About us

The Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (FBIP) is a long-term programme to generate, manage and disseminate foundational biodiversity information and knowledge to improve decision-making, service delivery and create new economic opportunities.

The FBIP is a joint initiative of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). The DSI provides core funding as part of the Global Change allocation.

SANBI is responsible for managing the implementation of the Programme and the NRF manages the project proposal review and grant allocation process. A steering committee was established which provides the overall strategic direction for the Programme.

What We Do

Provide funds for the generation of  knowledge related to documenting South Africa’s biodiversity, mobilisation of species occurrence or distribution data, generation of DNA barcode data that will allow identification of biological material, and compilation of descriptive information on species

Contribute content to an integrated information management and dissemination system.

Develop and up skill people to ensure appropriate capacity for biodiversity knowledge generation, dissemination and application.

Ensure the uptake and application of foundational biodiversity research outputs generated to have an impact on global change understanding and decision-making relating to biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods (bio-economy).



How We Do It

Funding grants

The grants must result in the release of data to the FBIP / SANBI for archiving, integration, management and dissemination. The programme provides research grants for:

  • Large, collaborative and integrated team projects which align with knowledge needs, or which involve participants along the entire value chain from knowledge generation to application for decision-making. These projects will also involve postgraduate students and emerging researchers, and the up-skilling of researchers and practitioners who use the data generated.
  • Small strategic projects that address key strategic gaps in data / knowledge.


Networking and co-ordination of activities

Through an annual forum, workshops, information sharing and training sessions.



The information is “foundational” because it forms the basis of so many other aspects of biodiversity research and decision-making.


These data sets are critical for:

  • Ecosystem mapping

  • Sustainable use of biodiversity

  • Monitoring and reporting on the state of biodiversity

  • Understanding and mitigating the impacts of global change on biodiversity


Biodiversity data that are funded:

Species Occurrence

  • Biodiversity surveys, capture of data from specimens in collections

Species identity

  • DNA barcoding, other identification tools

Population abundance

  • Quantified surveys

Genetic diversity

  •  Phylogenetic distance, population genetics

Species attributes

  • Photos / illustrations, biology, importance to people including cultural significance, functional role in ecosystem, and interactions with other species