BASIS has launched a new award for high achieving FACTS examination candidates, in honour of Prof. Brian Chambers – a pioneering soil scientist, who passed away in 2014 aged 53.

BASIS chief executive Stephen Jacob explained that the first winner will be selected next month after top-performing individuals were nominated by their examiners.

“The selected candidates’ examination results, combined with feedback from their trainers, will be assessed to form a shortlist of individuals in with a chance of winning the award," he said.

“Following the shortlisting, each candidate will be interviewed over the phone before final selection.

The winner will receive a trophy and cash prize at an award ceremony, where the outstanding achievements of all the nominees will be recognised with a certificate of excellence.

To ensure that FACTS qualifications continue to meet the needs of the changing industry, the award winner will be invited to sit on the FACTS advisory committee, to provide a newly-qualified perspective alongside those more experienced in the field.

The award

FACTS nutrition consultant Dr. Ian Richards, explained the award has been in development for a number of years, following the success of the BASIS ‘Barrie Orme Shield’ for the top performing candidate in the Certificate in Crop Protection.

“The committee decided that it would be fitting to name the award after of Prof. Chambers, to commemorate his membership and advocacy of the FACTS scheme," he said.

Prof. Chambers was an extremely talented scientist with the unique ability to share his knowledge with others in a way that was easy to understand and apply practically.

"He truly believed that educating advisers and farmers in best practice would help to advance the industry, promoting the important part FACTS plays in this,” he says.


The FACTS qualification is tailored to individuals providing advice and guidance on plant nutrient management.

The training course aims to provide candidates with an understanding of fertilisers and plant nutrition, enabling them to give economically and environmentally sound advice to farmers and growers.

Modules include:

  • Soil management in relation to plant nutrition;
  • Organic nutrient sources;
  • Nature and properties of fertilisers;
  • Crop nutrients in plants and the factors influencing the amount of fertiliser required;
  • Use of fertilisers on the main crop groups in the UK;
  • The transport, storage and handling of fertilisers;
  • Application of fertilisers;
  • Code of good agricultural practice, legal and other requirements to protect the environment.

Students are examined through a 60-question multiple choice paper, an ‘open book’ completion of a scenario question incorporating a nutrient planning exercise, and an oral examination involving the FACTS chairman and two others from the fertiliser industry.