Impact and Action: A Virtual Science-Policy Symposium

Recording of the virtual science-policy symposium Add to calendar
9 December 2021
16:00 - 17:15 CET
Smoked oysterling (Resupinatus applicatus), observed in Arlington, Virginia, USA. Photo 2020 Luca Catanzaro via iNaturalist Research-grade Observations, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

Impact and Action is a virtual science-policy symposium co-hosted by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), examining how we strengthen and consolidate scientific impact in the next two decades and beyond.

The interconnected challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change have increased both the requirements and the pressing need for data to inform research and policy decisions, making GBIF’s mission more urgent than ever.


During a two-hour programme on Thursday, 9 December 2021, experts examined the role and needs of the biodiversity data ecosystem in supporting progress across key issues, innovations, and policy priorities. Themes included conservation, food security, health, the evolution of emerging sciences and technologies, and the science-policy interface. A moderated Q&A panel brought together key points from the presentations.

The symposium offers a unique opportunity for scientists, policymakers and other relevant stakeholders to understand the previous successes and coming challenges as GBIF prepares its next strategic framework. As a precursor to a series of stakeholder consultations in the coming year, the symposium and the outcomes of its discussions will inform policies and research approaches aimed at expanding and sharing knowledge and benefits associated with biodiversity data.


Sandra Knapp, Merit Researcher, Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, London; President, Linnaean Society of London

Linnea Avallone, Chief Officer for Research Facilities, National Science Foundation

Carthage Smith, Lead Coodinator, OECD Global Science Forum

Joe Miller, Executive Secretary, GBIF

Melodie McGeoch, La Trobe University; Chair, GEO BON Species Population Working Group; Coordinating Lead Author, IPBES Invasive Alien Species Assessment

Florence Fouque, Team Leader, Vectors, Environment and Society, TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases hosted at the World Health Organization

Rob Finn, Team Leader, Microbiome Informatics, European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)

Nora Castañeda-Álvarez, Project Manager, Seeds for Resilience, Global Crop Diversity Trust

Alice Hughes, University of Hong Kong

Panel discussion

Moderated by Sandy Knapp and including Tim Hirsch, GBIF Deputy Director, and plenary speakers


For 20 years GBIF—the Global Biodiversity Information Facility—has provided anyone, anywhere, open access to data about all types of life on Earth.

The world’s governments established GBIF in response to the OECD Megascience Forum’s recommendation to ensure equitable access to biodiversity information by creating “a distributed system of interlinked and interoperable modules that…will enable users to navigate and put to use vast quantities of biodiversity information.” GBIF today coordinates an international network and data infrastructure built in collaboration with hundreds of institutions.

In its recent twenty-year review of the networked infrastructure, the Committee on Data of the International Science Council (CODATA) called GBIF the “most comprehensive, openly available…and modern access point to known digital species occurrence data.”

9 December 2021 16:00 - 17:15