Elected: 2021
Discipline: Professional, Educational and Public Sector Leadership
Professor Simon Milne
Regius Keeper, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Simon Milne was appointed Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) in February 2014. He was educated at the University of St Andrews and the Royal Naval College Greenwich. He was commissioned into Royal Marines in 1976 and served with Commando Forces for the majority of his service, interspersed with appointments in the Ministry of Defence and the United Nations. He was invalided in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2000. From 2000 to 2004 he was Director of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Arboretum – a charitable trust and home to the world’s largest collection of hardy trees and shrubs with remit in horticulture, conservation, education and recreation.
From 2004 to 2014 he was Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust. During this time He led the Trust in its trial reintroduction of the European Beaver, established Scotland’s Living Landscape programme, championed the Ecosystem Scale Approach to Conservation, ran the inaugural World Forum on Natural, and expanded the Trust’s education, membership and engagement programmes.
He is the 16th Regius Keeper of RBGE. RBGE is a charitable trust and Non-Departmental Public Body, delivering world-leading plant science, conservation and education and engagement programmes, with the mission to ‘Explore, Conserve and Explain the World of Plants for a Better Future’. Its work is underpinned by the Garden’s internationally important collections of living and preserved plants, a large specialist Library, and an archive. The four gardens that house the living collection are a major tourist attraction with 1million visits per year.
He is an Honorary Professor of the University of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and was appointed MBE in 1996. His personal interests include horticulture, skiing, walking and ornithology.