James Wearn

Strategic Operations Manager (Science)


Job title: 
Strategic Operations Manager (Science)
Office of the Science Directorate
Foreign languages: 
French (basic), Spanish (basic)


I fulfil a diverse role within the Senior Science Team structure, which includes: leading Science content for VIP events (for donors, government representatives or Royal visits); providing business performance monitoring for Science and aiding strategic alignment of Science to Kew’s mission; liaising with Defra regarding Kew Science representation on Defra working groups; managing the Science Administration team; and managing discrete business-critical projects for the Science Directorate.

I serve as Secretary to Kew’s scientific committees to Trustee-level and sit on various project boards.

I also lead research and engagement in polemobotany (plants affected by, or utilized during military activity), exploring influences on science, horticulture, medicine, landscapes and culture.


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • Fellow of the Linnean Society of London (2010)
  • PhD, Microbial Ecology, University of London (2006)
  • BSc (Hons) University of London (2002)


Selected publications: 

Wearn, J.A. & Hudson, J. (2018) Hyphaene thebaica (Doum palm) in First World War medicine. PALMS 62(3): 138-144.

Wearn, J.A., Budden, A.P., Veniard, S.C. & Richardson, D. (2017) The flora of the Somme battlefield: a botanical perspective on a post-conflict landscape. First World War Studies 8(1): 63–77. Available online

Wearn, J. (2017) Plants, war and the natural capital of Empire. The Linnean 33(1): 20–24. Available online

Willis, K. & Wearn, J. (2017, eds.) Kew Science publications for the academic year 2016-17. Richmond: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 76 pp. Available online

Wearn, J. (2016). Seeds of change – polemobotany in the study of war and culture. Journal of War & Culture Studies 9(3): 1-14. Available online