NIAB - National Institute of Agricultural Botany

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Training and Education

NIAB has a long-established and successful reputation in delivering specialist training to government and commercial customers. These include variety and pest identification, crop inspection methods, seed sampling and testing specifically aimed at agricultural advisors and agronomists in support of crop quality assurance schemes.

Course dates and fees

Our training courses cover a wide range of crops and disciplines and are classroom, laboratory and field based. All courses are backed up by technical experts and all courses can be tailored to meet individual needs. We offer courses for anyone from single delegates up to seminars and conferences for up to 150 people. We can also offer a range of courses and events that attract BASIS and NRoSO Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points to help you enhance your professional portfolio. As a centre for scientific excellence we also organise seminars and symposia.

Varieties and seeds

Courses based around the seed certification schemes delivered on behalf of FERA provide the necessary level of skills for new entrants as well as refreshers for those needing to maintain their skills and appropriate certification. NIAB is also proficient in supplying courses on variety and seed regulation schemes for developing countries and others as needed in the UK or in-country.


NIAB offers a series of national agronomy training events across a range of venues in January, February and March each year. NIAB also offers the option of bespoke courses suited to the specific needs of customers. Previous courses have typically covered aspects of arable training and planning, including spray applications.

NIAB offers courses on weed and disease identification and management, including practical sessions, aimed at graduates, new industry entrants, crop inspectors, seed producers and agronomists. Current courses include:

These are BASIS accredited and are of interest to new and existing members of the potato trade, agrochemical specialists, consultants, agronomists and processors as they provide comprehensive coverage of potato agronomy, variety identification, crop walking, pests and diseases.

Plant Breeding

The two week postgraduate level course on Quantitative Methods in Plant Breeding is a must for plant breeders, plant geneticists and post-graduate students who wish to practically apply knowledge of quantitative genetics and statistics in the context of modern plant science and plant breeding.


The BBSRC Advanced Training Partnership's (ATP) are vehicles for research-led training focused on responding to the needs of industry. Our goal is to increase the sustainability and efficiency of Pasture-Based Agriculture in the UK. Together with IBERS-Aberystwyth and Bangor Universtity, NIAB is providing an accessible training base to allow relevant businesses to meet the very real challenges of:

  • Living with the effects of climate change
  • Food security and securing the supply chain
  • Societal demands and meeting consumer expectations

Engaging with the future

NIAB is committed to promoting the next generation of agricultural advisors and crop scientists, by providing opportunities for them to engage and network with researchers and industry professionals and access up-to-date applied agronomy information and research.

ASSET (Agricultural Science Student Education Training) is an innovative training and award scheme aimed at encouraging more students into the plant science sector.  It is a joint initiative between NIAB and four leading crop science universities; Reading, Harper Adams, Newcastle and Nottingham, and is generously supported by the NIAB Trust and The Morley Agricultural Foundation charities.

A unique trials-based competition open to student teams, the Countrywide NIAB Agronomy Cup launched in 2012 promotes the training of a new generation of agricultural advisors and crop scientists, and increases our engagement with colleges and universities. 

A field-based, practical training course for people aged between 18-39 who are involved in agriculture and want to improve their agronoy know-how and push their crops to the optimum performance.

Sharing our expertise internationally

Some of the characteristics of globalisation are reflected in the capability and experience of NIAB: driven by technology and the spread of ideas, management of change and uncertainty, assisting the proliferation of global agreements and treaties and wider dissemination of information.

Specific assignments are undertaken to provide staff and support, or to participate as a partner in, aid-funded technical assistance projects or training programmes.