Strategic Plan 2000 2004
[From 1993-2010 the Centre was known as the 'The Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research' (CPBR), this is an archive document.]
Research in Systematics and Conservation Biology - ( Programs A and B )
Australian National Herbarium and Data Management - ( Programs C )
Education, Publicity and Community Liaison - (Program E )Resources Management - (People, Facilities and Finances)
Expanding knowledge of Australian plant biodiversity knowledge scientific excellence, leadership and innovation in plant systematics, and conservation and evolutionary biology.
To enhance knowledge, understanding, conservation and sustainable utilisation of Australias plant biodiversity.
Strategic Plan Flow Chart
The Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research (CPBR) was established in 1993 as a joint venture between CSIROs Plant Industry and Environment Australias Biodiversity Group. This collaboration created an institute with a high national and international profile in the areas of Australian plant biodiversity research and collections and botanical database management. It also allowed for a diverse range of staff, cultures and interests to converge, a circumstance, which is proving increasingly beneficial to the Centres productivity and placement within national and international circles.
Critical to the Centres future are the ongoing partnerships with clients and stakeholders. The Centres high quality research, its placement as a national body and its national coordinating abilities, are the Centres primary attractions to external organisations. Essential to ongoing external interest in the Centre is the maintenance of good levels of communication with these external parties, to enable the Centre to anticipate and respond to current and future developments within the biodiversity sector. Also crucial to the Centres future is the ability to deliver research results and Centre products to the wider community, thus encouraging biodiversity awareness and support among clients, stakeholders and the community.
The Centre works within a collaborative environment, enjoying the cooperation of other national and international institutions and individuals. These include other research institutes, educational facilities and bodies which work to develop national and international standards for collection and database management and transfer.
The Centre aims primarily towards assisting with the development of sound practices and techniques to utilise, manage and conserve the Australian flora. This is achieved through Centre research, specimen maintenance and collection, efficient data management practices, the development of Centre products and the promotion of Centre research results and facilities. The Centre aims to improve in all such areas of operation, so as to more effectively contribute to the knowledge base of Australian Biodiversity research and management.
to be a National Centre of research excellence in the fields of plant systematics and conservation biology, as a basis for conservation and sustainable management and use of Australian vegetation
to develop and manage scientific collections of Australian and related floras as the Australian National Herbarium, a permanent record of Australian plant diversity, and as a resource for research on these floras, and to provide the scientific authenticity of the ANBG
to provide a national focus for and play a role in national botanical database management, and to represent and promote Australia internationally within the botanical database management field
to pursue research, education and training relevant to Centre programs and objectives
to ensure that the two parties add value to each other and the Centre, through their differing backgrounds and disciplines, and, through the Centre, serve the Parent Bodies and stakeholders, including the Living Collections of the Parties, and
to maximise the benefits flowing from applications of Centre Intellectual Property
Research in Systematics and Conservation Biology
(Programs A and B)
The Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research maintains two broad research programs aimed at furthering the understanding of Australian plant diversity and its conservation for the national benefit.
Program A pursues a systematics approach to its primary goal of determining the biological diversity, distribution, phylogenetic inter-relationships and population genetics of native genera and species of the Australian flora. The research accomplished within this Program provides the core knowledge required for the effective understanding, management and sustainable use of Australias biodiversity. This Program relies upon the resources of the Australian National Herbarium in order to answer the basic questions it focuses upon: What are the taxa represented? What are their geographic and ecological distributions? What are their evolutionary and phytogeographic relationships?
Research Program B has as its primary focus the conservation and evolutionary biology of Australian plants. Projects include the study of population dynamics, genetic diversity and the responses of Australian flora to the effects of fire, invasive species, fragmentation and disease. The results of this research are utilised in the development of effective strategies for the conservation of plant species, integrated land use and revegetation projects. This program also conducts research into the use of wild plants as genetic resources for the improvement of agricultural and industrial productivity, research that will aid in improving the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of the Australian agricultural industry.
