Science and policy increasingly depend on GBIF, says new Chair

GBIF needs a broad and secure funding base as it becomes increasingly useful to scientists and policy makers, according to the newly-elected Chair of the network’s Governing Board, Peter Schalk.

The new GBIF Chair is managing director of the ICT sector at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, Netherlands, and one of the founders of Species 2000, a project to create a validated checklist of the world’s species, the Catalogue of Life.

Schalk was elected to the position during the 20th meeting of the Governing Board in Berlin this week, replacing Joanne Daly, who completed her four-year term as Chair.

Following his election by Voting Participants, the member countries making a financial contribution to GBIF, Peter Schalk thanked the Governing Board for electing him to a “fantastic position.”

Schalk said, “After more than a decade GBIF is a success. We should be aware of that, and be proud of that. Almost half a billion records are made available for all to use. To build their science on. To build environmental policies on. To build the planet’s future on.

“GBIF serves millions of users and their numbers are growing fast. However this success comes with a price. More and more will come to depend on GBIF services. That is a great responsibility.”

Schalk said that all those involved in GBIF must ensure the network’s services were reliable and sustainable, and this required a business plan that worked.

“GBIF now has sufficient critical mass,” Schalk told the Governing Board. “This creates a basis for partnerships and alliances, opportunities to distribute work and responsibilities, to obtain supplementary funding. I will do my best to work with you on that.”

The Governing Board approved the draft GBIF work programme for 2014, which places a strong focus on improving the quality of the data accessible through the  network, and on communicating better the value of GBIF as an infrastructure supporting national needs for information about biodiversity. The full work programme will be published shortly.

The Governing Board also elected a new Chair of the GBIF Science Committee, Roderic Page, Professor of Taxonomy at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom. He replaces Leonard Krishtalka.

For more information, contact Tim Hirsch, GBIF Secretariat.

Publication date

  • October 11th, 2013

Last updated

  • October 23rd, 2015