Head of Breeding & Research, David Austin Roses

Location: Albrighton, Shropshire

Head of Breeding and Research


Why David Austin Roses?

David Austin Roses is a renowned horticultural company dedicated to breeding and cultivating exquisite English Roses. With a rich heritage spanning over half a century, we pride ourselves on producing roses of unparalleled beauty, fragrance and charm. Our commitment to excellence and passion for roses has made us a global leader in the horticultural industry.

As a family owned and run business, embracing its third generation, we are hugely fortunate to work with the talented people who make up our extended family. Our people are the cornerstone of David Austin Roses.

Our home, and the heart of the business, is located in Shropshire, hidden along a country lane where a passionate band of people are based, dedicated to bringing David Austin Senior’s vision to fruition.

This role would suit someone with experience in plant breeding and managing plant research departments.


Primary purpose:

To be responsible for the breeding and testing of new rose varieties, achieving the highest standards of rose health, beauty and fragrance across the full range of David Austin Roses (DAR), including our shrubs, climbers, ramblers and cut rose varieties. Working closely with our Senior Leadership Team, you will first seek to understand and then research and develop our breeding programmes, bringing scientific rigour, methodology and data management to the art of rose breeding.



As Head of Breeding and Research you will be responsible for the following:


Hybridizing (Shrub and Cuts)

  • The objective is to improve the quantity of DAR shrubs climbers, ramblers and cut flowers to increase the collection of varieties.
  • Working with the existing, experienced Breeding Team to learn how our current breeding strategy works, documenting as you go, and then contributing to improve the results.
  • Developing suggestions for good varieties that can enhance the existing breeding strategy.
  • Developing your own thinking about what breeding programmes we should add, with a view to presenting to the Senior Leadership Team.

Selection (Shrub and Cuts)

  • The process covers bench selection (a process that starts every year with selection from 60,000 seedlings) then through the three stages of field trials, to the final commercial selection 10 years later.
  • Look at ways to streamline the selection process wherever possible.

Post introduction trials (US and UK)

  • Manage several trials ranging from the impact of different pruning regimes to the true effectiveness of existing commercially available sprays, on the performance of roses. All have the aim of understanding our roses better and to help the consumer to grow more successfully.
  • Provide reliable information that can be utilised by different stakeholders on individual varieties and information on how to grow roses more successfully.
  • Communicate the results to a range of stake holders in a clear and timely manner.


  • You will be responsible for researching the potential benefits of improving breeding utilising genetic techniques and its implementation, if deemed necessary. We have carried out very little research into this area and are looking to understand if there is something to gained from this.

Range improvement

  • We carry several roses that are not bred by DAR that we deem are worthy garden roses. You will be responsible for the assessment and improvement of this range.
  • You will oversee the process of adding potential new varieties bred by other companies through the appropriate trialling process before introduction.
  • Some evaluation of existing DAR varieties continues.

Management – The overall management of the team.


What you bring to the team

  • Experience in leading breeding activities ideally within a floral, botanical or crop/ agriculture background.
  • Passion and enthusiasm, commitment and a strong interest in roses, plants or plant science
  • Educated to at least Honours Degree level in a relevant subject such as plant science/ research or genetics, also, ideally a relevant post-graduate qualification.
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • A commercial awareness, and interested in the garden rose business
  • The ability and stamina to undertake research and long-term projects
  • The skill to manage a busy breeding team
  • Strong teamworking skills
  • An analytical and investigative mind
  • Proactive, dynamic and curious
  • Tenacious, with the courage to challenge
  • Creative, innovative, and resourceful
  • A flexible approach
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Computer literacy and technical skills
  • A driving licence may also be required.


This is a unique opportunity to work with a successful family business that operates at the top of their field with a world-renowned reputation, a huge customer fan base across the world with the resources to invest in building an even greater company. The role is endlessly fascinating and varied and requires a long-term commitment.

Vacancy details

Industry: Plant Sciences, Horticulture

Employment Type: Permanent, full-time

Location: Albrighton, Shropshire