Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

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Science & conservation

The IPR team recognised the significant scientific expertise of the research staff, and the enormous value of the collection across the Trust’s three sites. The Review stated that ‘the institution’s activities in plant systematics and taxonomy are one of the most important in Australasia’.

Recommendation 8

Integration of disciplines (systematics/evolution, ecology and conservation biology) should continuously be developed to ensure the provision of an up to date scientific basis for conservation and sustainable use measures in plants. It will also ensure that the organisation can take part in shaping future developments of systematics and plant diversity science at the evolution-ecology interface.

Response

The Trust agrees in principle with this aspiration and will explore how this might be enhanced during the strategic planning process that has commenced. In addition the Trust will continue to encourage collaborative, cross-disciplinary projects and will look at how such collaborations may be monitored and assessed as part of the performance management process and during recruitment processes.

Recommendation 9

A focus on plant diversity in NSW and Australia is important but should be complemented by thematic research (including appropriate capacity building) in a wider geographic context.

Response

The Trust agrees in principle with this recommendation and will pursue options using the Strategic Planning Committee. The Trust notes that ongoing financial support will be required to enhance opportunities for scientific staff to undertake collaborative projects with national and international peers.

Recommendation 10

Structure Public Programs organisationally separate from Science and Conservation.

Response

The Trustees concur with this recommendation.

Recommendation 11

Develop a clear direction for the Science Advisory Committee. Its work should emphasise science strategic planning (including collections).

Response

The Trust agrees with this recommendation and will explore the role, governance arrangements and membership of the Science Advisory Committee.

Recommendation 12

Clarify the relationship with universities, for mutual benefit developed on a clear legal basis.

Response

The Trust agrees with this recommendation.

Recommendation 13

Further develop an integrative science strategy that includes a perspective for taxonomy and supports the development of thematic research areas where Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust can excel nationally and internationally.

Response

The Trust agrees in principle with this recommendation and will explore its options during the strategic planning process that has commenced.

Recommendation 14

Adjust organisational structures in the science department.

The Trust acknowledges this recommendation and notes that all organisational structures, including those within the current Science and Public Programs branch, will be reviewed as an output of the Strategic Planning Committee.

Recommendation 15

Improve building facilities for molecular laboratories.

Response

The Trust acknowledges this recommendation and notes that this is essentially a funding/resource issue; however, mechanisms for addressing this will be considered by the Strategic Planning Committee. It should also be noted that additional molecular facilities will be constructed with the completion of PlantBank.

Recommendation 16

Seed conservation should be complemented by molecular work to address within-species diversity in an effort of developing and implementing complementary ex situ and in situ measures.

Response

The Trust agrees in principle with this recommendation.

Recommendation 17

Develop a strategy for the journals Cunninghamia and Telopea.

Response

The Trust agrees in principle with this recommendation.

Recommendation 18

Create an integrated collection strategy for all biological collections, with scientific curation of the living collections done by qualified scientists.

Response

The Trust agrees in principle with this recommendation and notes that, as for many of the IPR’s other recommendations pertaining to better integrating the functions and structure of the organisation, this will be reviewed as part of the strategic planning process that has commenced. As a first step in implementing this recommendation, the Gardens' Information Officers have been moved into the Science branch.

Recommendation 19

Improve herbarium facilities to ensure a temperature and humidity controlled environment.

Response

The Trust agrees with this recommendation and notes that this will be considered as a top priority in light of the ongoing beetle infestation.

Recommendation 20

DNA-bank facilities should be further developed and organisationally linked with respective herbarium collections.

Response

The Trust agrees with this recommendation.

 

IPR