Funding for sustainable and innovative methods of ensuring bee health

The Executive Committee of COLOSS announces a new three year funding package to develop sustainable and innovative methods of ensuring bee health.

This funding comes as a result of Prevention of Honey Bee COlony LOSSes (COLOSS) signing an agreement with the Ricola Foundation. This agreement states that COLOSS will gain substantial funding for an initial three years of bee health research.

Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Ricola Foundation, Dr Lukas Richterich, said: “We at Ricola Foundation love honeybees, they play a crucial role in biodiversity. We proudly support science to protect their health. Thank you COLOSS.”

The importance of studying colony collapse

A national US survey states that beekeepers lost nearly 40% of their honeybee colonies in 2018, which is the highest rate reported since the survey began 13 years ago.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “The number of hives that do not survive over the winter months – the overall indicator for bee health – has maintained an average of about 28.7% since 2006-2007, but dropped to 23.1%  for the 2014-2015 winter.”

What is COLOSS?

Since 2008, COLOSS has significantly improved our understanding of the causes of honeybee colony losses, through the organisation of conferences, workshops and short-term scientific missions, and the co-ordination of research efforts.

COLOSS is formerly funded by the European Union COST Programme and currently by the Ricola Foundation – Nature & Culture, Veto Pharma, the University of Bern, and the Eva Crane Trust, which aims to explain and prevent massive honeybee colony losses.

President of COLOSS, Professor Peter Neumann said: “This additional funding will enable COLOSS to consolidate its activities and to enhance our global outreach to fulfil our role in maintaining the wellbeing of honeybees worldwide.”

Three main areas to improve COLOSS

This funding will be used in three main areas to improve the effectiveness of the COLOSS association:

  1. To enable improvement of organisation and communication through outsourcing of routine administrative tasks to enable the Executive Committee to concentrate on scientific matters, and to improve global outreach via regional COLOSS meetings and enhanced web activities.
  2. To provide annual awards for outstanding members to enable them to take part in COLOSS activities such as conferences, workshops, or other activities. Members from developing countries and early stage researchers will be the focus of these awards, and an appropriate gender balance will be ensured.
  3. Support for COLOSS Core Projects and Task Forces to facilitate the organisation of workshops, travel of invited speakers, and open access fees for publications.

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