Earth is a fascinating place where millions of different organisms live together. It is also the only world we have got, and that makes a good reason for taking good care of it. Science is far from having discovered and described all organisms existing on Earth, however, it is evident that biodiversity is under serious threat from Global Change. So how are we going to meet this challenge? As a first step it is imperative to educate a new generation of biologists specializing in taxonomy, the science of species and their evolutionary relationships. This is something that the Convention on Biological Diversity, and associated Global Taxonomy Initiative agree upon, and numerous states have signed these treaties.
The Nordic Academy of Biodiversity and Systematics Studies is a committee organising an international master’s programme in biodiversity and systematics, given in English. The programme is a collaboration between leading universities in Sweden (Lund University, Stockholm University, University of Gothenburg, and Uppsala University), Denmark (University of Copenhagen) and Norway (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Oslo University). The students are admitted to the university where they are undertaking their thesis project but courses are hosted by the individual universities.
The main role of NABiS is to ensure a high quality education and serve as the link between course activities and administrative structures at the universities and faculties. Each of the participating universities appoints a teacher to sit in the NABiS committee. In addition, there is a student representative, elected by his or her fellow students.
NABiS was established in 2012 and since then, about 25-30 students have graduated with a master’s degree. About 10 students are admitted annually but there is room for expansion.
The responsibility for coordination of NABiS rotates from university to university, with University of Gothenburg holding the reigns in 2012 – 2014, Uppsala University in 2015 – 2017 and at present, Lund University in 2018 – 2020. Decision on the next coordinator is made prior to the of the ongoing period.