Workshop Proposal: Enabling interdisciplinary and collaborative science through integration of biological and environmental data

  • Thiers, Barbara (CoPI)
  • Monfils, Anna (CoPI)
  • Bentley, Andrew (CoPI)
  • Ellwood, Elizabeth R. (CoPI)
  • Pandey, Jyotsna L. (PI)

Grant Details


During the last two decades, a wealth of data on biodiversity and associated environments have been mobilized in digital form. Collectively, these data provide a powerful resource that when curated and integrated with intention can provide critical information to inform emerging complex global biological, environmental, and public health challenges. Tapping the vast potential of specimen, observation and environmental data requires us to integrate diverse and complex datasets, connect domain-specific communities, and bridge discipline-specific social norms and data infrastructures. Linking data and their respective communities are critical next steps to creating the accessible and enriched data source needed to empower broad integrative biological research and education. An integrated and open data network will enable researchers to understand the rules that govern how organisms grow, diversify, interact with one another, and impact their environment, and how environmental change and human activities affect those rules. This project will convene stakeholders from across the spectrum of biodiversity, ecological, and environmental data providers, curators, and users with the goal of initiating a collaborative and accessible partnership towards an integrative and expanded data network. Virtual discussions will focus on advancing data culture and infrastructure that meets emerging needs in research, education, conservation, biosecurity, and the bioeconomy. This project will inform the next steps of data integration with attention to supporting formal and informal education, including engagement through outreach and community science, and providing new opportunities and access for individuals from historically underrepresented groups to engage in biodiversity research and education. Employing principles of open and team science, the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN), in collaboration with the American Institute of Biological Sciences, will partner with representatives from various data domains to plan a series of stakeholder listening sessions aimed at building collaborations among disparate data communities – highlighting an iterative process of building a larger, interdisciplinary community from within. Community building and stakeholder engagement will target graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and early career professionals from traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM. Six emerging career professionals will be mentored with opportunities to engage in leadership and facilitation, gaining experience conducting and moderating interdisciplinary collaborative discussions. Listening session discussions will build on and bridge the Extended Specimen Network (ESN) vision, championed by BCoN, with other existing conceptual frameworks for data integration and application. Representatives from federal agencies, the ecological data community, climate and environmental data community, genetic data community, the biodiversity informatics community, the One Health community, international initiatives, and other stakeholder groups will subsequently be invited to participate in a more expansive, interdisciplinary online workshop. The planned engagements will connect siloed biological and environmental data communities and augment existing initiatives to develop a consensus on the next steps for building an integrated, open, FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) data network.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Effective start/end date08/15/2307/31/25


  • National Science Foundation: $99,963.00


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