Applications are invited for a Special Collections Researcher (at the level of a post-doctoral research associate) to work on the Type specimens held at the University of Cambridge Herbarium (CGE), supervised by Lauren Gardiner (Curator, Herbarium) and Samuel Brockington (Academic Lead, Herbarium).

The Cambridge University Herbarium (CGE) is a collection of some 1.1 million specimens, managed by the Department of Plant Sciences, and housed in modern facilities within the Cambridge University Sainsbury Lab. The importance of the CGE collections was recently recognised by a Designation Award from the Arts Council. The collections are of exceptional pedigree including most of Darwin’s botanical specimens from the Voyage of the Beagle, the bulk of the personal herbarium of John Lindley, and contains one of the finest collections of UK flora, as well as substantial holdings from around the World. Of particular importance are our Type specimens upon which taxonomic names are formally and permanently based, and fundamental for all biological research.

CGE contains an estimated 50,000 type specimens ¿ representing more than 10% of all known plant species ¿ a number that puts CGE on a par with the largest and most important collections around the world. The Special Collections Researcher will manage a project funded by the Isaac Newton Trust, entitled “Opening Access to the Type Specimens in the Cambridge University Herbarium”. Specifically, the researcher will have responsibility for locating and identifying Type specimens within the collections (especially within the Lindley Collection), cataloguing all identified Type specimens with a basic record within BRAHMS, digitally imaging Type specimens with high resolution photography, and making these images and records accessible to all online.

We are looking for applicants with an excellent practical understanding of taxonomic nomenclature, especially with respect to synonymy; an understanding of online repositories of taxonomic information and their use in identifying Type specimens, experience with correct handling of natural history collections and collections management software, such as BRAHMS; and familiarity with digital imaging protocols, standards, and equipment. The Researcher will be expected to be highly motivated and able to work independently and with initiative, while collaborating with a small but supportive team. The ability to network and liaise with external taxonomic and geographic experts as needed for Type confirmation would be welcome.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 1 years in the first instance.

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