5 November 2021
Kew’s collections to go digital
Kew is receiving funding from the UK Government to help digitise the Herbarium and Fungarium collections
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Clarke, has confirmed that Kew will receive £15 million in funding to support the digitisation and long term protection of Kew's Herbarium and Fungarium collections.
The funding, which was announced on a visit to Kew Gardens yesterday, will allow vast amounts of data to be unlocked from over 8 million plant and fungal specimens.
This data will be made freely available to researchers around the world, creating a valuable global online resource for tackling biodiversity loss and climate change.
It has long been an ambition of Kew to fully digitise the collections and is an initiative laid out in Kew’s Science Strategy 2021 – 2025.
Director of Kew Gardens, Richard Deverell, said:
“I am absolutely delighted that the British Government has committed funds to initiate digitisation of Kew’s globally unique plant collections and help secure them for future generations. These collections contain unparalleled data on a diverse range of plant and fungal species that will help scientists around the world conserve nature and find solutions to some of the most critical challenges facing humanity.”
Kew’s Herbarium and Fungarium collections
Kew houses the world’s largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections.
Specimens held within them have been collected from around the world by Kew scientists, partners and even Charles Darwin.
The collections are a treasure trove of information which underpin much of Kew’s scientific research and are used to identify species, understand extinction risks and the evolution of plants and fungi.