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Call for Nominations: Biological Collections: Their Past, Present, and Future Contributions and Options for Sustaining Them

Tue, 2018-09-11 16:13 -- djennings
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Call for Nominations:


Biological Collections: 

Their Past, Present, and Future Contributions and Options for Sustaining Them

Nominate an Expert
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Board on Life Sciences (BLS) is seeking nominations of experts to serve on a new study committee that will review the role of biological collections in research and education.

For this task, the expert committee will focus on living stocks (organisms) and preserved repositories of biodiversity specimens and materials that are financially supported in full or in part by the National Science Foundation. The committee will describe the major advances in the use of collections over the last decade; envision future innovative ways in which biological collections can be utilized; describe the greatest challenges to maintaining biological collections; and suggest a range of long-term strategies that could be used for their sustained support, individually or in groups, of research and education. 

BLS is seeking nominees for experts that reflect the diversity of life sciences research activities conducted using biological collections including, but not limited to:
  • Biodiversity
  • Marine Science
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science
  • Evolutionary Biology 

Ideal candidates also will have expertise in one or more of the following:

  • Collection curation and management
  • Data management and storage
  • Imaging technologies
  • Formal and informal education
  • Financial administration
  • Broad knowledge of biological collections and their use in research and education 

Self-nominations are accepted. Nominations are requested no later than Friday, September 21, 2018.

For more information or to subscribe for updates about the study, click the button below.

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Call for Nominations! Nominate an expert for a new study from @theNASEM: "Biological Collections: Their Past, Present, and Future Contributions and Options for Sustaining Them." Entries due 9/21: #BioCollections
Copyright © 2018 National Academy of Sciences, All rights reserved.


2018 GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge Now Open

Wed, 2018-05-09 09:09 -- sellis


Are you an open data champion? The 2018 Ebbe Nielsen Challenge will award up to €34,000 in prizes to the most innovative entries that rely on open biodiversity data or open-source tools from the GBIF network to advance open science.

Between 9 May and 5 September, individuals and teams can prepare tools and techniques that improve the access, usefulness and quality of open biodiversity data and submit them to this open-ended incentive competition. Challenge entries may choose to develop new applications, visualizations, methods, workflows or analyses, or build on and extend existing tools and features like:

Entries should benefit multiple stakeholder groups, among them researchers, policymakers, educators, students and citizen scientists, and an expert panel of jury will judge entries on their openness and repeatability, relevance and novelty. Winners will be announced on 17 October 2018 at the 25th GBIF Governing Board meeting in Kilkenny, Ireland.

The Challenge honours the memory of Dr Ebbe Schmidt Nielsen, an inspirational leader in the fields of biosystematics and biodiversity informatics and a principal founder of GBIF, who died unexpectedly just before it came into being.

Submission deadline

  • 5 Sept 2018, 1600 Central European Summer Time | UTC +2


The Challenge is open to individuals, teams of individuals, companies and their employees, and governmental agencies and their employees.

The Challenge is not open to:

  • Current staff members at the GBIF Secretariat
  • Individuals currently under an external contract issued by the GBIF Secretariat
  • Members of the GBIF Science Committee
  • Heads of Delegation to GBIF

Submission requirements

Entrants must complete the entry form, which provides information about the entry, including:

  • Submission name/title
  • Team member(s) names and affiliations
  • Abstract and rationale
  • Operating instructions
  • Link to visuals (prototype, demo, video, screenshots, slides, etc.)
  • Link(s) to submission materials on any appropriate website or repository

The judges and GBIF Secretariat staff must be able to

  • access and operate or review the submission at no cost
  • operate it on readily available hardware (if the submission is a stand-alone application)
  • repeat any processes or routines, if the submission is a script or other automated solution

Entrants can prepare and document their entries on any repository or platform they’re comfortable with—GitHub, Dryad, FigShare, Open Science Framework, Jupyter Notebook, or use their own website.

By encouraging entrants to use tools that they are already familiar and comfortable with, we hope that anyone interested in submitting can focus squarely on questions of what, why and how—

  • what the submission is
  • why it matters to the GBIF communities it is intended to serve
  • how it works

What should I create?

The 2018 Ebbe Nielsen Challenge is deliberately open-ended, so entrants have a broad remit for creating tools and techniques that advance in open science and improve the access, utility or quality of GBIF-mediated data. Challenge submissions may be new applications, visualization methods, workflows or analyses, or they build on and extend existing tools and features.


A panel of expert judges from relevant scientific, informatics and technology domains will evaluate submissions based on the following criteria:

  • Openness and repeatability: Are the constituent elements of the submission, like code and content, freely available and transparent? Are they appropriately licensed?
  • Applicability: Does the submission have sufficient relevance and scope that the communities GBIF support can use or build it?
  • Novelty Has a significant portion of the submission been developed specifically for the challenge? Submissions based largely or entirely on previously published work are not deemed to be eligible entries.

Special thanks

The 2018 Challenge is funded in part with the financial support of the Swedish Research Council.