BIOSCAN Strategic Plan: Sustainability

BIOSCAN Strategic Plan: Sustainability

One of the strategic goals identified for BIOSCAN is to ensure the long-term sustainability of key components of the infrastructure, samples, DNA and data from the program.

Please use this topic to discuss the Sustainability goal and how iBOL can implement the strategies identified below.


Ensure sustainable and persistent operation of core infrastructure and preservation of samples, DNA and data from barcoding and metabarcoding activities.

Much of the funding required to meet BIOSCAN’s estimated $180 million cost must still be raised. Funding will be required in many countries to support fieldwork to collect specimens and samples, in a smaller number of countries to establish high-throughput genomics facilities for barcoding and metabarcoding, around BOLD and mBRAVE to increase capacity and enrich function, and internationally to support research, including taxonomic activity, to respond to the flood of new data.

To date, the majority of funding for iBOL has been contributed by the Canadian government and other funders through CBG in Guelph. BIOSCAN needs to diversify the funding streams to support international expansion of its activities and to ensure sustainability of the infrastructure and services. Different funding sources are likely to be suitable for different aspects of the program. Clear fundable proposals will be developed for all of these, and the iBOL community will collaborate in seeking the resources required for each aspect.

Over time, as the barcode reference library approaches completion, and as processes and pipelines become more standardised and widely adopted, many of the BIOSCAN deliverables will no longer require ongoing investment. However, certain components, including the barcode reference library and tools for its curation and management (corresponding to BOLD today) and the engines for interpretation of metabarcoding data (corresponding to mBRAVE), will remain important tools for research and applied use. BIOSCAN must therefore develop a sustainability plan and long-term governance model for these critical deliverables and a lifecycle plan for all components, to ensure that capabilities and services are not interrupted.

  1. Ensure that BIOSCAN has a governance model that distributes ownership and trust across the consortium: Maximise participation and sustainability through shared ownership of the vision, products and outcomes.
  2. Plan the life cycle for all major components of the BIOSCAN infrastructure globally, ensuring that operationally important capabilities and services are maintained: Avoid failure of trusted infrastructure by forward planning and sustainable planning for key components and services.
  3. Ensure that the barcode reference library and the linkage between barcode records and specimens is robust and supported by digital repositories with long-term funding: Ensure persistence of the library of reference sequences as these serve as the trusted basis for species identifications.
  4. Develop clear value propositions for investments in all aspects of BIOSCAN, including field collection, sequencing, bioinformatics, and preservation of materials and DNA: Work collaboratively across the iBOL consortium to expand and diversify the funding base for BIOSCAN.
  5. Collaborate internationally to develop and submit well-designed proposals that contribute to the implementation of this strategic plan: Submit funding applications to suitable sources internationally and as a means to multiple core facilities to underpin BIOSCAN.
  6. Focus on establishing at least one genomics centre elsewhere in the world from CBG, to increase capacity and to add redundancy: Avoid the risks associated with reliance on a single centre for delivering capacity for BIOSCAN.