After taking a BSc and PhD at the University of Hull, David Ingram was appointed research fellow in the botany department at Glasgow University in 1966, before moving to Cambridge in 1969 where he became first a lecturer in 1974 then, in 1988, reader in plant pathology; he was also Fellow, Tutor and Director of Studies in Biology at Downing College. In 1990 he was appointed Regius Keeper at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, a post he held until 1998. During his time as Keeper David Ingram initiated and oversaw a wealth of dynamic changes in the Garden. His period of office saw the founding of a new commercial arm – the Botanics Trading Company (BTC), and the setting up of the Friends of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. He reemphasised the pre-eminence of plant science, establishing new Molecular and Ultrastructure research laboratories and established a Scientific Advisory Group to provide international research links. His enthusiasm for education led to the creation of new courses in both Horticulture (HND Plantsmanship) and Science (MSc Biodiversity & Taxonomy of Plants) the latter a joint course with the University of Edinburgh, and fuelled expansion in the public face of the four gardens. David Ingram was also passionate about teaching young people the importance of plant science in a dynamic new way, and helped to set up the Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS) initiative which enables active experimentation in the classroom. Since his retirement from the Garden in 1998 he has been advisor to the University of Edinburgh on public engagement with science, has served on many related trusts, boards and panels, and has contributed to a range of publications on plant pathology, plant tissue and botany and his wider interests in culture and the history of art.
Sources: Who’s Who 2015; Deni Bown, ‘4 Gardens in One’; foyer panel.