Natural History Museum to lead new national programme to digitise the UK’s natural science collections

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Funding of £155 million for a 10-year programme has been announced by the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology as part of the UKRI Infrastructure Fund. The programme will digitise collections; applying AI tools and related technologies to create vast data sets and unlock the impact of collections data in supporting research and collaboration on critical issues including the environmental emergency.

DiSSCo UK builds on scoping work including research into how UK digital natural science collections are already being used to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of research: Hardy et al 2023.

NatSCA will collaborate with NHM and project partners to support organisations of varying sizes to engage with digitisation opportunities. This includes an initial period of detailed planning, subject to project approvals, before these opportunities are released, to ensure DiSSCo UK considers the needs of the UK natural science collections community.

A key aim is to digitise a significant proportion of the UK’s natural science collections – with scope for organisations of different sizes to be involved, and varying scales of participation.

The NHM’s DiSSCo team will be presenting at NatSCA’s annual conference, being held at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History 17th to 18th April 2024. This will also offer an opportunity for attendees to network with the team.

NatSCA will also forward opportunities to our wider community as these arise.

Helen Hardy, Laurence Livermore, Ken Norris, Jennifer Pullar, Vincent S. Smith, & Paul Kersey. (2023). Users and Uses of Natural History Collections - A Summary (1.1 - updates citation for longer version). Zenodo.