In December 2019, SBIF presented a programme proposal to the Scottish Government outlining the investment necessary to implement the SBIF Review recommendations, see the SBIF Review Programme Proposal (RPP) 2019 below. This bid for a large amount of funding was unsuccessful. However, SBIF were asked to develop a smaller and shorter project and to resubmit this. This proposal, called the Better Biodiversity Data Project, is currently awaiting final approval from the project owner (the NBN Trust) pending final funding approval from the Scottish Government. It is hoped we will be able to formally announce the initiation of the project early in 2022. This project focuses on delivering a limited number of actions from the SBIF Recommendations that are deliverable within a 2-year project window, these are;

  • The project will establish a National Biodiversity Data Hub for Scotland that can provide leadership and coordination to support delivery of biodiversity data at both national and regional levels. The project will work with LERCs and Recording Groups to explore the scope of forming a Consortium (similar to LERC Wales) to form the basis of this National Hub. 
  • The project will also implement a shared online data management system for primary use by the LERCs.
  • At the end of the project, a single, standardised data product will be made available nationally.

It is hoped that the BBD will be a springboard to deliver the other SBIF Recommendations as detailed in the SBIF RPP 2019.

The SBIF RPP 2019 is currently under review and will be rewritten taking on board the initiation of and lessons learned from the Better Biodiversity Data Project, new developments in data management within and affecting Scotland and with a new timeline for delivery, particularly with respect to the new Scottish Biodiversity Strategy 2030. The revised SBIF RPP will still seek to transform our recording infrastructure and catalyse long-term funding from other sectors.

The SBIF RPP 2019 set out six projects that would undertake the necessary transformation by 2025. The first project is focussed on the necessary feasibility studies and project development.  This sets the foundations for the next project to establish the National and Regional Hubs.  A further project then develops a shared technical road map and invests in our Super Partners who provide invaluable Infrastructure support and services across Scotland.  The newly established National and Regional Hubs will then have the capacity to undertake three projects to facilitate improved data flows, develop value-added services, and build capacity with recording groups and community groups to maximise engagement and participation.

It was proposed that a small Programme Team of five programme staff would work alongside five National Hub staff (recruited early in the Programme) so that the Programme Team had sufficient capacity and capability to plan and implement the first tranche of work. Once the first tranche had been undertaken, the National and Regional Hub Teams would resource the planning and implementation of the second tranche.

The total investment required to undertake the programme was estimated at £15.2 million over five years (£3.05 million per year from 2020/21 to 2024/25 to cover salary costs and a contribution to Super Partner Platforms), with an ongoing cost of £2.88 million per annum thereafter.

   SBIF Review Programme Proposal – Investing in Nature: Evidence