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Science and Horticulture Systems

Part of institutional IT and DM Strategy Programme, charged with a comprehensive overhaul of science and horticulture information systems at Kew. The project underpins Kew’s ability to effectively and efficiently manage and analyse plant and fungal data.
 

The Science and Horticulture Systems (SHS) Project is one of the component projects of Kew’s IT and DM Strategy Programme, which is charged with modernising, integrating and streamlining all of Kew’s information systems so that they are capable of supporting and enabling RBG Kew’s mission, business aims, and objectives, as expressed through the Breathing Planet Programme. SHS is addressing science and horticulture information systems, of which an estimated c30 major systems exist managing several millions of records of data across all aspects of Kew’s activity.

RBG Kew has for several decades successfully developed a variety of information systems to support departmental and project initiatives in science and horticulture. As demands on these systems have grown, and their numbers increased, a fundamental drawback has become increasingly apparent. Although the systems fulfill their original purpose, they have been designed to support individual initiatives and are poorly integrated with each other. For the most part they are separate silos of information. As a result of this, data are duplicated and quality suffers; staff find themselves rekeying data and querying multiple databases with varying interfaces; IT staff struggle to support the plethora of systems; time is wasted and the full potential of Kew’s science and horticultural data remains unfulfilled.

The objectives of the project are therefore to

  • Document the existing major information systems, data and requirements of science and horticulture at Kew
  • Design an integrated and efficient logical solution encompassing software and data which will meet these requirement
  • Select the best technology to deliver this logical solution
  • Identify how delivery can be broken down into modules, and which are the priority elements
  • Deliver the modules
  • Train Kew IT and science and horticulture staff to support and effectively exploit the new systems
  • Do the above with minimal disruption of Kew’s business operations during the transition

The project is a significant undertaking and underpins Kew’s ability to effectively and efficiently manage and analyse data about plant and fungal diversity and conservation.

Project funders

UK

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Project team

Business and Corporate Services

Abigail Barker, Mark Jackson, Mike Saunders

Conservation, Living Collections and Estates

John Dickie, Tim Entwisle, Steve Ruddy

Executive Directorate

Steve Hopper

Herbarium, Library, Art & Archives

Bob Allkin, Alan Paton

Science Teams: 
Project Leader: