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Call for nominations opens for 2018 GBIF Young Researchers Award

Thu, 2017-11-30 08:54 -- maphillips

On behalf of the network of national Participants, the GBIF Secretariat is pleased to invite nominations for the 2018 Young Researchers Award. This annual programme aims to foster innovative research and discovery in biodiversity informatics by graduate students whose master’s and doctoral studies rely on GBIF-mediated data.

The 2018 programme will provide €5,000 prizes recognizing the work of two graduate students—preferably, one master’s and one PhD candidate—nominated by GBIF Participant countries.

Award recipients will be selected from the pool of nominees whose names are received by the GBIF Secretariat by 15 June 2018. The winners will be announced just prior to the 25th GBIF Governing Board meeting, to be held in Kilkenny, Ireland, in October 2018.


Candidates must be enrolled in a university graduate programme to be eligible for the award. Candidates must be either citizens of a country participating in GBIF or students at an institution located in a GBIF participant country. Nomination can come either from the country of citizenship or from the country of the candidate’s host institution.

Submission process and deadlines

Students seeking nomination must apply to the Head of Delegation of a GBIF Voting or Associate Participant country (see the complete list). National participants are responsible for establishing their own deadlines and processes for receiving and processing student applications. As a result, graduate students who seek nomination should consult the websites of their national GBIF Participants or contact the Head of Delegation or node manager directly.

Student proposals are first reviewed and prioritized at the national level. GBIF national nodes are encouraged to work closely with the academic communities and higher education institutions in their countries and to reach out to relevant university programmes and research groups.

National Heads of Delegation may submit a maximum of two nominees to the GBIF Secretariat to by the deadline for submissions: 15 June 2018. Heads of Delegations must ensure that submissions are complete and include all the elements listed below. Submissions of incomplete proposals will not be considered.

Award nomination packet

Candidates should prepare their proposal and nomination packets to include:

  1. Research summary (200 words)
  2. Project description (maximum 5 pages, 12-point Arial) that describes
    a. The need for the research and the question(s) it addresses.
    b. The role of data accessed through GBIF in addressing these questions. Research proposals must clearly demonstrate how the study incorporates data mobilized through GBIF. Students with questions about GBIF-enabled data should work with academic advisors, their GBIF national node, the GBIF Secretariat or members of the Science Committee to increase their understanding.
    c. The research scope, plan, methodologies, relevant literature citations and timetable.
    d. If relevant, a description or an excerpt from a data management plan that outlines how data related to the research is published or will be prepared for publication through the GBIF network to
  3. Budget (1 page), itemized and justified. NOTE: budgetary items are restricted to academic fees, essential equipment, supplies (e.g. hardware, software) and travel; salary support is not permitted.
  4. Curriculum vitae of the student applicant including full contact information at the home institution.
  5. Supporting documents
    a. An official letter from the student’s faculty mentor/supervisor certifying that the applicant is a student in good standing in the graduate programme of the university.
    b. At least one, and no more than three, letters of support from established researchers active in a field that encompasses and incorporates biodiversity informatics (e.g., genetics, species composition and traits, biogeography, ecology, systematics, et al.)

Selection process and criteria

The GBIF Science Committee will review the nominations and select winners of the Young Researchers Awards in September 2018. Awardees will be announced at GBIF’s 25th Governing Board meeting in Ireland the following month.

The criteria for the awards include:

  • Originality and innovation
  • Use of and strategic significance for data accessed through GBIF
  • Measurable effectiveness and impact in advancing biodiversity informatics and/or the conservation of biological diversity

Proposals that are not selected may be updated and resubmitted for consideration in subsequent years.

Awardees are expected to acknowledge GBIF support when disseminate research results via peer-reviewed publications, presentations at professional meetings, and other media.

Original Link


Specify new releases and GGBN collaboration

Thu, 2017-11-16 08:58 -- maphillips


The Specify Software Project ( is pleased to announce the fruition of a joint software effort with the Global Genome Biodiversity Network ( to facilitate the communication of genetic sample data to the GGBN Portal from biological museums around the world.  Specify is a collections database management platform used by 450+ biological museum collections worldwide.

