World Biodiversity Institute

Wolfgang J. Neun w.neun at ONLINE.DE
Fri Jan 12 11:08:20 CST 2001


Dear Ricardo,

You introduced this name in your mail to COLEOPTERA. But you wrote
"Would a "World Biodiversity Institute" ...", not "Would _the_ "World
Biodiversity Institute ..." So I guess you were referring to an
imaginary or maybe future institution.

I am adding your mail in full length for the TAXACOMers to understand.

Best regards!
Wolfgang Neun


[start citation]
Are our present sources of funding adequate now, and perceived as
likely to be stable in the future, or are other folks a bit more
pessimistic (as I am) and feel that here, too, we're dealing with a
dwindling resource? What happens to many US collections, for instance,
if
NSF some day eliminates their museum improvement grant program? Here's a
pretty central problem, no? What can we do to "take it on"?
        I've sometimes thought that perhaps what we need is a Grand
Scheme;
a multi-national, multi-institutional program that can attract its OWN
funding, award grants, and be self-perpetuating. What would this take?
An
endowment? A new non-profit organization? Who would contribute the money
to
such an enterprise? Would a "World Biodiversity Institute" generate
public
interest, or only agribusiness, pharmaceutical, and other profit-making
interests? What kind of effort would it take to attract sufficient money
from these sources? How many years would it take to implement, and how
would the process start? Are there entities already in place, such as
the
ASC, that could serve as a foundation? Most importantly, what would it
take
for this to go beyond some purely theoretical construct on this
newsgroup
(after all, if we can't clear that hurdle, the idea is worthless to
begin
with)? Otherwise, it's like daydreaming about what to do when you win
the
lottery.
        I dunno - maybe I feel a greater sense of urgency (i.e., panic)
given that I don't even *have* a permanent job yet, and fear that I'll
be
forced to give up on science altogether in order to survive. I don't
like
the thought that my entire future as a scientist may hinge upon the
future
vigor of NSF and my ability to extract money from it (at the expense of
other researchers, naturally). I'd like to have a solid alternative
available, one that is devoted first and foremost to the discovery and
preservation of our basic knowledge of biodiversity (i.e., alpha
taxonomy
and natural history), rather than feeling (as suggested in a recent
posting) as if I were some pagan priest faced with barbarians pounding
at
the gates.
        I'm sure I've bitten off more than I can chew here, but a debate
on
the future of systematics as a discipline and as a career is at least
on-topic. ;-)

Sincerely (and somewhat desperately)
[end citation]




More information about the Taxacom mailing list