DFG Funds Biodiversity Consortium: Munich SNSB IT Center is Part of the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI)

In the new National Research Data Infrastructure for Biodiversity (NFDI4Biodiversity), the Bavarian Natural History Collections (SNSB) and its SNSB IT Center are one of 13 equal partner institutions. NFDI4BioDiversity is one of nine NFDI consortia funded on the recommendation of the German Research Foundation (DFG). This decision was announced by the Joint Science Conference last week. The NFDI4BioDiversity consortium is coordinated by MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen. The SNSB IT Center leads the task areas of long-term management and archiving of research and collection data, tools and services, and certification of data centers.

Science is based on data. These research datasets are becoming increasingly large and complex. Because methods and approaches change and evolve over time, new analyses can also foster new insights from old datasets. The foundation for this, however, is that quality-controlled data are well preserved and curated, as well as quickly found as needed. As datasets grow, the data infrastructure must evolve as well.

“Our role in NFDI4BioDiversity is of great importance for data producers and data centers of different foci. We want to support and expand existing German infrastructures and data pipelines to ensure long-term preservation, archiving and publication of data,” said Dr. Dagmar Triebel, head of the IT Center at the Bavarian Natural History Collections (SNSB). “The goal is to professionalize subject-specific data repositories in order to contribute to the sustainable quality assurance of data collections and technical services in Germany as a research location, among other things by certifying them according to international standards.”

In 2016, the Council for Information Infrastructures recommended the establishment of a National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) – as the basis for research data management in Germany. The goal is to create a dynamic, growing cooperation network consisting of various specialized nodes, the individual consortia. Each individual thematic consortium takes care of keeping data consistent and compatible. The principles of “FAIR Data” apply. In this context, FAIR stands for “Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable.” This is particularly important, emphasizes the coordinator of the NFDI4BioDiversity consortium, Prof. Frank Oliver Glöckner from the Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen, since most research data is collected from publicly funded research. Therefore it goes without saying that it can be used by everyone.

The NFDI4BioDiversity consortium brings together partner institutions from the fields of biodiversity, ecology and environmental data. However, biodiversity is more than “just” the diversity of species. Here, biodiversity also includes genetic diversity, functional diversity, interactions and the diversity of entire ecosystems. “We are seeing long-term changes in the environment and biodiversity at both the global and regional scales. Therefore, access to extensive, quality-assured data collections from basic research, from citizen scientists in biological societies, from official nature conservation as well as from natural history collections is equally crucial for the decisions now to be made in politics and society,” says Dr. Dagmar Triebel.

The DFG has been funding the GFBio (German Federation for Biological Data) project since 2013. GFBio covers technical, organizational, financial and scientific aspects to raise awareness of research data management in biodiversity research and the environmental sciences. NFDI4BioDiversity builds on this experience as well as on the community of users. GFBio already includes data centers for nucleotide and environmental data as well as the seven established data centers of Germany’s largest natural science research collections,  which include the SNSB with its IT center, museums, and the world’s most diverse microbiological resource collection. The network is being expanded to include the network of botanical gardens and the largest collections of crop plants and their wild relatives.

The NFDI4BioDiversity consortium will be funded with up to 25 million euros for an initial five years starting in fall 2020. Participating are 49 university and non-university partner institutions throughout Germany.

Dr. Dagmar Triebel
SNSB IT Zentrum und Botanische Staatssammlung München (SNSB-BSM)
Menzinger Straße 67
80638 München
Tel.: 089-17861-252
Email: triebel@snsb.de

More Information:
SNSB IT-Center: www.snsb.info
National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) – Biodiversity Consortium: www.nfdi4biodiversity.org
Pressemitteilung der Gemeinsame Wissenschaftskonferenz