RCN-UBE: Biodiversity Literacy in Undergraduate Education - Data Initiative (BLUE Data Network)

Grant Details


Rapid advances in data research and technology are transforming science methodologies. The volume and variety of data being generated, the increased accessibility of data for aggregation, the improved discoverability of data, and the increasingly collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of scientific research are driving the need for new skill sets to address scientific issues of critical national and global importance. The biodiversity sciences have experienced a rapid mobilization of data that has increased capacity to investigate large-scale issues of critical importance in the 21st century (e.g., climate change and its impacts, zoonotic disease transmission, sustainable resource management, impacts of invasive species, and biodiversity loss). The volume, complexity, and variability in biodiversity data requires sophisticated data skills to ensure accurate and reproducible science. The RCN-UBE Biodiversity Literacy in Undergraduate Education - Data Initiative (BLUE Data) will bring together communities of biodiversity, data, and education specialists to identify core biodiversity data competencies for undergraduates, develop strategies for integrating these competencies into the introductory biology curriculum, and build capacity for sustained development and implementation of biodiversity and data literacy education.

The BLUE Data Network has four goals: 1) Cultivate a diverse and inclusive network of biodiversity researchers, data scientists, and biology educators focused on undergraduate data-centric biodiversity education, 2) Build community consensus on core biodiversity data literacy competencies, 3) Develop strategies and exemplar materials to guide the integration of biodiversity data literacy competencies into introductory undergraduate biology curricula, and 4) Extend the network to engage a broader community of undergraduate educators in biodiversity data literacy efforts. Beginning with targeted community assessment (e.g., focus groups, surveys, needs assessment), and followed by dedicated workshops and symposia, thematic working groups, sessions at society conferences, and online virtual networking, BLUE Data brings together an interdisciplinary community to translate emerging tools and resources for biodiversity data access and analysis to the core undergraduate biology curriculum. BLUE Data will work as a community to develop competencies, materials, and strategies to infuse biodiversity data into the curriculum and facilitate broad-scale adoption of transferrable data literacy competencies that can improve undergraduate biology training to meet increasing workforce demands in both data and biodiversity sciences. A more data literate workforce will result in a broader data-enabled community of researchers, educators and engineers prepared to address emerging issues, ask data-intensive questions, and promote data driven innovation.

This project is being jointly funded by the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO), Division of Biological Infrastructure, and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Division of Undergraduate Education as part of their efforts to address the challenges posed in Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action (http://visionandchange.org/finalreport/). This project is also co-funded by the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) in the BIO directorate.

Effective start/end date09/1/1706/30/23


  • National Science Foundation: $499,941.00


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