Technical Steering Group

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Current Membership

  • W. Gelbart (Chair), Professor, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Principal Investigator, FlyBase Drosophila Database Consortium.
  • M. Mackay, Senior Scientist, Biodiversity Informatics Project Coordinator, Bioversity International, Rome, Italy.
  • D. Austin, Field Research and Information Management Director, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Johnston, IA.
  • F. Bliss, Senior Director of R&D Special Projects, Seminis Seeds, Inc., Woodland, CA and Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis.
  • H. Bockelman, Curator, USDA/ARS National Small Grains Collection, Aberdeen, ID.
  • T. Franco, Plant Genetic Resources Informatics Specialist, Bioversity International, Calí, Colombia.
  • J. Tilleria, Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia Agricola/Castelar, Argentina.
  • W. Tracy, Chair, NPGS Maize Crop Germplasm Committee, Chair of Agronomy Department, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI.
  • S. Gaiji, Head of Informatics, Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Copenhagen, Denmark has agreed to serve informally as a “resource person.”


The purpose of the GRIN-Global Technical Steering Group (TSG) is to provide technical input for the development, dissemination, and implementation of GRIN-Global, a joint USDA/ARS-Bioversity International-Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT) project described in Appendix 1. Because GRIN-Global will be produced via modern software development methodologies that enable rapid construction of applications, the purpose and organization of the TSG must similarly be dynamic and flexible so that it can provide the project with up-to-date input.

The functions of the TSG include:

  1. Act as a body representative of the GRIN-Global cooperators and all stakeholders on technical issues relative to the project's mission, and recommend strategies to encourage its use by genebanks and other stakeholders.
  2. Provide technical input to and consult with GRIN-Global Project staff and other USDA-ARS and Bioversity International staff regarding technical aspects, training, objectives, and accomplishments of the GRIN-Global Project.
  3. Provide technical guidance to the GRIN-Global development team on a) project task prioritization; b) the needs of the genebank managers, curators, and other potential users of germplasm and associated information; and c) new software development methods and technologies that should be incorporated into the GRIN-Global development project.

Membership Policy

Membership of the TSG will include domestic and international experts (from both the public and private sectors) in information systems and software development, plant genetic resource management and curation, plant breeding, plant genetics/genomics, and allied disciplines who are interested in the application of cutting-edge information management and database systems to managing and encouraging the use of genetic resources. Members are chosen by the three organizations collaborating in the project. The initial term of office for all TSG members is 3 years. The membership shall not exceed eight members, including a Chair.

The TSG membership shall encompass a balanced representation of scientific disciplines, domestic and international origins, organizational affiliations, public and private sectors, and any other categories required to ensure adequate representation of actual or potential GRIN-Global users. Ex-officio members may include staff from the GCDT, Bioversity International, and USDA/ARS staff. Additional ex-officio representation will be determined as needed. The TSG may establish subcommittees to avail itself of expertise needed to address specific topics; subcommittee members may be drawn from outside of the core membership of the TSG per se.


The officers of the TSG shall be: Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary. The Chair shall be chosen by cooperating organizations for the project; the Vice-Chair and Secretary shall be elected by the membership. The Chair shall appoint a member in good standing to fill any vacancy occurring in the Vice-Chair or the Secretary positions during his/her term of office. If the office of Chair shall become vacant, the Vice-Chair shall become Chair. The length of term for each office is 3 years; officers may serve multiple terms, but it is recommended that officer service be limited to two consecutive terms in the same office. At the end of each Vice-Chair or Secretary's term the TSG shall elect a new officer, or chose to re-appoint the current officer for one additional term; in such case a positive vote of two-thirds of the TSG membership is required.

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