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Strategic Plan 2000 – 2004

[From 1993-2010 the Centre was known as the 'The Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research' (CPBR), this is an archive document.]


Vision and Mission    

Strategic Plan Flow Chart

The Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research

Centre Goals  

Research in Systematics and Conservation Biology  - ( Programs A and B )

Australian National Herbarium and Data Management  - ( Programs C ) 

Education, Publicity and Community Liaison  -  (Program E )

Resources Management  - (People, Facilities and Finances) 


Expanding knowledge of Australian plant biodiversity knowledge scientific excellence, leadership and innovation in plant systematics, and conservation and evolutionary biology.


To enhance knowledge, understanding, conservation and sustainable utilisation of Australia’s plant biodiversity.

Strategic Plan Flow Chart

The Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research

The Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research (CPBR) was established in 1993 as a joint venture between CSIRO’s Plant Industry and Environment Australia’s Biodiversity Group. This collaboration created an institute with a high national and international profile in the areas of Australian plant biodiversity research and collections and botanical database management. It also allowed for a diverse range of staff, cultures and interests to converge, a circumstance, which is proving increasingly beneficial to the Centre’s productivity and placement within national and international circles.

Critical to the Centre’s future are the ongoing partnerships with clients and stakeholders. The Centre’s high quality research, its placement as a national body and its national coordinating abilities, are the Centre’s primary attractions to external organisations. Essential to ongoing external interest in the Centre is the maintenance of good levels of communication with these external parties, to enable the Centre to anticipate and respond to current and future developments within the biodiversity sector. Also crucial to the Centre’s future is the ability to deliver research results and Centre products to the wider community, thus encouraging biodiversity awareness and support among clients, stakeholders and the community.

The Centre works within a collaborative environment, enjoying the cooperation of other national and international institutions and individuals. These include other research institutes, educational facilities and bodies which work to develop national and international standards for collection and database management and transfer.

The Centre aims primarily towards assisting with the development of sound practices and techniques to utilise, manage and conserve the Australian flora. This is achieved through Centre research, specimen maintenance and collection, efficient data management practices, the development of Centre products and the promotion of Centre research results and facilities. The Centre aims to improve in all such areas of operation, so as to more effectively contribute to the knowledge base of Australian Biodiversity research and management.

Centre Goals

     to be a National Centre of research excellence in the fields of plant systematics and conservation  biology, as a basis for conservation and sustainable management and use of Australian vegetation

     to develop and manage scientific collections of Australian and related floras as the Australian National Herbarium, a permanent record of Australian plant diversity, and as a resource for research on these floras, and to provide the scientific authenticity of the ANBG

     to provide a national focus for and play a role in national botanical database management, and to represent and promote Australia internationally within the botanical database management field

     to pursue research, education and training relevant to Centre programs and objectives

     to ensure that the two parties add value to each other and the Centre, through their differing backgrounds and disciplines, and, through the Centre, serve the Parent Bodies and stakeholders, including the Living Collections of the Parties, and

     to maximise the benefits flowing from applications of Centre Intellectual Property

Research in Systematics and Conservation Biology

(Programs A and B)

The Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research maintains two broad research programs aimed at furthering the understanding of Australian plant diversity and its conservation for the national benefit.

Program A pursues a systematics approach to its primary goal of determining the biological diversity, distribution, phylogenetic inter-relationships and population genetics of native genera and species of the Australian flora. The research accomplished within this Program provides the core knowledge required for the effective understanding, management and sustainable use of Australia’s biodiversity. This Program relies upon the resources of the Australian National Herbarium in order to answer the basic questions it focuses upon: What are the taxa represented? What are their geographic and ecological distributions? What are their evolutionary and phytogeographic relationships?

