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Professor Nicola Spence CBE to host the next Academic Lecture


Former Mount School pupil, Professor Nicola Spence CBE will host the next Academic Lecture:

‘Responding to an increasing threat: Protecting the UK’s plants and trees from pests and diseases.’ 

Friday 23 February, 6.30pm

We are delighted to welcome to The Mount Alumnae Nicola Spence CBE to host the next Academic Lecture Series event of 2023-2024. This will be held in the School Hall on Friday 23 February, with the lecture commencing at 6.30pm. Nicola’s lecture is titled ‘Responding to an increasing threat: Protecting the UK’s plants and trees from pests and diseases.’

This is a great opportunity to hear from a leading expert in plant health and biosecurity. Nicola’s lecture will be of interest to anyone with an interest in science, agriculture, or the environment.

Nicola is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Visiting Professor at Harper Adams University, Honorary Professor at the University of Birmingham, a member of Court at the University of York, a Trustee of The Yorkshire Arboretum and a Trustee for the Royal Horticultural Society. She was previously President of the British Society for Plant Pathology, and is currently, the UK’s Chief Plant Health Officer, heading the National Plant Protection Organisation, and is currently a member of The Mount School’s Governing Committee.

Born into a British Forces family, as a child, Nicola moved home every 2-3 years until she arrived at The Mount. Nicola credits her time at The Mount with the start of a lifelong love of, and association with, York. She loved science and, in particular, plants, so after A-Levels, she decided to study Botany at Durham University. She gained an MSc in Microbiology at Birkbeck College, London and began her career as a research plant pathologist, earning a PhD in plant virology from the University of Birmingham.

The role of CPHO involves advising ministers, industry and others about the risks posed by plant pests and diseases and ensuring that measures are in place to manage those risks and minimise their impact, as well as leading the operational response in the event of a disease outbreak. Although plant health is a devolved matter, the CPHO coordinates the UK response to European and International plant health matters and takes the lead on national plant health emergency response.

Nicola makes regular media appearances on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, BBC Radio York and BBC Countryfile to talk about the importance of plant health. Nicola was awarded a CBE from King Charles III in 2022 for her services to plant health.

The presentation is aimed at College and Year 10 and 11 pupils, but younger pupils are welcome to attend, as are teaching and support staff, parents and friends. This event is ideal for science enthusiasts, agricultural professionals, and anyone passionate about environmental protection.

We hope to see you there!

Please note: This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited so please RSVP to secure your place.

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