Management Committee Meeting

Venue: Salle d'Informatique

Meeting 1 : Agenda

  1. Apologies for absence
  2. Function and operation of the Management Committee [Dave Roberts]
  3. Workpackage summaries [WP leaders]:
    1.     Primary objective and immediate targets;
    2.     Interdependencies with other WPs;
    3.     Financial issues, especially progress of recruitment.
    4.     Deviations from the Workplan.
  4. Lightning talks (Friday 21st)
  5. Any other business



Vince Smith, Project Coordinator Dave Roberts, WP 1 Leader
Simon Rycroft , WP2 Leader Thierry Backeljau, WP3 Leader
Isa Vandevelde, WP3 Deputy Gregor Hagedorn, WP4 Deputy
Neil Caithness, WP5 Leader Lyubomir Penev, WP6 Leader
David Morse, WP7 Leader Christos Arvanitidis, WP8 Leader
Gemma Maldar, (Finance manager) Lucy Reeve (Admin)


Olaf Bánki, WP4 Leader – at LifeWatch final meeting.


Dave Roberts welcomed everyone and explained that the Management Committee will meet Quarterly (every 3 months). Half of these will be electronic meetings and half will be face to face. DR stressed that WP leaders represent their WP, not their institution. WP leaders are responsible for feeding relevant information from the Management Committee to other members of their WPs.

DR asked everyone to introduce themselves and explain the following:

  1. Primary objective and immediate targets;
  2. Interdependencies with other WPs;
  3. Financial issues, especially progress of recruitment.
  4. Deviations from the Workplan.


WP1 – Dave Roberts, NHM

The main focus of WP1 is to ensure that the project meets all EU targets (Milestones & deliverables) – to this end there is a section on the ViBRANT website to capture data (progress, amendments and final delivery) of all targets. WP1 will also monitor Twitter activity to follow progress and to gather data for annual EU reporting.

Forums outside of the WP may be created on the site.

GM will circulate management guidelines to all WP leaders and admin staff. These should be circulated by WP leaders to members of their WP. GM to include details of acknowledging EU within guidelines.

Any questions on the management of the project should be sent to Dave <> (deliverables, process) or Gemma (finance, timesheets, general admin).

LP enquired about subcontracting. GM informed him that the EU will only reimburse subcontractors that are named in the contract. If anyone needs to use a subcontractor they should contact GM and she will seek permission from the EU. Subcontracting is when you use a company or individual to carry out a service for you that contributes to the delivery of work and for which they then invoice you. Basic services such as printing or catering would not be considered subcontracting. Using an external company to create software for you, would be considered subcontracting.

WP2 – Simon Rycroft, NHM

This is the nexus of the project and is focusing on developing the Scratchpads. Drupal V7 will be used to build the Scratchpads release 2. There will undoubtedly be some minor problems during the process and SR asked for patience from other WP leaders.

WP2 will interact with all other WPs, particularly WP5. There are currently no financial or recruitment issues. NHM and BGBM have both recruited as planned. There are currently no planned deviations.

WP 3 – Thierry Backeljau, RBINS

IVW will take over from Irina Brake who currently leads the training of Scratchpads in EDIT. Daphne Duin will be responsible for the social analysis and user feedback – they will look into why people may not be using Scratchpads. As ViBRANTs success will be measured in numbers of users, WP3 is a priority.

There are currently no planned deviations. Staff will be recruited as soon as their involvement in EDIT is complete.

WP4 – represented by Gregor Hagedorn, JKI.

Olaf Bánki has replaced Yde de Yong as leader. The WP4 strategy is to fuse vocabulary and managing vocabulary. An upcoming GBIF report will influence WP4.

JKI have hired 50% FTE and BGBM in process of hiring.

Action: BGBM to confirm in what month their hired staff will start

WP4 may change direction as a result of the new leadership. There is an overlap between WP2 & WP4 in relation to the CDM and this must be monitored to ensure there is no duplication of effort.


WP5 Neil Caithness, UOXF.

The immediate priority is to define the mechanism for Scratchpads to link to external computing services. WP5 will provide 4 services (Phylogenetics, morphological & molecular ID services and an analytical mapping service).

WP5 is linked to WP2 (design tools API) and matrix editor. Also links to WP3, WP4 and WP8.

We have recruited Milo Thurston and would like to develop a server – this could present an issue in the future. SR thinks he may be able to help.

One deviation – Vizz to look into phone apps. This needs to be added to the deliverable list via the web site if it is replacing an existing deliverable. Otherwise it is considered added value.

Action: NC & Regine (WP4) to discuss if design differences can be overcome and a link between work/keys developed.

NC highlighted the LATTICE project (Maryland – Mike Cunningham) service products could be offered via Scratchpads.

WP6, Lyubomir Penev, PENSOFT.

Developing publishing technology, including an XML schema for taxonomy (TaxPub). Pensoft are creating a Biodiversity Data Journal. We have hosted a workshop (19/1) which went well. No deviations as yet, progressing with creating a standard. TaxPub has dependencies in all the WPs. Developers to be employed slightly later in project.

Would like to move some of the delivery dates sooner, such as the workshops. This was agreed, as long as the interdependencies can cope with the earlier release. It is OK to spend some of the Yr3 budget in Yr2, so long as WP6 stays within budget and the work is completed.

WP7, David Morse, OU.

WP7 will provide better access to old literature; improve mark up, mass extraction and bibliographies. No deviations as yet.

Action: The vocabularies on which Taxpub rely to be agreed

Action: The bibliography infrastructure to be agreed

WP8, Christos Arvanitidis, HCMR

WP8 will extend the scope of ViBRANT to conservation and ecology. This will help to convince funders that this infrastructure is broad in its remit and useful to a variety of users. Five modules will be developed. A postdoc is to be employed on another project and they will support WP8 for ontologies and vocabulary.

Planning on purchasing 210CPU to handle the data.

Any other business

DR explained ViBRANT had an agile Workplan, which means that deliverables due after M6 (May 2011) have not been specified. These can be changed so long as the change is not radical and is in keeping with the overall aims of the project.

WP leaders need to inform NHMMT (Via DR) of any planned changes. The reason for what the change is and why it is happening need to recorded, as this will have to be reported to the EU. The online deliverable pages can be used to capture this information.

Do not increase the number of deliverables. We can do more than we planned, this will be recorded as added value to the project.

Action: all WP leaders to inform NHMMT of any other relevant projects/grants they are involved in that ViBRANT may be able to link to.

ViBRANT is willing to support other projects – it could potentially be a component of another grant and will happily provide letters of support for bids.

NC – Can think of a few grants he is engaged in that may provide services that can feed into ViBRANT.

A ‘How to’ guide to project management is being created for the ViBRANT website and NHMMT will filter information to WP leaders through the site.

SR noted that there is a Scratchpad Wiki –

The password for the site is the same as your password for the ViBRANT site. Users must have logged into the ViBRANT site at least once in order to gain access to the Wiki.