Call for Applications for SANBI-GBIF Training

Call for Applications for SANBI-GBIF Training in Analytical Techniques in Biodiversity Big Data using GBIF-Making an Impact

DATE: 26-30 June 2023

Venue: The Iziko South African Museums, Cape Town

Deadline for submissions: 11th April 2023

Background and Course Content

SANBI-GBIF in collaboration with GBIF-Spain is hosting a training workshop focused on analytical techniques in using biodiversity big data. SANBI is the home of the South African Node of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and is funded by the Department of Science and Innovation. Its vision is to contribute to South Africa’s sustainable development by facilitating access to biodiversity and related information on the internet. This course ties into SANBI-GBIF’s strategy to develop biodiversity informatics skills nationally.

The vast quantities of biodiversity data put together in a uniform, FAIR way, and now available, in part led by GBIF, is recognized as an enabler of high impact innovative science, and a key to respond to the current societal challenges. However, the exploitation of this resource is often hindered by limited capacity.

SANBI-GBIF in Partnership with GBIF Spain are exploring ways of using big data analytics to ena-ble the mining of the data, and the identification of some key tools, techniques and approaches that can be used to ask some pertinent research questions related to time, space and taxonomy.

The contents of the course will include aspects such as the GBIF API, the use of Jupyter note-books, using big data analytic techniques to manage aspects of data quality like time, space and taxonomy, data visualisation, species and ecosystem assessments, conservation planning and species distribution modelling using deep learning approaches.

Workshop Information

This course will include trainers from GBIF South Africa and GBIF Spain including key experts from the University of Cantabria and University of Cape Town (SEEC), with expertise in Data Science and Big Data Analytics.

The workshop will take place at the IZIKO South African Museum, from the 26 June-30 June 2023. The course will be conducted in English.

Target Audience and Minimum requirements for participants

The target audience for this course would include stakeholders from research organisations, museums, herbaria, provincial organisations, government officials, biodiversity information practitioners, academics, and students dealing with biodiversity data use and analysis.

Minimum Requirements

  • Relevant bachelor’s degree in natural or earth science such as biology, botany, zoology, forestry, geography, or a related field of biodiversity informatics, or Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Participants have found some prior experience in using R is helpful for this course, although this is not a requirement.
  • Criteria for selection of participants will include:
    • Relevance of work / study to the course.
    • Commitment to apply and disseminate skills.
  • An effort will be made to ensure there is a racial, gender and national institutional representation among the participants

Application Process

To apply, please follow the link to complete the application form and submit the form with the required documents listed below. Please name each document clearly. Files must be <10MB. Applications close at 18:00 on 11th April 2023. Feedback will be provided by the 31st April 2023

Application pack

The application pack must include:

  • A completed application form (use the link above)
  • A motivation (one page or less)
  • If applying for funding, a separate short motivation
  • A letter of support from your supervisor or institution
  • A copy of your CV

Note that these documents will be used exclusively for the evaluation of applications and verification of eligibility and will not be distributed or used for any other purpose.


No registration fee will be charged for the course. Refreshments and lunch will be provided. Participants are required to arrange their own transport and accommodation. Participants will need to have the use of a laptop throughout the training. SANBI-GBIF will consider applications for financial assistance for a limited number of participants. If assistance is available, expenses covered include economy airfare, accommodation, and ground transport. Bookings will be made by the SANBI-GBIF office. If you require funding, please indicate this on the application document.

For any queries please contact Fatima Parker-Allie at SANBI, Cape Town