To provide the scientific basis for the systematic classification, conservation, use and sustainable management of the Australian flora
To facilitate and assist with the development of ecologically sound management strategies and products, for the use and conservation of Australias natural resources
To facilitate the improvement and greater sustainability, competitiveness and productivity of plant-based industries through the use of molecular biological techniques
To develop diverse, high quality products for the benefit and use of stakeholders, clients, collaborators and the public
To undertake individual and collaborative research of the highest possible international standards
conducting high-quality research into the systematics and evolution, diversity and conservation biology of plants and fungi
providing effective and appropriate resources to enable Centre research
ongoing identification of individual training and development needs and ready access to, and facilitation of, such training
Monitoring and Evaluation Systems
continuing preparation of individual learning and workplans - to be revised and reviewed annually
preparation and regular review of project workplans
ongoing regular reviews of research programs
submission of performance reports for external grant-funded research as required
Attracting External Funding, Grants and Collaborative Support
maintaining the high quality and quantity of Centre research
ensuring Centre research results are adequately publicised
maintaining existing collaborative strategies to attract high quality visiting scientists and students to the Centre
encouraging staff to compete for external funding
encouraging the involvement of external agencies in the development of research priorities and directions
Balance of Research and Technical Staff
maintaining the balance of research and support staff in order to allow the optimal use of available resources
seeking additional funding for the creation of new research and technical positions
continuing to attract and retain high quality staff and students to the Centre through reputation and practice
Presentation and Delivery of Research Results
organising and participating in seminar series, national conferences and workshops run by the Centre
presenting findings at externally organised conferences, seminars, lecture series and national and international scientific meetings
publishing scientific papers, books, book chapters, journal articles and popular articles
disseminating the results of relevant research via the World Wide Web
organising seminars specifically for colleagues and management to inform them of the results and outcomes of our biodiversity research
applying new methods of biodiversity research to improve product quality features, and efficiency and sustainability of agricultural production systems
conducting a wide range of strategic and applied research projects that will address the existing and future problems of Australian native ecosystem management
enhancing the transfer of essential systematics knowledge through the development of user-friendly computer based interactive systems for identifying ecologically and economically significant plant groups
Involvement of External Bodies
continuing involvement of members of the Centres stakeholder community in the setting of future Centre directions
identifying the needs of stakeholders, clients and user groups in the setting of future research directions
ongoing development of effective communications between researchers and land managers, decision-makers, clients and the community
ongoing development of cooperative links at the initiation of research projects
seeking feedback from users on the effective use of research results
organising workshops based on Centre products
Representation on Policy-Making Bodies
continuing representation of Centre research staff on policy making advisory bodies
establishing strategic alliances and developing and maintaining national and international collaborative multi-disciplinary research programs for economic and community benefit, through continued high quality research and communication
ongoing encouragement of collaborations with universities and educational institutions through the maintenance of existing student levels within the Centre and the continuing provision of high quality student supervision
Australian National Herbarium
Research Collections and Information Management
The Australian National Herbarium (ANH) is a collection of geographically and taxonomically representative botanical specimens of Australian and overseas flora. The material held within the ANH is important both as a permanent record of Australias plant diversity, and as a resource for strategic research into the plant biodiversity of this country. The ANH holds and manages the voucher collections of the Australian National Botanic Gardens and through its botanical databases provides the scientific authenticity for Gardens collections and information programs.
A major function of staff is the curation of the collection. This includes the processes of acquisition, documentation and the ongoing maintenance and updating of the collection, all of which function to maintain collection reliability. The Herbarium also fulfils a service role through the loan and exchange programs it maintains with other national and international institutions, and through its identification services.
The Australian National Herbarium, in conjunction with the Australian National Botanic Gardens, is also responsible for the Public Reference Herbarium and Public Enquiry Services available through the Gardens. Herbarium staff also take charge of a variety of external professional enquiry services, and, in conjunction with Program E, which coordinates the Centres outreach activities, runs the highly regarded student and volunteer programs.
