methodologies, bioinformatic analysis, data management and communicating their research through publications and conferences. We particularly welcome applicants that wish to contribute their own ideas and help to shape our research direction.

For informal enquiries please contact Dr James Borrell ( or Dr Phillipa Ryan (

This role is based at Kew with the option of regular home working, subject to operational requirements.

Our fantastic benefits package includes opportunities for continuous learning, a generous annual leave entitlement, flexible working to help you maintain a healthy work-life balance, an Employee Assistance Programme and other wellbeing support such as cycle to work scheme and discounted gym membership. We also offer a competitive pension, an employee discount scheme and free entry into a wide range of national museums and galleries, as well as access to our own beautiful gardens at Kew and Wakehurst.

We are committed to equality of opportunity and welcome applications from all sections of the community. We guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the post.

Apply now

Closes: 19th June 2022

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