Research Program B has as its primary focus the conservation and evolutionary biology of Australian plants. Projects include the study of population dynamics, genetic diversity and the responses of Australian flora to the effects of fire, invasive species, fragmentation and disease. The results of this research are utilised in the development of effective strategies for the conservation of plant species, integrated land use and revegetation projects. This program also conducts research into the use of wild plants as genetic resources for the improvement of agricultural and industrial productivity, research that will aid in improving the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of the Australian agricultural industry.


      To provide the scientific basis for the systematic classification, conservation, use and sustainable management of the Australian flora

      To facilitate and assist with the development of ecologically sound management strategies and products, for the use and conservation of Australia’s natural resources

      To facilitate the improvement and greater sustainability, competitiveness and productivity of plant-based industries through the use of molecular biological techniques

      To develop diverse, high quality products for the benefit and use of stakeholders, clients, collaborators and the public

      To undertake individual and collaborative research of the highest possible international standards

Outcomes and Implementation Strategies


Ongoing Production of Botanical Research Results of a High Standard

Implementation Strategies:


      conducting high-quality research into the systematics and evolution, diversity and conservation biology of plants and fungi


      providing effective and appropriate resources to enable Centre research

Staff Training

      ongoing identification of individual training and development needs and ready access to, and facilitation of, such training

Monitoring and Evaluation Systems

      continuing preparation of individual learning and workplans - to be revised and reviewed annually

      preparation and regular review of project workplans

      ongoing regular reviews of research programs

      submission of performance reports for external grant-funded research as required

Attracting External Funding, Grants and Collaborative Support

      maintaining the high quality and quantity of Centre research

      ensuring Centre research results are adequately publicised

      maintaining existing collaborative strategies to attract high quality visiting scientists and students to the Centre

      encouraging staff to compete for external funding

      encouraging the involvement of external agencies in the development of research priorities and directions

Balance of Research and Technical Staff

      maintaining the balance of research and support staff in order to allow the optimal use of available resources

      seeking additional funding for the creation of new research and technical positions


      continuing to attract and retain high quality staff and students to the Centre through reputation and practice


Effective Communication of the Centre’s Research Outcomes, that Assist in the Development of Ecologically Sound Flora Management and Conservation Strategies

Implementation Strategies:

Presentation and Delivery of Research Results

      organising and participating in seminar series, national conferences and workshops run by the Centre

      presenting findings at externally organised conferences, seminars, lecture series and national and international scientific meetings

      publishing scientific papers, books, book chapters, journal articles and popular articles

      disseminating the results of relevant research via the World Wide Web

      organising seminars specifically for colleagues and management to inform them of the results and outcomes of our biodiversity research


Research and Information Outputs from the Centre that Reflect the Needs of Clients, Researchers, Environmental Decision-Makers, Land Managers and the Community

Implementation Strategies:


      applying new methods of biodiversity research to improve product quality features, and efficiency and sustainability of agricultural production systems

      conducting a wide range of strategic and applied research projects that will address the existing and future problems of Australian native ecosystem management

Centre Products

      enhancing the transfer of essential systematics knowledge through the development of user-friendly computer based interactive systems for identifying ecologically and economically significant plant groups

Involvement of External Bodies

      continuing involvement of members of the Centre’s stakeholder community in the setting of future Centre directions

      identifying the needs of stakeholders, clients and user groups in the setting of future research directions

      ongoing development of effective communications between researchers and land managers, decision-makers, clients and the community

      ongoing development of cooperative links at the initiation of research projects


      seeking feedback from users on the effective use of research results

      organising workshops based on Centre products

Representation on Policy-Making Bodies

      continuing representation of Centre research staff on policy making advisory bodies


The Maintenance and Development of Mutually Productive Collaborative Programs and Projects with National and International Institutions and Individuals

Implementation Strategies:

Collaborative Programs

      establishing strategic alliances and developing and maintaining national and international collaborative multi-disciplinary research programs for economic and community benefit, through continued high quality research and communication

      ongoing encouragement of collaborations with universities and educational institutions through the maintenance of existing student levels within the Centre and the continuing provision of high quality student supervision

Australian National Herbarium
Research Collections and Information Management

(Program C)

The Australian National Herbarium (ANH) is a collection of geographically and taxonomically representative botanical specimens of Australian and overseas flora. The material held within the ANH is important both as a permanent record of Australia’s plant diversity, and as a resource for strategic research into the plant biodiversity of this country.  The ANH holds and manages the voucher collections of the Australian National Botanic Gardens and through its botanical databases provides the scientific authenticity for Gardens collections and information programs.

