This group supports the activities addressed to the Nodes associated to the 22nd meeting of the GBIF Governing Board in Oct 2015

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BREAK-OUT GROUP: Towards a Curriculum for Biodiversity Informatics

Towards a Curriculum for Biodiversity Informatics



1. The Aims and Objectives of the Group

Biodiversity Informatics (BI) is a new and developing field of science. It deals with the interrelated challenges of collection, collation, integration, analysis, prediction, and dissemination of data and information related to the biotic resources of the Earth. Over the last few decades, the development of key software tools for data management, cleaning, and publishing as well as the eventual establishment of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) were major steps towards enabling the sharing of the world’s biodiversity data via the Internet.  With many critical areas of applied science linked to human well-being affected by such a new and dynamically evolving field, the need for increased capacity enhancement in this area of science is critical.

The key objective of this group is to get a clear idea of how the GBIF community is contributing to the development of curricula, to support both training of biodiversity informatics professionals as well as academic teaching.  Specifically, it is intended to get an idea of how the community can contribute to the development of curricula for informatics. We hope to have clear outcomes to be included in the GBIF Nodes work plan.

As preparatory work before the 13th Global Nodes meeting, we intend to provide a survey to the Nodes community to get an idea of the current level of activity in the GBIF network.  The aim of the survey is to get an overview of Node Managers already engaged in developing course curricula or providing training, and whether participants would be willing to share resources or enter into collaborations using the means offered by GBIF globally (e.g. the capacity enhancement support programme).

It is also intended to provide some framework/s for developing more comprehensive Biodiversity Informatics courses at the honours or masters levels, or for professional work-based training.  Nodes will be invited to review these documents and provide feedback on any gaps in the framework, and to make suggestions as to the small or large scale adjustments which may be required.  

We will also consider initiatives underway involving wider communities in an endeavour to share, such as the TDWG Interest Group on Biodiversity Informatics Curriculum and Biodiversity Informatics Training Curriculum and consider alignments with these.

2. Survey

The survey is now ready and accepting responses. Please find this survey at the link:


Please complete this survey at your earliest convenience and before the 23rd September, to allow the Nodes Coordination Team for this breakout group, some time to review and summarise the feedback. This will be further discussed at the breakout session.

With the survey, we intend to get an idea of the current level of activity in the GBIF network in connection with training and education about biodiversity informatics. We want to get an overview of the Node Managers already engaged in developing course curricula or providing training, and whether participants would be willing to share resources or enter into collaborations.

The survey has TWO PARTS. The first part contains six quick questions and we would like to invite ALL node managers to answer them. The second part includes ten questions with a higher level of detail. We would appreciate if those involved in further activities could spend a bit of extra time filling in that component too.

3. Frameworks: Curricula for Biodiversity Informatics

Below please find 2 documents for your consideration. The first is the Biodiversity Informatics Training Curriculum Version 1.1 designed by Prof. Andrew Townsend Peterson and co-director Kate Ingenloff.  The Biodiversity Informatics Training Curriculum (BITC) was designed as a series of detailed training courses which were held across sites in Africa.  Video recordings of these courses were produced and uploaded onto Youtube.  This was generously supported by the JRS Foundation.

The second curriculum has been designed as a component of a research study, which aims to produce a conceptual framework for developing the field of biodiversity informatics, through the development of curricula for further implementation.  This is being done as part of an initiative to establish a Centre for Biodiversity Information Management/Biodiversity Informatics in South Africa.  This has been designed by Parker-Allie F. with Prof. Peterson as advisor.

Your inputs and contributions to these frameworks are welcome.  Your comments on gaps or omissions are also welcome.

  1. Biodiversity Informatics Training Curriculum V1.1
  2. Biodiversity Informatics Curriculum_Conceptual Framework_South Africa

4. Preparation before the breakout session:

  • Please respond to the survey soonest (and before the 23 September), so that we can consider the outcomes of this survey in our group discussion
  • Review the framework and provide comment and feedback.  This will be further discussed in the group session.
  • Also consider gaps and adjustments which may be needed to the curricula.

Please share your ideas and comments through the GB22 nodes activity group forum, or directly to the group coordinators Fatima Parker-Allie (F.Parker@sanbi.org.za) and Yu-Huang Wang (yuhuangwang@gmail.com).

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Last updated 852 days ago by Olaf Bánki