Horticulture workers are missing out on one of the largest travel awards available from the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust, according to a former recipient of the bursary.
The horticultural sector, and the ornamentals sector in particular, have not been putting applicants forward to take advantage of what is probably the best-funded schemes available to horticulturalists, according to Cleeve Nursery co-owner Alan Down.
He added: "I believe that there is a lack of awareness in our sector."
The Nuffield Trust grants £6,500 to award winners. Nuffield director John Stones said: "This is a massive opportunity. Everyone has a chance. We are farming in its very broadest sense, from plant nurseries and garden centres to field-scale crops.
"But horticulture is under-represented because we have failed to communicate the message effectively.
"We don't have a critical mass of people from that sector so people don't know somebody who has been through the process."
Stones added that there was lots of support for scholars, including regional meetings, briefings, a Nuffield horticulture group, and an international conference.
Previous scholars to benefit from the bursary include Angus Davison of Haygrove, Jonathon Jones of Tregothanon, Martin Thatcher of Thatcher's Cider, Jeremy Hoskins of Fentongollan, Matthew Naylor of Naylors Bulbs, Heather Gorringe of Wiggly Wigglers, HTA consultant David Gilchrist and Bransford Nurseries founder John Edmonds and East Malling Research plant breeder Felicidad Fernandez as well as Down.
"My eight-week study in 1981 was to the USA and Canada," said Down. "I looked at container production and marketing of hardy nursery stock. It gave me a great opportunity to bring back ideas to share with my employer, Hillier Nurseries, and the container industry."
Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust Travel bursaries
Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust bursaries allow individuals aged 22-45 to explore topics of their own choice. Travel can be to any countries of the world to further their knowledge and understanding of a particular production aspect, marketing technique or management or administration process that is of interest to the scholar.
Nuffield is seeking candidates who are passionate about their subject area, self-motivated and will innovate and have influence in their field.
Around 20 scholarships are awarded annually. Each scholar is awarded a bursary towards travel and subsistence expenses. Awards also fund international briefing and training.
A scholarship must be completed within 18 months, during which time the scholar will travel and study for at least eight weeks in total.
Scholars are expected to share knowledge and to communicate their findings widely to others.
Applications should be made this year before 15 November. See www.nuffieldscholar.org.