SwissCollNet is committed to improving the accessibility of natural history collections. A common vision and long-term strategy will promote the use of natural history collections for research, education and society.

Image: OscarLoRo,


Naturmuseum Solothurn/Nicole Hänni
Image: Naturmuseum Solothurn/Nicole Hänni

SwissCollNet is issuing the second call for project proposals to make specimen data held in the Swiss natural history collections digitally available for research, education and society. Project duration is limited to a maximum of 18 months.


Projects funded by SwissCollNet will rely on and implement the recommendations published in the handbook on natural history collections management, with an emphasis on three fields:

A. Conditioning, determination, re-determination, revision and databasing. This field focuses on the management of collections with the aim of conditioning and integrating un-accessioned specimens into the collections. Projects may put emphasis on the integration of specimens into collections (i.e. conditioning), the determining or re-determining of specimens and/or the taxonomic revision of selected taxonomic groups (in particular for national collections). In accordance with local workflows, projects will have to use the protocols and standards for data generation and data capture that have been agreed within the initiative as this will facilitate the effective sharing and consolidation of data across institutions. Projects mainly focusing on this strategic field have to prepare the generated data for an upload to the SVNHC and use the standards and identifiers defined by SwissCollNet. Within this item it is also possible to revise existing databases for enabling aggregation of existing data into the SVNHC.

B. Digitisation, best practices and quality standard implementation. This field focuses on making specimen data digitally available and interconnected, thus improving access to data for research purposes as well as for the general public. Creating this rich data source is a precondition to make specimen data available and usable for research and society via online portals. A major task is to ensure that specimens are databased (i.e. digital capture of the information from specimen labels and on the specimens themselves) and that images of the specimens, where appropriate, are obtained. These can be produced via photographs, scans or 3D imaging of the objects that are digitally linked to the original specimen information. Furthermore, existing data may be transferred into collection management systems and/or translated into the standard vocabularies, making these data available and compatible internationally. Projects mainly focusing on this strategic field have to prepare the generated data for an upload to the SVNHC and use the standards and identifiers defined by SwissCollNet.

C. Training of taxonomic experts, collection managers and staff. This field aims at providing training opportunities for establishing the expertise needed for implementing quality standards for collection management, internal revisions and for expanding collections as well as the exchange of highly specialised taxonomic expertise. Collection managers and collection staff ensure the long-term preservation of collections and are responsible for collection care, inventory and database management, often also including digitisation. For determination or re-determination of specimens and taxonomic revisions of selected taxa, sound expertise in taxonomy and systematics is essential. Experts should be trained within specific projects at Swiss collection-holding institutions as well as in the framework of exchange programs with leading international museums and botanical gardens.


All Swiss public and non-profit natural history collection-holding institutions are invited to submit project proposals to modernise and digitise their collections, and by doing so contribute to give access to specimens through a common online portal, the Swiss Virtual Natural History Collection.

Small institutions/collections are highly encourraged to participate either on their own or in collaboration with bigger institutions.


Call opens

May 1, 2022

Online application portal
To the portal

Submission deadlineJuly 29, 2022 (4 pm CET)
Evaluation and selectionAugust - October 2022
Notification to the applicantsOctober 31, 2022
Earliest start of the projectsNovember 1, 2022
Latest start of the projectsMarch 1, 2023
Latest end of the projectsAugust 31st 2024

Projects submission closed!

Submission deadline was 29 July 2022.

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Please consult the following documents ahead of preparing and submitting a project proposal

Main and co-applicants are persons employed in a public and/or non-profit natural history collection-holding institution located in Switzerland. Joint applications between institutions are encouraged.

Handbook collections - horizontal cover
Image: Akademien Schweiz

Follow recommendations from the Handbook!

Do you have questions? You may find answers on the FAQ page

or contact the SwissCollNet Scientific Unit: