The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) acts as a management body for 15 national research institutes in the Netherlands and advises the Dutch Government on matters related to scientific pursuit. The Academy institutes are active in the humanities, the social sciences and the life sciences, and serve as national centres of expertise, manage unique infrastructures, and provide access to their collections, many of which have global notority.
The Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute (KNAW-WI, formerly Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures, KNAW-CBS) is one of these Academy institutes. KNAW-WI performs mycological research that contributes to the discovery and understanding of the biodiversity of fungi, their biology and potential solutions to societal challenges. The institute maintains the CBS Collection of yeasts and filamentous fungi, one of the oldest and largest public collections of living fungi in the world. The CBS Collection comprises a total of 100000 strains, representing 6000 genera, 19000 species, and 12600 type strains. Scientific and other data associated with these strains (including DNA barcode sequences of all strains) are maintained in databases and available online. These resources are intensively utilised by public and private parties in over 60 countries. The institute also maintains the Netherlands Culture Collection of Bacteria (NCCB), including 10000 strains of bacteria and over 500 plasmids and phages. The six research groups of the institute focus on the taxonomy and evolution of fungi, as well as on functional aspects of fungal biology such as ecology, fungal physiology and novel products.