Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, FAS, on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, flagged off a 3-day Capacity Building Workshop on Applications of Digitized Biodiversity Data for Enhanced Policy Making in Conservation, with a call on stakeholders to foster cooperation so as to engender global relevance of Biodiversity data across Nigerian Ivory towers.
Speaking at the Boardroom of the Research Management Office, University of Lagos, venue of the 3-day workshop which centres on “Expanding the visibility of the Lagos Herbarium through Digitization and Mobilization of Plant Specimen Data”, Prof. Ogundipe emphasized that UNILAG has, in the last 5 years, won several grants from the Global Biodiversity Information Fund (GBIF), a feat which, according to him, has aided research efforts in collection, publication and digitization of both animals and plants species.
The Vice-Chancellor, identified the UNILAG Herbarium as one of the very few in Nigeria with up-to-date data on its collections, a feat he attributed to the astuteness of Researchers and Eggheads in the Department of Botany.
He also commended the Department for its sterling efforts in the collation, promotion, preservation and digitization of Biodiversity data as exemplified with the training of over 150 individuals across Nigeria in Biodiversity data management as well as mobilization of 10,000 different species across Lagos State.
Prof. Ogundipe expressed hopes that the training workshop will promote collaboration among researchers, students, conservationists and policy makers as they gather more capacities in modeling, digitization and assessing the conservation status of plants and animal species.
In her remarks, Plant Taxonomist /Medicinal Plants Researcher and Representative of Global Biodiversity Information Fund (GBIF), Professor Omokafe Ugbogu commended the management of the University of Lagos and its researchers for the efforts in Biodiversity Data Preservation.
Speaking virtually, the Herbarium Curator at the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria noted that the achievements of UNILAG in the digitization of Biodiversity Data will go a long way to improve access to Biodiversity data, increase the relevance of Global Biodiversity Information Fund (GBIF), encourage research efforts as well as promote collaboration among researchers.
The 3-day Capacity Building Workshop on Applications of Digitized Biodiversity Data for Enhanced Policy Making in Conservation, according to the Principal Investigator, Dr Temitope Onuminya, is a project funded by the European Union alongside other international partners with the aim of digitizing Biodiversity Data.
In her opening remarks, Dr Onuminya who spoke on behalf of the GBIF-BIDS team, identified access as a major challenge in the promotion and preservation of Biodiversity Data, a development which she said, frustrates research efforts thereby leading to insufficient Biodiversity Information to policy makers/formulators and could be addressed through the digitization of Biodiversity data.
There were remarks by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics and Research; Professor Bola Oboh who also spoke virtually, Head of Department of Botany, Professor Omobolanle Ade- Ademilua, Deputy Director, Research Management Office, Dr Abidemi Akindele who represented the Director, Prof. Timothy Nubi and the Director, School of Foundation Studies, Professor Solomon Akinboye.
They all gave thumbs up to the Vice-Chancellor for promoting and reengineering the wheel of a more vibrant research culture in UNILAG, a feat which they said, has repositioned the University among the comity of Ivory towers globally.
The workshop, according to them, will help promote the accessibility to and applicability of Biodiversity Data in critical areas of National development as well as enhance the visibility of UNILAG as a leading light in Research and Innovation.