A significant responsibility of the Centre is the establishment and maintenance of flexible and efficient databases of botanical information. These databases are made accessible to researchers, the government and the community, and provide a valuable source of information for research, environmental management, and for public knowledge.
The Internet and the World Wide Web are utilised in order to make Centre research results and botanical information available to the scientific community. The end results of this expanding availability of information are a greater degree of scientific collaboration and a corresponding reduction in the duplication of effort.
The Centre provides a national focus and coordinating role in national database management. A major concern in this area is the implementation of common standards and conventions which will enable the use of larger aggregate datasets from several institutions. Staff are actively involved in the development and implementation of both national and international standards for data exchange, which will allow for greater ease of information exchange for both internal and external users.
To strategically expand, develop and manage the Australian National Herbarium collections and associated databases, as a resource for research on Australian and related floras
To promote and maintain the ANH biological collections as a permanent record of Australian plant diversity and as an information resource for the conservation and sustainable management of the Australian flora
To increase the accessibility to existing holdings and associated databases of Australian and related floras for research, for the development of commercial opportunities, for environmental management and for public use
To liaise with national and international groups, and to meet our obligations and play a coordinating role in, the documentation and conservation of the diversity of Australias natural ecosystems
To document, house and authenticate the permanent scientific voucher collection of the Australian National Botanic Gardens
Outcomes and Implementation Strategies
Training and Development
ongoing identification of individual training and development needs and facilitation of such training
training of staff in curatorial techniques and database systems
Collection Management Practices
maintaining an effective strategic field work program to acquire a comprehensive representation of our national flora
curating a world standard collection of herbarium specimens under stable archival conditions, to maximise accessibility
continuing whole taxa curation procedures documentation
finalising procedures documentation
maintaining type specimen collection and review procedures
maintaining and increasing promptness of taxonomic curation with respect to recent authoritative literature
reducing heritage backlog of curation and data capture
integrating group curators into service provision and curatorial team-leadership roles
developing strategic curation priority lists for the Herbarium
developing and implementing disaster preparedness and recovery plans
Database Management Practices
maintaining an integrated centralised database
ongoing integration and refinement of two original computer systems
identifying priority groups for database entry on a centralised, whole-taxon basis
seeking additional resources in order to reduce existing database backlog
developing and implementing new loans and exchange database
ongoing development of software and hardware systems aimed at increasing operational efficiency
developing and maintaining authoritative integrated databases of taxonomic, bibliographical and census information for Australian and regional plants
identifying, maintaining and housing reliably identified vouchers for the plants growing in the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG)
maintaining close linkages with staff and activities of the ANBG Living Collections and Photographic Collection
integrating the database applications of the ANBG and the ANH
maintaining and developing collaborative programs and projects such as shared maintenance of APNI, contribution to the IPNI, and active participation in CHAH and HISCOM
developing external feedback mechanisms to assess Centre performance in information provision and management
maintaining collaborative participation within organisations on national and international botanical database and transfer standards
maintaining cooperation and close networking links with other non-CPBR areas of CSIRO and EA
Herbarium as a Basis of Research
maintaining the Herbarium and associated databases as a national resource documenting the diversity of the Australian flora for botanical research and the development of strategic partnerships and stakeholder relationships
maintaining and developing accessibility to the Herbarium and associated databases as a resource for the publication of scientific papers, handbooks and interactive tools
providing essential information for taxonomic research into the identification of plant taxa, distribution and relationships, information which is critical in the identification and development of conservation areas and policies
participating actively in and contributing to, the development of the Virtual Australian Herbarium
providing continued assistance in the development of botanical tools and information resources, such as interactive keys, and multimedia products
increasing the amount of information available over the WWW through the ongoing development of computer and database technologies and the preparation of summary and explanatory material
evaluating the potential for the issuing of identification accreditation certificates
increasing the amount and types of applications of computerised taxonomic and specimen data available to users, including the development of GIS capabilities
increasing the rate of image capture in the field for use in Centre products
increasing and improving promptness and quality of services (free, charged or contract), to ANBG, public and professional enquiries, through effective devolution of identification responsibilities and improved tracking of enquiries
developing and implementing communications and technology transfer to ensure the Centre supports and meets user needs
ongoing development of more efficient and effective information delivery mechanisms including extension of controlled access to databases through the Internet
Education, Publicity and Community Liaison
The Centres activities relating to education, publicity and community awareness are brought together in this outreach program which provides the Public Face of the Centre. It maintains close links with other Centre programs from which it draws the staff and resources to run its activities.
