The future of taxonomic expertise in Europe

Prof. Dov Por dovpor at NETVISION.NET.IL
Wed Feb 2 12:51:03 CST 2000

This seems to be a world-wide phenomenon. Young students, educated at
college level to  care for and study biodiversity find closed doors when
they  want to specialise. At my university a genetics professor used to say
to the freshmen:'Look how many Nobels in genetics, taxonomy does not  exist
as a real scientific career".
The problem has to be treated at the roots.
Dov Por
-----Original Message-----
From: Stephan Helfer <S.Helfer at RBGE.ORG.UK>
Date: 02 February 2000 12:20
Subject: Re: The future of taxonomic expertise in Europe

>Dear Professor Enghoff, TAXACOMers
>The initiative you posted in TAXACOM to promote the education of
>young taxonomists is laudable indeed. However, in my opinion the
>recruitment problem for young taxonomists does not start at the post-
>doctoral level. Very little plant taxonomy is taught in British
>(and I suspect other European) Universities at under-graduate level,
>and the number of taught post-graduate courses can be counted on one
>hand. I guess the situation is not very different in zoology. One of
>the botany courses in Britain is the Edinburgh MSc/Diploma course in
>"The Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants"
>( Recruiting problems for these
>courses are not normally caused by lack of interest, insufficient
>qualification or poor job prospects, but plainly by the lack of
>funding for prospective students. For last year's twelve places, the
>course in Edinburgh registered applications from ca. 25 well
>qualified students (including around ten from overseas), only seven
>of whom could afford to start the course. In previous years the
>situation was similar. I understand that a similar course at Reading
>University encounters the same problems.
>I therefore suggest that CETAF, and others concerned about the future
>of taxonomy, should consider to increase support for education and
>training in taxonomy at graduate level, whilst continuing to
>encourage post-doctoral fellowships.
>Dr Stephan Helfer, SSO
>Senior Mycologist - MSc Course Director
>Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Inverleith Row, EDINBURGH EH3 5LR,
>Scotland UK
>phone: +44 (0)131 248 2865 (direct digital line)
>fax:   +44 (0)131 248 2901

More information about the Taxacom mailing list