BRIT’s Research Program is one of the cornerstones of the Institute’s mission. It acts as a catalyst within the scientific community to address globally challenging problems by using various botanical lenses (Taxonomy, Ethnobotany, Ecological/environmental, and Biomemicry.
Research conducted by BRIT should make the world a better place, sometimes directly through improvements to life, and sometimes indirectly through increasing our understanding of the world which allows us to become more responsible citizens of the planet.
A typical research program is led by one of several BRIT research directors and is composed of internal staff researchers and/or research associates. Increasingly, projects are involving multiple researchers and multiple institutions, so BRIT researchers can be a part of larger research teams involving dozens or hundreds of people.
In addition, BRIT invites affiliate researchers to use BRIT resources and to conduct research projects either with BRIT staff or independently.
How research projects are funded:
BRIT research projects are funded in various ways by competitive grants from state and federal sources including the US National Science Foundation; private foundations; and private donations. Each project is a bit different. Some botanical projects require almost no funding. Others require a great deal of funding over many years and from many different sources.
BRIT research teams are currently exploring questions about: changing distributions of plants; vineyard and orchard sustainability; management of agrobiodiversity; children’s science education; and production of clean water using plants.
BRIT research findings include:
- Texas Biodiversity Program: Exploration of different habitats and identification of new species. Major publication series is the Illustrated Floras of Texas Project. The Illustrated Flora of North Texas has been completed, and the second of three volumes of the Illustrated Flora of East Texas is in process. This project seeks to document and illustrate the flora of the entire State as well as to better understand the geological, ecological and biological settings of those plant species of this large and diverse State.
- Amazonian Swamp Horticulture Development: Publication of new species of Vanilla orchids and research of development of vanilla as a crop in Peru.
- Amazon to Andes Biodiversity Program: Publication of a variety of floras for parts of Peru. Development of national conservation priorities and recommendations for conservation zones. Development of an international network of tropical ecosystem researchers.
- Cider Apple Diversity: Publication of work on importance of scent in development of cider products and publication of history of cider in purification of water. Development of an international network of cider researchers.
- Orchard Biocomplexity Project: Publication of orchard development characteristics. Development of an international network of orchard researchers.
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