This Program coordinates the training elements of the Centre. The Centres student programs comprise a significant and ongoing commitment to the training and education of young scientists. The Summer Student Program allows a small group of students to undertake paid collaborative research within the Centre. The Student Intern Program coordinates a large body of student volunteers, providing training in the form of field-work, laboratory-work, herbarium practices and seminars. In addition to this, the Centre maintains close ties with the Australian National University , through its ongoing joint-supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate students.
The Centre also runs a very successful Volunteer Program, providing volunteers with training in botanical curation techniques. Volunteers then assist Herbarium staff in the curation process, undertaking work which is highly beneficial to both the Centre and the volunteers.
In addition to these activities, there are various other ways the Centre links to the general public through its Awareness Program. Both Parties have public display facilities, CSIROs Discovery Centre and ANBGs Visitor Centre, and the Centre liaises and contributes scientific expertise to both these venues. The Centre also contributes scientific expertise to projects administered by the school education facilities of both Parties, CSIROs Green Machine and ANBGs Education Unit. A Public Reference Herbarium and Plant Identification Service are available to the general public through the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Centre staff also freely and regularly give their time conducting herbarium tours, and giving lectures and workshops to the public, encouraging people to learn of the importance of biodiversity and the Centres research.
The promotion of the Centre and its research is also achieved within this program, through the production of pamphlets, flyers, posters and other promotional materials and activities, and also through the maintenance of links with the media and through the provision of information via the Internet.
To enhance awareness of the Centre and stimulate interest in its goals, functions, and research
To contribute to the training and education of Centre volunteers, and of students of systematics, conservation biology and related disciplines
To stimulate awareness of the value of biodiversity for the community, colleagues and stakeholders
To provide Herbarium information and services to the general public
Outcomes and Implementation Strategies
coordinating the publicity and promotional roles of the Centre
increasing community awareness of the Centres role and research through the publication of promotional materials such as information sheets, flyers and displays, and through media outlets and the organisation of seminars and workshops
encouraging media-consciousness among Centre staff
developing an authoritative and interesting Internet site designed to provide information on the Centre and its activities and controlled access to Centre databases
utilising the Public Relations resources of the parent Parties to promote research and other activities of the Centre
maintaining, through ongoing training and recruitment, a contingent of well-trained, satisfied and enthusiastic volunteers who provide a significant net contribution to the Centre
ensuring Centre staff accept and welcome the Volunteer role within the Centre
conducting a three-yearly review of the Volunteer Program, which will allow the Centre to better cater to the requirements of both the Centre and the volunteers
ensuring appropriate workplace conditions are implemented for volunteers
Student Education and Training
maintaining close collaborations with tertiary institutions and other educational agencies to facilitate the training of undergraduate and graduate students in systematics, conservation biology and related disciplines
maintaining the existing close relationship with the Australian National University through ongoing joint research, joint use of facilities, Centre staff lecturing in ANU courses, and the continued co-supervision of ANU students
continuing to run and improve the Centre Intern Program, which provides valuable additional labour resources for the ANH
continuing to run and modestly increase, the Summer Student Program, which provides funded, supervised positions for young researchers to pursue areas of study complementary to Centre research goals
undertaking research into future student needs and the success they attribute to the Centre in terms of their future career prospects
Staff and Community Involvement
ongoing participation of staff in the giving of presentations at public lectures and workshops
encouraging the community to become involved in environmental and biodiversity activities through Centre publicity and promotion
cooperating with secondary teaching institutions to demonstrate biodiversity research in action, such as the development of environmental projects to be administered through the CSIROs Green Machine and the ANBG Education Unit
increasing the potential for the use of Centre databases in revegetation and biodiversity programs, such as those organised by Bushcare and Landcare
organising and participating in awareness activities for the community
ongoing participation in public awareness activities such as the Science Festival, Green Machine, Biota, ANBG Exhibits and the CSIRO Discovery Centre
Public Reference Herbarium and Enquiry Services
(in conjunction with Programs C and D)
ongoing development of the Public Reference Herbarium collection and database capabilities
developing and increasing public access to Centre databases and interactive keys
continuing provision of plant identification services through the ANBG Visitor Information Centre
increasing the promotion of the Public Reference Herbarium and developing greater self-service skills, through Centre and ANBG publicity
People, Facilities and Finances
The Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research understands that a productive workplace is achieved through staff who are satisfied, stimulated and fulfilled by their work and working environment. To this end, the Centre aims to encourage the development of a workplace which advocates positive interpersonal relationships, and acknowledges the needs, ideas and contributions of all staff.