A major function of staff is the curation of the collection. This includes the processes of acquisition, documentation and the ongoing maintenance and updating of the collection, all of which function to maintain collection reliability. The Herbarium also fulfils a service role through the loan and exchange programs it maintains with other national and international institutions, and through its identification services.

The Australian National Herbarium, in conjunction with the Australian National Botanic Gardens, is also responsible for the Public Reference Herbarium and Public Enquiry Services available through the Gardens. Herbarium staff also take charge of a variety of external professional enquiry services, and, in conjunction with Program E, which coordinates the Centre’s outreach activities, runs the highly regarded student and volunteer programs.

A significant responsibility of the Centre is the establishment and maintenance of flexible and efficient databases of botanical information. These databases are made accessible to researchers, the government and the community, and provide a valuable source of information for research, environmental management, and for public knowledge.

The Internet and the World Wide Web are utilised in order to make Centre research results and botanical information available to the scientific community. The end results of this expanding availability of information are a greater degree of scientific collaboration and a corresponding reduction in the duplication of effort.

The Centre provides a national focus and coordinating role in national database management. A major concern in this area is the implementation of common standards and conventions which will enable the use of larger aggregate datasets from several institutions. Staff are actively involved in the development and implementation of both national and international standards for data exchange, which will allow for greater ease of information exchange for both internal and external users.


      To strategically expand, develop and manage the Australian National Herbarium collections and associated databases, as a resource for research on Australian and related floras

      To promote and maintain the ANH biological collections as a permanent record of Australian plant diversity and as an information resource for the conservation and sustainable management of the Australian flora

      To increase the accessibility to existing holdings and associated databases of Australian and related floras for research, for the development of commercial opportunities, for environmental management and for public use

      To liaise with national and international groups, and to meet our obligations and play a coordinating role in, the documentation and conservation of the diversity of Australia’s natural ecosystems

      To document, house and authenticate the permanent scientific voucher collection of the Australian National Botanic Gardens

Outcomes and Implementation Strategies


Maintaining to a High International Standard, the Efficiency and Effectiveness of the Data- and Collection-Management Practices of the Centre

Implementation Strategies:

Training and Development

      ongoing identification of individual training and development needs and facilitation of such training

      training of staff in curatorial techniques and database systems

Collection Management Practices

      maintaining an effective strategic field work program to acquire a comprehensive representation of our national flora

      curating a world standard collection of herbarium specimens under stable archival conditions, to maximise accessibility

      continuing whole taxa curation procedures documentation

      finalising procedures documentation

      maintaining type specimen collection and review procedures

      maintaining and increasing promptness of taxonomic curation with respect to recent authoritative literature

      reducing heritage backlog of curation and data capture

      integrating group curators into service provision and curatorial team-leadership roles

      developing strategic curation priority lists for the Herbarium

      developing and implementing disaster preparedness and recovery plans

Database Management Practices

      maintaining an integrated centralised database

      ongoing integration and refinement of two original computer systems

      identifying priority groups for database entry on a centralised, whole-taxon basis

      seeking additional resources in order to reduce existing database backlog

      developing and implementing new loans and exchange database

      ongoing development of software and hardware systems aimed at increasing operational efficiency

      developing and maintaining authoritative integrated databases of taxonomic, bibliographical and census information for Australian and regional plants

