Competition Rules

Project team and partners


An Expression of Interest will be distributed to the relevant biodiversity agencies of each pre-selected country. If appropriate, these will be linked into consortia to develop and widen biodiversity informatics networks. A lead agency must be elected amongst the project partners and a full application will then be submitted. The following rules apply:

  • The lead agency must select a project team of maximum 5 members and minimum 2 members. Financial support to attend training workshops and meetings will only be provided to the project team. Additional project participants must be co-funded by the relevant agencies.
  • Data holders must be identified beforehand and be part of the project team. The project team must also include at least one technical agency and/or end user agency. Preference will be given to projects involving all three agency types in the project team. These functions may overlap (i.e. an agency may be both a data provider and a technical information product developer; or both a technical and end user agency) but this must be clearly supported in the project proposal and a minimum of two agencies must be part of the project team.
  • The lead agency will coordinate and manage the project team.
  • The project team is expected to cover the running costs of the mobilisation activities. Co-funding from other biodiversity informatics projects (for example, the Biodiversity Information for Development projects) may be utilised as long as the published datasets are independent from each other (i.e. at least two separate datasets would need to be published). Prize money will be awarded at the end of the project.
  • The competition activities will run from June 2017 to September 2018.
  • Financial support will be provided to project teams to attend an inception meeting, BIMFs, training workshops and a prize-giving ceremony.


Eligible datasets


  • Project teams must digitise (capture data associated with physical specimens, artefacts or paper records into electronic formats) and geo-reference at least one occurrence dataset (for example, specimen collections or observation records). Bonus points will be awarded for creating metadata about other undigitised collections, digitising checklists and collating any additional digitised sources of data (citizen science records, camera trap records, field reports and observations) into the focal database.
  • Target datasets must comply with the Darwin Core data standard.
  • Datasets must be linked to a potential end user for additional points. Smaller datasets of strategic importance to end users will score more points than larger datasets with no end user. For example, a target dataset of freshwater snail specimens held in a museum could be linked to enhancing a national freshwater priority map produced by the Department of Environment. Written evidence from the end user to support this need will score additional points
  • Datasets must be made accessible (published) to stakeholders both through a dedicated institutional portal and through GBIF. This can be done through the host country’s Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT), or that of GBIF.
  • Target datasets must not be the subject of other current or planned mobilisation projects. Only new records mobilised by the institutions will count towards the competition evaluation. This will be measured by country-specific baselines.


Prize money


  • The project team will draft a prize money spending plan with support from SANBI.
  • The prize money will be paid to the lead agency and the lead agency will be responsible for disbursing the money amongst project partners to support further data mobilisation activities as suitable.
  • Prize money should be spent in support of the biodiversity informatics network. For example, the money could be spent on further data mobilisation activities, the employment of a data manager, conducting field surveys or hosting stakeholder engagement workshops.
  • Project teams are expected to submit a report at the end of 2019 documenting how they have spent the prize money. Due diligence with the prize money spending plan in the project proposal will be used to leverage additional funding for biodiversity informatics projects in the country.




Preference will be given to applications that are cooperative and that can demonstrate the functional use of the target datasets in research, information management and government policy. The applications will be reviewed by the Judging Panel on the following criteria:

  • Significance of datasets: identification of target datasets and explanation of importance to national conservation and development goals, where having a complete dataset will facilitate research outputs.
  • Project team strength: inclusion of relevant project partners and (data holders, technical advisors / researchers and end users). The experience and capacity of the project team will also be considered.
  • Merit of project strategy: careful consideration of realistic deliverables and appropriate implementation strategies with a suitable prize money spending plan.

To award Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes at the end of the competition in 2018, competition deliverables will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Data quantity: the number of published records and datasets.
  • Data quality and fitness for use: the use of international data management standards and adequacy of the data to meet the needs of end users (for example, alien and invasive species management).
  • Data access and management plan: the creation or enhancement of a web-based data sharing platform for stakeholders, and a data curation plan.
  • Evidence of end-user intent and/or incorporation: for example, written statements from end-users declaring the importance of the data to national contexts; formal agreements between data holders and end-users; the development of information products (such as spatial layers, Red List assessments, data and/or research papers); and uptake of the data in policy papers or reports (such as NBSAPs and National Reports to the CBD).