Building digital and informatics innovation capacity of regional herbaria in NWE

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478,776.24 €
EU Funding
797,960.40 €
Total Budget
Ireland, Belgium & Germany

Project summary

To effectively tackle biodiversity issues, it is crucial to establish a robust foundation of biological data for comparison. Digitised herbarium collections are now being used to address important research questions on biodiversity issues across diverse disciplines, benefiting both science and societal needs. However, the knowledge on specimens is highly skewed towards large herbaria, which have resources to fully catalogue and digitise their collections. Thus, a common challenge is to mobilise biological data from smaller herbaria in the NWE region, which are often limited in resources and capacity. The project overall objective is to build innovation capacity in herbaria in NWE in the areas of digitisation and biodiversity informatics. The expected change is to improve digital access to collections at small herbaria in the NWE Programme area, leading to enhanced research and innovation capacities in small herbaria. The main output of the project is to establish a unified digital portal and data management system to facilitate access to collections in small herbaria, operating within a consortium framework. The portal will benefit many stakeholders, adding to national/regional Biodiversity Action Plans and EU Biodiversity Strategy Pillar 3. The approach proposed is a pilot joint digitisation project between three small herbaria in NWE: Dublin, Karlsruhe and Ghent. The project will utilise a high-throughput conveyor-belt digitisation technology to digitise specimens, and create a unified digital portal for the digital contents. The transnational approach is essential as it develops a comprehensive understanding of biodiversity knowledge, which is best considered at a regional rather than a national level. Small herbaria often hold unique collections of great scientific and historical significance that cannot be found anywhere else. This project is the first in EU to unify transnational herbarium collections under a single digital portal and data management system.

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