ANBG Services

      identifying, maintaining and housing reliably identified vouchers for the plants growing in the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG)

      maintaining close linkages with staff and activities of the ANBG Living Collections and Photographic Collection

      integrating the database applications of the ANBG and the ANH


Ongoing Maintenance and Development of Mutually Productive Collaborative Programs, Projects and Data and Specimen Loan and Exchange with National and International Institutions and Individuals

Implementation Strategies:

Collaborative Arrangements

      maintaining and developing collaborative programs and projects such as shared maintenance of APNI, contribution to the IPNI, and active participation in CHAH and HISCOM

      developing external feedback mechanisms to assess Centre performance in information provision and management

      maintaining collaborative participation within organisations on national and international botanical database and transfer standards

      maintaining cooperation and close networking links with other non-CPBR areas of CSIRO and EA


Contributing Significantly Towards Expanding the Taxonomic Underpinning of Knowledge for Conservation Biology and Landscape Management

Implementation Strategies:

Herbarium as a Basis of Research

      maintaining the Herbarium and associated databases as a national resource documenting the diversity of the Australian flora for botanical research and the development of strategic partnerships and stakeholder relationships

      maintaining and developing accessibility to the Herbarium and associated databases as a resource for the publication of scientific papers, handbooks and interactive tools

      providing essential information for taxonomic research into the identification of plant taxa, distribution and relationships, information which is critical in the identification and development of conservation areas and policies

      participating actively in and contributing to, the development of the Virtual Australian Herbarium


The Continuing Development of Collection-Based Centre Products and Information Resources Which Reflect Needs of Staff, Clients, Researchers, Land Managers and the Community

Implementation Strategies:

Product Development

      providing continued assistance in the development of botanical tools and information resources, such as interactive keys, and multimedia products

      increasing the amount of information available over the WWW through the ongoing development of computer and database technologies and the preparation of summary and explanatory material

      evaluating the potential for the issuing of identification accreditation certificates

      increasing the amount and types of applications of computerised taxonomic and specimen data available to users, including the development of GIS capabilities

      increasing the rate of image capture in the field for use in Centre products


The Provision of Efficient and High Quality Enquiry Services to Centre Staff, Clients, Stakeholders, Collaborators and the Public

Implementation Strategies:

Enquiry Services

      increasing and improving promptness and quality of services (free, charged or contract), to ANBG, public and professional enquiries, through effective devolution of identification responsibilities and improved tracking of enquiries

      developing and implementing communications and technology transfer to ensure the Centre supports and meets user needs

      ongoing development of more efficient and effective information delivery mechanisms including extension of controlled access to databases through the Internet

Education, Publicity and Community Liaison

(Program E)

The Centre’s activities relating to education, publicity and community awareness are brought together in this outreach program which provides the ‘Public Face’ of the Centre.  It maintains close links with other Centre programs from which it draws the staff and resources to run its activities.

This Program coordinates the training elements of the Centre. The Centre’s student programs comprise a significant and ongoing commitment to the training and education of young scientists. The Summer Student Program allows a small group of students to undertake paid collaborative research within the Centre. The Student Intern Program coordinates a large body of student volunteers, providing training in the form of field-work, laboratory-work, herbarium practices and seminars. In addition to this, the Centre maintains close ties with the Australian National University , through its ongoing joint-supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The Centre also runs a very successful Volunteer Program, providing volunteers with training in botanical curation techniques. Volunteers then assist Herbarium staff in the curation process, undertaking work which is highly beneficial to both the Centre and the volunteers.

In addition to these activities, there are various other ways the Centre links to the general public through its Awareness Program.   Both Parties have public display facilities, CSIRO’s Discovery Centre and ANBG’s Visitor Centre, and the Centre liaises and contributes scientific expertise to both these venues.  The Centre also contributes scientific expertise to projects administered by the school education facilities of both Parties, CSIRO’s Green Machine and ANBG’s Education Unit.  A Public Reference Herbarium and Plant Identification Service are available to the general public through the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Centre staff also freely and regularly give their time conducting herbarium tours, and giving lectures and workshops to the public, encouraging people to learn of the importance of biodiversity and the Centre’s research.

