A Decadal Plan for taxonomy and systematics in Australia and New Zealand

Taxonomy and systematics is a foundational science for all biodiversity sciences, and yet throughout the world it is consistently poorly funded, often with declining funds through time. Working with colleagues in the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH), Council of Heads of Australian Faunal Collections (CHAFC), Australasian Systematic Botany Society (ASBS) and Society of Australian Systematic Biologists (SASB), I'm working towards the preparation of a Decadal Plan for our discipline in Australia and New Zealand.

The Plan will be bold, visionary and positive, and will provide a strong value proposition for our discipline, an analysis of trends, challenges, opportunities and big picture questions, and a roadmap for future developments. In many ways taxonomy and systematics in Australia and New Zealand are ahead of the world; the Decadal Plan will be a means to build on the discipline's achievements, and to help provide career futures for our many brilliant students and early career researchers.

Other disciplines in Australia have prepared Decadal Plans, many under the auspices of, and with part-funding from, the Australian Academy of Science. We plan to model a Decadal Plan for taxonomy and systematics on the Decadal Plan for Australian Astrononomy (2016-2025). This plan, we feel, strikes the right balance in tone and style, and is an excellent model.

The plan is to complete the Plan by end-2016. Steps along the way will include extensive consultation both within our profession and in our user community, development of exposure drafts, workshops, and online surveys to gauge experiences, ideas, and capacity in our institutions.

More to come soon...