Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

For latest Covid-19 information click on the link below.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update.

Prof Fiona Burnett

Group Manager for Crop & Soil Systems
Professor of Applied Plant Pathology
Crop Protection
Crop and Soil Systems

Research interests 

  • Sector lead for Agriculture. Scotland’s Plant Health Centre of Expertise
  • Analysis of crop protection decision-making problems
  • Integrated Pest Management and pesticide stewardship
  • Uptake of best practice amongst stakeholders
  • Fungicide resistance and fungicide efficacy
  • Crop health monitoring and surveillance
  • Developing risk assessments to aid treatment decisions. Fungicide efficacy  crop trial service
  • Diagnostic services through our SRUC crop clinic
  • Translational science and industry engagement: Chair Fungicide Resistance Action Group–UK and Association for Crop Protection in Northern Britain; Member of UK Plant Health Forum (Defra), Scottish Government Agricultural Technologies Group, British Crop Protection Council’s Diseases Working Group;  Director of Scottish Quality Farm Assured Cereals Ltd, Director of the Genomia Fund; Chair of the Technical Advisory Committee for Scottish Quality Crops Ltd

Selected research projects

  • Integrated Pest Management RESAS RD2.1.6 Investigating impact of modifiers of disease pressure and the efficacy of management interventions, including novel control methods and decision support
  • Uptake of best practice RESAS RD2.3.12 Analysis of uptake of and attitudes to integrated disease control methods amongst growers and research into their practices,  perceptions and attitudes to risk
  • Fungicide Performance against foliar diseases of wheat, barley and oilseed rape and KT activities related to that data (AHDB) Field trial programme targeting key pathogens of these crops to determine the most effective available fungicide options and to interpret and present this information through a linked programme of knowledge exchange
  • Developing sustainable methods for clubroot control in oilseed rape (AHDB) Analysis of the distribution of clubroot pathotypes and the occurrence of pathotypes which can overcome available varietal resistance, combined with field mapping to determine infield variability and the potential of targeted solutions
  • Managing Resistance evolving concurrently against two or more modes of action to extend the effective life of new fungicides (AHDB) Investigation of the strategic use of fungicides to determine, for any given two or more MOAs with known efficacy, how best they should be deployed in fungicide treatment programmes to combine robust, cost-effective control and slow down the evolution of resistance for Septoria in winter wheat


My teaching is predominantly in the applied aspects of crop protection and I contribute to CPD courses, for example the BASIS training modules for those seeking qualifications to advise on pesticides. I also teach on the MSc Sustainable Crop Protection course, covering diagnostic work in the work clinic, the strategic use of pesticides, fungicide resistance and fungicide stewardship.

PhD students

  • Niamh Kelly Niamh is working on strategies to manage fungicide resistance risk in the barley pathogen Rhynchosporium commune
  • Samthana Cargill Samantha is studying the interplay of circadian rhythms and pathogen defence in Arabidopsis, with particular reference to the efficacy of fungicides and crop protection products in the management of botrytis
  • Stacia Stetkeiwitz Stacia’s PhD is focused on identifying integrated pest management methods which are both practical and effective for the Scottish spring barley sector through an analysis of long term field trials data and survey information to determine which IPM techniques are feasible for use on commercial farms

Selected publications

  • Hughes G, Burnett FJ, 2015. Integrating experience, evidence and expertise in the crop protection decision process. Plant Disease, Vol 99 No 9, 1197-1203
  • McGrann G, Gladders P, Smith JA, Burnett FJ, 2016. Control of clubroot (Plasmodiophora brassicae) in oilseed rape using varietal resistance and soil amendments. Field Crops Research, Vol. 186, 146-156
  • Piotrowska MJ, Ennos RA, Fountaine JM, Burnett FJ, Kaczmarek M, Hoebe PN, 2016. Development and use of microsatellite markers to study diversity, reproduction and population genetic structure of the cereal pathogen Ramularia collo-cygni. Fungal Genetic and Biology, Vol. 86, 64-71
  • Hughes G, Burnett FJ, 2017. Evaluation of Probabilistic Disease Forecasts. Phytopathology. 2017 Jul 14:PHYTO01170023FI. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-01-17-0023-FI
  • Stetkiewicz S, Bruce A, Burnett FJ, Ennos RA, Topp CFE (2018) Perception vs practice: Farmer attitudes towards and uptake of IPM in Scottish spring barley, Crop Protection, 112, Pages 96-102

See all of Professor Fiona Burnett's publications

Prof Fiona Burnett

Group Manager - Crop & Soils Systems

Address: Crop & Soils Systems, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG.

Telephone: 0131 535 4133

Fax: 0131 535 4144