The collaboration has brought Specify into compliance with GGBN’s data standard recommendations for describing genetic samples (frozen tissues and DNA extracts) deposited in biological museums. The joint effort also resulted in the implementation of a new network capability in the Specify 7 web platform for automating the assembly and publication of Darwin Core Archives using the GGBN Material Sample Vocabulary or any other Darwin Core extension. Darwin Core Archive files are used for communicating specimen and sample data between museums and biodiversity data aggregators.

Our work extended the Specify database schema by adding a ‘Material Sample’ table and new logical relationships to robustly support the use of frozen tissues and DNA extracts in biological museums to document biological diversity and for phylogenetic research.  We also updated the Specify user interface to accommodate the new genetic resource data types.

This new support for tissues and molecular extracts is available now in Specify 6.6.06 and 7.3. The embedded Darwin Core Archive publisher is available in Specify 7, which is downloadable from the product’s GitHub site:

The Specify Software Project looks forward to supporting these new features for museums worldwide with genetic resource collections to promote the aggregation of tissue and extract data in the GGBN Portal:

The Specify Software Project is an open-source initiative that has provided biological museums for 30 years with robust data management platforms and research data management services for curating and processing biological specimen information.  The Specify Project is grateful for the technical and financial support of the Global Genome Initiative underwriting the development of these integration capabilities.

Postdoctoral Position in Public Participation in Digitization of Biodiversity Collections

Fri, 2017-10-20 15:53 -- sellis
A postdoctoral position is available with iDigBio in the research group of Prof. Austin Mast (Department of Biological Science, Florida State University; to study engagement of the public in the digitization of biodiversity research collections, especially as it relates to the community’s Worldwide Engagement for Digitizing Biocollections (WeDigBio) Event.  iDigBio ( is the US NSF's National Resource for Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections, and it is located at the University of Florida and Florida State University.  The WeDigBio Event ( is an annual, 4-day event that mixes onsite engagement at museums, universities, etc. with engagement of distributed participants to produce an exciting, educational global data campaign for science.  New developments that could be a part of this postdoc’s activities include the build-out of the nascent WeDigBio virtual science festival, creation of virtual reality biocollections tours, and completion of a strategic plan for the WeDigBio Event.  The WeDigBio Event has a history of innovation, including in the area of augmented reality.
A Ph.D. in a relevant field (e.g., biodiversity research, biodiversity informatics, science education, citizen science) is required, as is demonstration of (1) familiarity with (or interest to learn about) biodiversity collections and their digitization, (2) successful collaboration and time management skills, (3) successful written and oral communication skills, and (4) enthusiasm for trailblazing for the benefit of science and society.  Desired, though not required, qualities include familiarity with relevant principles of biodiversity informatics, experience in marketing (especially social media marketing), fluency in a second language, and experience with immersive (AR and VR) technologies. The postdoctoral scholar will be expected to interact positively and productively with a wide range of people (more so than in many other postdoctoral positions), including other members of iDigBio, members of the large collections community (e.g., in working groups and workshops), software developers working on digitization tools, educators, and other members of the citizen science community of practice. 
Annual salary starts at $48,000, and the position is expected to be for one year.  It is based in Tallahassee, Florida, a small state capital bordered on the south and west by the Apalachicola National Forest and on the north by the historical hunting plantations of the Red Hills Region.  White-sand beaches, clear freshwater springs, and hiking and biking trails are within easy driving distances of town.  The region is one of North America's biotic hotspots. 

To apply, send a cover letter and CV with contact information for three references in a single pdf file to Austin Mast (  In the cover letter, please cite past activities that demonstrate each of (1) through (4) above as well as provide the date on which you could start the position and a paragraph or two on your long-term career goals and how you see this position fitting into them.  Applications will be considered beginning on Nov 15 until the position is filled.  Florida State University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.