importance of the Museum’s scientific work was recognized
by the House of Lords Select Committee for Science and Technology,
which in 2002 published the results of its inquiry into
the state of systematics – the science of naming,
describing and classifying life on Earth.
The report argued for improved Government funding, in order
to enhance the provision of scientific training and to facilitate
better use of taxonomic resources. It showed that funding
for UK systematics institutions has fallen since the last
inquiry in 1992, in spite of the growing demand for systematists.
The Museum is doing much to address the issues raised in
the report. We have expanded our training provision at postgraduate
level, and we are developing teaching modules for undergraduate
courses. We are committed to opening up our resources to
wider access, for example through online collections databases.
And we are constantly evolving our scientific priorities
to meet public and government concerns.