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INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research

SAMBA: Scaling Advanced Methods for Biodiversity Assessments

Alternative title: SAMBA: Skalering av avanserte metoder for vurdering av biologisk mangfold

Awarded: NOK 10.0 mill.

The SAMBA project aims to train a new generation of scientists in cutting edge genetic technologies and methods to help speed up the description and monitoring of biodiversity, respecting the natural differences and demands between the distinct environments in Norway and Brazil. Modern techniques that amplify or identify species from the DNA left in the environment or in mixed samples can be used to track species across space and time, providing reliable data to understand many ecological processes. Increasing impacts on the Brazilian and Norwegian wildlife and landscape from human activities and climate changes pose a major challenge for a sustainable future. Knowing what species are where and how they respond to these changes is fundamental for decision making processes that will permit us to protect the existing biodiversity in both countries, as well as contribute towards conservation projects in areas already impacted by human activities. Continuity of scientific endeavours depends heavily on the formation of stable interactions between partners. As such, SAMBA will also create a new generation of young and internationally trained scientists to continue promoting and fostering diplomatic ties between Norway and Brazil. SAMBA students will also be trained in communicating their findings to the general public audience as well as to key stakeholders. This ensures the sustainable communication of SAMBAs overarching goals in promoting biodiversity and conservation within the public sphere.

SAMBA addresses the objectives and priorities of INTPART by (A) establishing a world-class educational and exchange program between NMBU and UiO in Norway and UFPA and Vale SA in Brazil (an INTPART priority country) and (B) developing an eDNA database and digital pipelines designed for molecular biodiversity monitoring and assessing the efficacy of different remediation strategies which will be integrated into existing infrastructure. SAMBA supports multiple EU and RCN funded programs, and builds upon the existing Biodiversity Research Consortium (since 2013) between the industrial and academic SAMBA partners. SAMBA will enhance the research within these projects by facilitating exchanges, research at multiple postgraduate levels, and offering an enhanced training program with activities in business, and public policy. SAMBA will also take advantage of the newly established KlimaHuset at the Natural History Museum in Oslo for outreach. The development of digital databases and pipelines for biodiversity monitoring will be used for the development of workflows and protocols for our industry partners and public policy white papers on ‘best practices’ in biodiversity monitoring and bioremediation. The interdisciplinary nature of SAMBA, as well as the inclusion of well-established industrial partners, ensures the best access to excellent facilities and collaboration. Additionally, SAMBA will allow cross-exchange of students in two of the world’s most important areas for biodiversity research: the temperate areas in Norway where eDNA is developed, and the Brazilian neotropical rainforests. While unique from one another, both areas are equally important for studying the effects of climate change and anthropogenic disturbances. All these factors feed into the goals of INTPART by supporting long term sustainable research and educational partnerships that enhance both the academic and research excellence of SAMBA partners, as well as contributing to UN sustainability goals.

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INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research