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The KOM was held at the NHM London on 18-19 February 2019.  The meeting brought together a total of 62 delegates representing 31 participating institutions.  The aim was to communicate and consolidate project aims, consider strategic alignment with the wider European and global landscape, and facilitate networking and discussion between project participants.

The first AGM was due to be held at the ZFMK, Bonn on the 28-29 April 2020. However due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was not possible to hold a physical meeting as planned. It was proposed by the NHM Management Team that the meeting go ahead anyway virtually, and the meeting took place successfully via Zoom with a slightly reduced agenda on 28-29 April 2020.  The meeting brought together a total of 58 delegates representing 27 participating institutions. The aim was to communicate project progress across all work packages, consider strategic alignment with the wider European and global landscape, and facilitate discussion between project participants.

  • NA1.5 - 1.8 Risk assessments and risk planning

A comprehensive risk register was compiled at the outset of the project consisting of 49 risks in total which were split into Access and management (20 risks), NA (17) and JRA (12).  For each identified risk, a likelihood level was applied (high/medium/low), a severity level was applied (minor/medium/serious/very serious), and a countermeasure strategy including responses (mitigation/avoidance/transfer/acceptance) was described.  The register is regularly reviewed and is included as a standing item on the quarterly Executive Board meetings. The only unforeseen risk added to the risk register is that of the global COVID-19 pandemic. This has been incorporated in the Deliverable 1.8 July 2020 version, and was included in the risk register. 

  • NA2.1: Harmonisation of policies and best standards

Task 2.1 will use the key policy areas identified in ICEDIG Deliverable 7.1 ‘Policy component of ICEDIG project’ ( as a basis for exploring possible policy requirements and developing harmonisation criteria on two levels: 1) operation of DiSSCo services and 2) institutional activities for alignment with other DiSSCo institutes. From this harmonisation criteria will be defined and translated into a metadata schema.

The aim of the CDD is to provide a dynamic window for stakeholders to discover the contents of European NSCs (Natural Science Collections, both digitised and undigitised), as well as a tool for digitisation prioritisation and high-level decision making. The Joint Dashboard of Collections Assessment Tools report can be read here. 

​The NA are working on harmonising, grouping and disseminating best practices already adopted by European NSCs. Data on existing policies, best practices and standards has been analysed to identify gaps, and to support a toolkit for institutions to self-assess digital collections policies. A fully functional pilot dashboard provides a dynamic window on NSCs for stakeholders as well as a tool for digitisation prioritisation.

  • NA2.3: Develop focused training activities

This task tackles both TA and VA needs by supporting the DiSSCo community in acquiring digital (data) skills and competencies that enable individuals/researchers/curators to navigate collections information effectively, as well as optimise access and utilisation of Natural History (NH) collections. 

The training topics presented by partners at the meeting included: collection care for physical collections; digitisation DCOLL (German Natural Sciences Collections as an Integrated Research Infrastructure), and targeting Nagoya Protocol; trainings on barcoding/biology/bioinformatics; trainings on the use and curation of biocultural (ethnobiological) collections; trainings on best practice in plant tissue collection and preservation; training modules on implications of the Nagoya Protocol for researchers; GBIF presented the BID Capacity Enhancement Workshop: Biodiversity Data Mobilization. More information:

The Deliverable for this is still in progress, with a deadline of January 2021. 

  • NA4.1: Biodiversity data standards.

Landscape analysis and compliance: A standards compliance dashboard has been established (Milestone MS39): (

Wikibase has been explored as a standards development tool: Wikibase on the Collections Description standard is now available (


17 institutions have implemented the CETAF stable identifier, of which 9 have achieved the highest level of standards compliance. Based on the CETAF stable identifiers, a catalogue of Linked Open Data (LOD) specimens is developed (cfr. Botany Pilot). An RDF triple store4 is developed that contains the specimens of institutes that are at level 2 of the CETAF identifiers (currently 6 partners). More information on the catalogue can be found here:

During this subtask, 3 partners (BGBM, RBGE and BGM) semantically enriched their data with stable identifiers for collectors. This pilot project shows the power of being able to aggregate specimens based on semantically enriched data field. Currently, the JACQ system ( is able to aggregate information on collectors from different LOD sources and display the specimens collected in the different collections.

This deliverable serves as a guideline to collections managers/curators to implement a stable identifier for the physical specimen. It describes the steps needed to implement the identifiers as well as a technical guideline. All information is also available in great detail on the Biowikifarm:

In a next phase, we will focus on enriching geographic locations (using stable identifiers like GeoNames). 

  • NA5: Development of Ideas Paper to frame discussion for online workshop

This deliverable is pending. 

ELViS is implementing a one-stop shop for researchers to provide open access to over 490 million specimens at 21 institutions. User needs have been inventoried through a survey (148 responses) to collect user stories in preparation for a ELViS System Design Workshop (MS47).

Work to date includes: A “Landscape Analysis for the Specimen Data Refinery” report (D8.1).

Segmentation of the 3D tomography data (micro-CT) takes a lot of human interaction time and slows down the micro-CT pipeline. The use of Dragonfly  ORS (Object Research Systems) segmentation software on large complicated datasets is a promising technique for speeding up this process. 

TA1: Trans-national Access (TA):

Trans-national Access is the SYNTHESYS+ work package that allows researchers from around the world to undertake short research visits to access SYNTHESYS+ consortium collections. Award funding is allocated competitively. More information can be found here. 

Completed work to date includes: MS63 (TA Call 1), MS64 (TA Call 2)

VA1: Virtual Access (VA):

19 SYNTHESYS+ partners are offering Virtual Access (VA) to their collections by piloting a 'Digitisation on Demand' (DoD) model.

Completed milestones for Virtual Access include: MS71 (VA Call 1)

Upcoming milestones include: MS53 (VA Call 1 Progress monitoring); MS72 (VA Call 2)


Smaller key outputs in the project timetable are known as 'milestones'. There are many of these across the project lifecycle; notable ones are included below.  Click on each Milestone title to view the report. 

Our reportage

The SYNTHESYS+ project runs for four years, between 2019 - 2023.

We will update this page regularly to show an up-to-date list of Milestones and Deliverables.

Deliverables can be research papers, meeting notes, the development of new protocols and technologies. 

Notable Milestones can be found at the bottom of this page.