The promotion of the Centre and its research is also achieved within this program, through the production of pamphlets, flyers, posters and other promotional materials and activities, and also through the maintenance of links with the media and through the provision of information via the Internet.


      To enhance awareness of the Centre and stimulate interest in its goals, functions, and research

      To contribute to the training and education of Centre volunteers, and of students of systematics, conservation biology and related disciplines

      To stimulate awareness of the value of biodiversity for the community, colleagues and stakeholders

      To provide Herbarium information and services to the general public

Outcomes and Implementation Strategies


Effectively Communicate and Gain Acceptance of the Centre’s Research Role and Outcomes

Implementation Strategies:

Communications Committee

      coordinating the publicity and promotional roles of the Centre

      increasing community awareness of the Centre’s role and research through the publication of promotional materials such as information sheets, flyers and displays, and through media outlets and the organisation of seminars and workshops

      encouraging media-consciousness among Centre staff

      developing an authoritative and interesting Internet site designed to provide information on the Centre and its activities and controlled access to Centre databases

Media Liaison

      utilising the Public Relations resources of the parent Parties to promote research and other activities of the Centre


A Centre Volunteer Program Run in Accordance with Best People Management and Industrial Practices, Beneficial to Both Volunteers and the Centre

Implementation Strategies:

Volunteer Program

      maintaining, through ongoing training and recruitment, a contingent of well-trained, satisfied and enthusiastic volunteers who provide a significant net contribution to the Centre

      ensuring Centre staff accept and welcome the Volunteer role within the Centre

      conducting a three-yearly review of the Volunteer Program, which will allow the Centre to better cater to the requirements of both the Centre and the volunteers

      ensuring appropriate workplace conditions are implemented for volunteers


Continuing Development of Programs of Paid and Unpaid Student Training, with Outcomes of Benefit to Both Students and the Centre

Implementation Strategies:

Student Education and Training

      maintaining close collaborations with tertiary institutions and other educational agencies to facilitate the training of undergraduate and graduate students in systematics, conservation biology and related disciplines

      maintaining the existing close relationship with the Australian National University through ongoing joint research, joint use of facilities, Centre staff lecturing in ANU courses, and the continued co-supervision of ANU students

      continuing to run and improve the Centre Intern Program, which provides valuable additional labour resources for the ANH

      continuing to run and modestly increase, the Summer Student Program, which provides funded, supervised positions for young researchers to pursue areas of study complementary to Centre research goals

      undertaking research into future student needs and the success they attribute to the Centre in terms of their future career prospects


Greater Proportion of Staff Working With the Community in Environmental and Biodiversity Activities

Implementation Strategies:

Staff and Community Involvement

      ongoing participation of staff in the giving of presentations at public lectures and workshops

      encouraging the community to become involved in environmental and biodiversity activities through Centre publicity and promotion

      cooperating with secondary teaching institutions to demonstrate biodiversity research in action, such as the development of environmental projects to be administered through the CSIRO’s Green Machine and the ANBG Education Unit

      increasing the potential for the use of Centre databases in revegetation and biodiversity programs, such as those organised by Bushcare and Landcare

      organising and participating in awareness activities for the community


Greater Public Interest in Environmental and Biodiversity Issues and Increasing Use of the Centre Facilities Made Available to the Community

Implementation Strategies:

Awareness Activities

      ongoing participation in public awareness activities such as the Science Festival, Green Machine, Biota, ANBG Exhibits and the CSIRO Discovery Centre

Public Reference Herbarium and Enquiry Services
(in conjunction with Programs C and D)

      ongoing development of the Public Reference Herbarium collection and database capabilities

      developing and increasing public access to Centre databases and interactive keys

      continuing provision of plant identification services through the ANBG Visitor Information Centre

      increasing the promotion of the Public Reference Herbarium and developing greater self-service skills, through Centre and ANBG publicity

Resources Management

People, Facilities and Finances

The Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research understands that a productive workplace is achieved through staff who are satisfied, stimulated and fulfilled by their work and working environment. To this end, the Centre aims to encourage the development of a workplace which advocates positive interpersonal relationships, and acknowledges the needs, ideas and contributions of all staff.

Centre staff are employed under legislation which guarantees them a safe, secure and equitable working environment, and Centre management will aim to ensure that the rights and obligations of each member of staff, are upheld and valued by all.  These conditions extend to the Centre’s Honorary Research Fellows, Volunteers and Associates.

Centre management works to ensure that adequate resources are available for all essential Centre activities, and will continue to seek external funding to supplement the working budget received from the two parent bodies. The Centre management also maintains responsibility for management planning and for all aspects of the Centre’s internal coordination, including internal communications and program development and review.


      To maintain a full complement of active staff

      To provide a safe and fair workplace with appropriate working conditions

      To provide for staff training and development needs

      To provide a stimulating, productive and enjoyable workplace

      To encourage staff from both Parties to work harmoniously together as a united workforce

      The building of an extension to provide additional work and collection space 

      To identify and secure adequate funds to implement Centre strategies

      To provide appropriate means of two-way communication within the Centre

Outcomes and Implementation Strategies:


Productive and Effective Staff, Students and Volunteers, Achieving High Job Satisfaction Through Their Contribution to Centre Activities

Implementation Strategies:


      providing a comfortable, safe and inviting work environment through the provision of adequate Centre facilities which are kept in good repair

      providing work facilities for retired scientists and other non-staff workers and volunteers

      providing reliable, integrated computer systems and technical support

      ongoing lobbying for funds and development of plans for a building extension which will house all Canberra Centre staff

      providing adequate physical accommodation for staff and equipment

Staff Training and Development

      annual development and review of individual staff work and learning plans which identify milestones and training and development needs

      maintaining a policy of encouraging staff to attend to personal development needs

      continuing promotion of individual staff interests as they complement operational requirements

Staff Communication

      encouraging group planning and ideas development

      ongoing provision for formal and informal presentations and meetings


      seeking new staff with relevant skills and qualifications, as finances dictate


      providing a safe, fair and equitable working environment through implementation and adherence to Occupational Health and Safety, Industrial Democracy and Equal Employment Opportunity legislation


Efficient and Effective Management Planning and Coordination of All Aspects of the Centre and its Programs

Implementation Strategies:

Program Planning and Review

      maintaining regular Research reviews

      maintaining strategic planning of all Centre projects and programs

      creating, reviewing and revising Operational Plans

Coordination of Centre and Programs

      running frequent Centre Executive meetings

      reporting regularly to and discussing issues with, the Centre Board

      establishing appropriate committees and working groups containing relevant personnel

Internal Communication

      providing informal and formal staff meetings which involve personnel in the decision making process, resulting in decisions which are transparent to, and inclusive of, all staff

      distributing to all staff a solicited monthly newsletter

      ongoing intra-Program communication development through weekly newsletters, updates, informal staff meetings, talks or presentations.


Sound Financial Planning for the Centre and its Programs

Implementation Strategies:

Sound Financial Planning

      ongoing appointment of Centre Agent who takes charge of assigning financial resources and of maintaining accurate and efficient recording and reporting methods for all Centre financial transactions.

      ongoing negotiation of annual budget

      strategic planning of future directions to identify imminent financial needs

      collecting stakeholder input in order to determine future Centre directions

      procuring additional funding from sources such as government agencies, peer reviewed grants from R&D corporations, industry or private sector sources

      establishing the feasibility of a Centre marketing plan

      establishing the feasibility of a dedicated fundraising trust


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