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Sainsbury Laboratory


Gatsby Plant Science Education Programme (GPSEP)

The Gatsby Plant Science Education Programme (GPSEP) aims to make a demonstrable difference to the teaching and learning of plant science at all ages in the UK.

Working closely with schools, colleges and universities, the Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS) programme advocates for presence of relevant and inspiring contemporary plant science in the school curriculum and qualifications, and develops plant science teaching resources to support this.

The Higher Education side of the programme seeks to nurture bright students in post-16 education with an interest in bioscience to become the next generation of leading plant science researchers through the Gatsby Plant Science Summer Schools and online engagement via the Plant Science Futures website.

GPSEP is funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation alongside several other plant science programmes including the Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University (SLCU); the Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich and a number of funded PhD projects and summer studentships for plant science undergraduates.


Meet the team


Dan Jenkins - Head of Programme

01223 334410 

Dan is Head of GPSEP, maintaining strategic oversight of both sides of the programme. With a degree in Botany, Dan’s career path has included working at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge; the Institute of Education, University College London and the former Science Learning Centre, London.

  • Bsc (Hons) Botany, Aberystwyth University
  • PGDip Science Communication, Birkbeck University of London
  • MA Science Education, University College London


Alex Jenkin - Project Manager (Schools)

01223 748454

Alex manages the schools part of the programme, aiming to inspire teachers, school science technicians and the students they work with about plant science. She works closely with teachers and teacher trainers, identifying areas in the school curriculum that can be supported with plant science themed resources which are then distributed free of charge via the SAPS website. Alex is reviewing these resources to ensure that they continue to be relevant and engaging and is working to build a network of Ambassadors who will help disseminate them around the UK.

Before joining the team in May 2017, Alex worked as a Learning and Outreach Officer at Centre of the Cell where she developed and presented shows about cell biology and medical research to schools and families. Before this, she was Education Officer at Understanding Animal Research.

  • BA (Hons) Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • MSc Science Communication, Imperial College London


Jamie Biggs - Project Coordinator (Schools)

01223 748455

Jamie joined us in July 2018. He coordinates and delivers events for teachers and teacher trainers as well as overseeing our virtual presence through coordination of our database, social media and our SAPS website . Having trained and taught as a Primary School Teacher, he is aware of the need to inspire budding botanists from an early age with the use of plant science resources.

Jamie has previously worked in Medical Education at King’s College London and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust coordinating training events for medics.

  • BEd (Hons) Primary Education, University of Bedfordshire
  • MA Education Management, King’s College London


Dr Christopher Graham - Project Manager (Schools) [secondment] 

Chris is seconded part-time to the SAPS project to develop plant based learning and teaching resources. As Head of Biology at Hills Road Sixth Form, Cambridge, Chris brings many years experience in teaching, teacher training and resource development to the project. Chris is committed to supporting our development of 'plant proud' teachers, and his SAPS projects include resources to aid confidence in the subject. 

  • BA (hons) Biological Sciences, University of Oxford 
  • PGCE Secondary Science, University of Cambridge 
  • PhD Evolutionary insect neuroanatomy, University of Cambridge 



Claire Pennycuick - Project Manager (Higher Education)

01223 761289 

Claire joined the team in 2014 as a Project Coordinator to run the programme’s engagement of contemporary plant science research and opportunities with students in post-16 education. In 2021 she became the Project Manager (Higher Education). Claire works with academic advisors and consultants to develop, implement and evaluate the impact of the annual GPSEP undergraduate events - the Gatsby Plant Science Summer School and Rootstock, and subsequent alumni, and also aims to build upon engagement of 16+ year old students to undergraduates through development of the Plant Science Futures website. 

Claire was previously Director of a successful marketing and promotions company, before joining the world of science communication.

  • BSc (Hons) Recreation Management, Sheffield Hallam University 


Sarah Barnert - Project & Communications Coordinator (Higher Education) 

01223 764013

Sarah joined our team as the newest member in April 2023. She has experience in design, communication, marketing and search engine optimisation. As part of the HE team, she coordinates higher education events and communicates with students, lecturers, tutors and alumni.

  • BA Communication Design
    University of Applied Sciences, Munich, Germany
  • MA Online Marketing
    Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, Cologne, Germany