Centre staff are employed under legislation which guarantees them a safe, secure and equitable working environment, and Centre management will aim to ensure that the rights and obligations of each member of staff, are upheld and valued by all. These conditions extend to the Centres Honorary Research Fellows, Volunteers and Associates.
Centre management works to ensure that adequate resources are available for all essential Centre activities, and will continue to seek external funding to supplement the working budget received from the two parent bodies. The Centre management also maintains responsibility for management planning and for all aspects of the Centres internal coordination, including internal communications and program development and review.
To maintain a full complement of active staff
To provide a safe and fair workplace with appropriate working conditions
To provide for staff training and development needs
To provide a stimulating, productive and enjoyable workplace
To encourage staff from both Parties to work harmoniously together as a united workforce
The building of an extension to provide additional work and collection space
To identify and secure adequate funds to implement Centre strategies
To provide appropriate means of two-way communication within the Centre
Outcomes and Implementation Strategies:
providing a comfortable, safe and inviting work environment through the provision of adequate Centre facilities which are kept in good repair
providing work facilities for retired scientists and other non-staff workers and volunteers
providing reliable, integrated computer systems and technical support
ongoing lobbying for funds and development of plans for a building extension which will house all Canberra Centre staff
providing adequate physical accommodation for staff and equipment
Staff Training and Development
annual development and review of individual staff work and learning plans which identify milestones and training and development needs
maintaining a policy of encouraging staff to attend to personal development needs
continuing promotion of individual staff interests as they complement operational requirements
encouraging group planning and ideas development
ongoing provision for formal and informal presentations and meetings
seeking new staff with relevant skills and qualifications, as finances dictate
providing a safe, fair and equitable working environment through implementation and adherence to Occupational Health and Safety, Industrial Democracy and Equal Employment Opportunity legislation
Program Planning and Review
maintaining regular Research reviews
maintaining strategic planning of all Centre projects and programs
creating, reviewing and revising Operational Plans
Coordination of Centre and Programs
running frequent Centre Executive meetings
reporting regularly to and discussing issues with, the Centre Board
establishing appropriate committees and working groups containing relevant personnel
providing informal and formal staff meetings which involve personnel in the decision making process, resulting in decisions which are transparent to, and inclusive of, all staff
distributing to all staff a solicited monthly newsletter
ongoing intra-Program communication development through weekly newsletters, updates, informal staff meetings, talks or presentations.
Sound Financial Planning
ongoing appointment of Centre Agent who takes charge of assigning financial resources and of maintaining accurate and efficient recording and reporting methods for all Centre financial transactions.
ongoing negotiation of annual budget
strategic planning of future directions to identify imminent financial needs
collecting stakeholder input in order to determine future Centre directions
procuring additional funding from sources such as government agencies, peer reviewed grants from R&D corporations, industry or private sector sources
establishing the feasibility of a Centre marketing plan
establishing the feasibility of a dedicated fundraising trust