We don’t talk about her enough, but we are extremely proud of our founder Professor Anne Osbourn.

She founded the Science, Art and Writing Trust in 2005, but this hasn’t stopped her achieving some dizzy heights in her career as a scientist.

Anne’s dedication to her work has led to a greater understanding of the biosynthesis of natural products, and in turn, providing solutions for both human and plant health.

Most recently, Anne was awarded the 2023 Novozymes Prize (trust us – it’s a BIG deal in the science world) for her pioneering work, so we thought it was about time to catch up with her.


Hi Anne! Can you tell us a little bit about your research and how it has developed since you founded SAW?

My research focuses on plant natural products, the chemicals that we associated with the colours, scents and flavours of plants.  These compounds are a rich source of medicines.  Since founding SAW, my research has increasingly drawn on using the instruction manual harboured within plant genomes (the genes that encode natural product pathways) to engineer molecules for agricultural and medicinal applications.

Mock Orange, By Anne Osbourn
Mock Orange. A collection of poems by Anne Osbourn

Can we ask what you like most about your job as a scientist?

I like being creative, and discovering new things.  For me, poetry and art are also about exploration and discovery.

You have many wonderful and prestigious awards to your name. Most recently, you were awarded the 2023 Novozymes Prize for your work – Congratulations!

Is there an award or achievement that you are particularly proud of?

The Novozymes Prize is a great honour and it provides me with funding to do blue-sky research.  The other achievement that I am very proud of is being a winner in the Sentinel Poetry Book Prize Competition, which led to my first book of poetry (‘Mock Orange’) being published.

Lastly, what do you enjoy doing when you aren’t hard at work?

Swimming, walking, going to the gym; gardening; writing poetry.


You can follow Anne on Twitter @AnneOsbourn1