About the Conference

Biodiversity Informatics Horizons 2013 (BIH2013) is part of a continuing process helping to structure and organise the biodiversity informatics community at the European level and beyond.

There have been many successful projects in biodiversity informatics, both at national and supranational level. In Europe this trend has grown under Framework Programmes 5, 6 and 7 and is expected to continue in Horizon 2020. Similar activities have occurred outside Europe, and efforts in biodiversity informatics are increasingly internationally coordinated on the global stage.

To respond to the challenges and priorities of the next decade in biodiversity and ecosystems research, structuring bottom-up and top-down interactions on informatics and cooperating across the community is now an essential activity. Cooperation avoids unnecessary duplication of activity. It helps to maximise and focus effort on building the information resources, tools and infrastructure the scientists and policymakers need. We all know the importance of this as we face environmental, societal and human health challenges on global scale. Science in support of policy to mitigate biodiversity loss due to climate and other man-made changes, to assure food security, and to combat invasive species (to give just a few examples) can only be achieved by full integration of the biodiversity research community through a commonly-shared, sustainable e-infrastructure across all sub-disciplines that reliably serves science and society alike. Hence, the need to coordinate.

This conference was organised by representatives (see Programme Committee) from 18 EU-funded projects (alphabetically listed):

Speakers (link to conference schedule) were invited to review challenging areas and promising technologies in biodiversity informatics, pathways to sustainable implementation and changing the community culture in the context of:

  • The LifeWatch vision (Preparatory Phase 2008-2011 and Startup activities 2012-2013);
  • Decadal priorities for biodiversity informatics, as expressed by the community whitepaper published in BMC Ecology (doi:10.1186/1472-6785-13-16); and,
  • The EC roadmap workshop on biodiversity infrastructures, 19-20 March 2013 (summary here).

Two panel discussion were planned. The first with experts from regions of the world beyond Europe, to explore opportunities for international cooperation that lead towards a sustainable global infrastructure. and the second on working together towards building a more sustainable future, informed by networking opportunities throughout the conference.

Demonstrations, posters and training activities, provided by some of the FP7 projects associated with the conference, allowed delegates to see first-hand some of the new and exciting infrastructure building blocks that will come together to deliver the LifeWatch vision.

Outcomes from the conference were intended to be:

  • Networking across the community
  • Up-to-date knowledge of technical challenges facing the community
  • Strong ideas and consensus on how to sustain the work the community is doing
  • Raised awareness and greater commitment to coordinate across the community
  • Acting as a springboard to form and coordinate consortia to build bids for Horizon 2020 funding.


Programme Committee

Eva Alonso LifeWatch Italy
Christos Arvanitidis LifeWatch Greece
Rosa M Badia EUBrazilOpenBio
Alberto Basset LifeWatch Italy
Palma Blonda BIO_SOS
Donatella Castelli iMarine
Frank Oliver Glöckner MicroB3
Gregor Hagedorn pro-iBiosphere
Alex Hardisty BioVeL
Jörg Holetschek OpenUp!
Yde de Jong ViBRANT
Jacco Konijn CReATIVE-B
Wouter Los ENVRI
Nikos Manouselis agINFRA
Matthias Obst BioVeL
Dave Roberts ViBRANT
Soraya Sierra pro-iBiosphere
Aaike De Wever BioFresh
Anna-Maria Wremp Swedish LifeWatch

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith