Southern African Society for Systematic Biology

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South African Biosystematics Initiative

The formation of the South African Biosystematics Initiative (SABI)

  SABI logo

Through the formation of a “sysetmatics community”, awareness of the plight of systematics in South Africa was raised. This contributed to the development of SABI, an initiative of the national Department of Science & Technology and administered through the National Research Foundation (NRF). SABI was established in 2002, and has contributed RXXX since then to research and training in the field of systematics. Funding details are available on the website of the NRF. Through SABI, audits of capacity, training, infrastructure and current state of knowledge of South Africa’ biodiversity were carried out. The results of these audits are available through the South African Biodiversity Information Facility website (.

The main objectives of SABI are to:

Address dwindling national capacity in biological systematics and taxonomy
Provide leadership and co-ordination to promote innovative research in the field of bio-systematics
Empower South African bio-systematists to employ and develop modern scientific technologies and approaches with regard to the documentation and use and of biological resources.
Enhance the ability of South African bio-systematics to contribute to the National System of Innovation and the information society, and thus to respond to national priorities in agriculture, health, sustainable development and conservation.
Assist the broader scientific community and government in the fulfilment of national and global biodiversity-related commitments.
Promote awareness of the importance of bio-systematic research in the broader community through education and outreach projects.

To date SABI has achieved the following:

Completion of an analysis on “The State of the Nature of South African Bio-systematics”.
Successful implementation of research projects funded through SABI Budget. For example, 2005 grants: R 5, 478, 569 (SABI funding = R2,300,000, NRF funding = R3,178,569) Projects Funded= 37 full projects + 2 seed funding.
Various human capacity development activities were funded and supported. These included awarding bursaries for postgraduate study, a travel award for postgraduates, a student workshop, and workshops for exposing professionals and students to education practices, and new approaches and techniques in systematics.  

The objectives of SABI overlap to a large extent with those of SASSB, but through interaction between these two initiatives, main in the form of  representation of SASSB Council on the Steering Committee of SABI, there is a joint effort to achieve the objectives rather than to duplicate efforts and activities.



Conference July 2015


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