News from the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office and Scientific Institutes


Nicolas Party invited at the Magritte Museum

Tue, 22 May 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Several works by René Magritte are exceptionally crossing the ocean, for the exhibition “René Magritte: The Fifth Season” at the prestigious San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts (SF MoMA) from 19 May until 28 October 2018.
During this period, the Magritte Museum presents works of the contemporary artist Nicolas Party, who created a unique dialogue with Magritte’s fascinating universe. Nicolas Party’s playful and colorful creations – exclusively made for the Magritte Museum – will turn the place upside down!


Belgium and LaRa on their way to Mars

Mon, 14 May 2018 00:00:00 +0100

The planetary scientists at the Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB) are delighted to announce the signing of a contract between the European Space Agency’s PRODEX (PROgramme for the Development of scientific Experiments) programme and Antwerp Space for the delivery of LaRa (Lander Radioscience), a ‘martian’ instrument onboard ExoMars 2020.
Véronique Dehant, Principal Investigator of the instrument, comments: “I’m delighted by this signature, which is a major milestone after more than a decade of effort by the research team involved with LaRa. This is the last step before manufacturing and testing the LaRa flight model.”
LaRa will be the first Belgian instrument to be landed on the surface of Mars. Its radio transmitter and receiver will link Mars and Earth, enabling scientists at the Royal Observatory to study the rotation of Mars as well as its internal structure, with particular focus on its core. LaRa will be part of the platform of ExoMars 2020, a joint mission by the ESA and Roscosmos, Russia’s state space corporation.
“Antwerp Space is proud and honoured to manufacture this high-technology scientific instrument to be operated on the surface of Mars. It is also a recognition of the high technical competence of our teams involved in this wonderful adventure,” says Koen Puimège, Antwerp Space’s Managing Director.
A team at Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) is also involved in the project, in particular on the design of the high-performance antennas of the instrument.
Belgium and the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO) fund the development and the manufacturing of LaRa through the ESA PRODEX program.

Space Summer School

Wed, 09 May 2018 00:00:00 +0100

June 25 until July 6, 2018 at SCK•CEN, Mol, Belgium
This Summer School is a multidisciplinary and international learning event for highly-motivated PhD students, early-stage researchers and professionals from a diverse range of educational and professional backgrounds (biomedical scientists, physicists, (bio-)engineers, …).
The following topics will be included in the course:
- Space radiation, radiation dosimetry and radiation protection;
- Impact of the space environment on human health;
- Life support and habitation in space;
- Instrumentation, hardware and nuclear energy in space.
A number of EU CONCERT grants to cover the registration fee will be available for PhD students.
Deadline for PhD grant application is May 11, 2018.
Deadline for registration is June 4, 2018. Registration for specific days is also possible

Summer School in Radiobiology, 13-24/8/2018, open for 16-20 years old students

Wed, 02 May 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Students, aged 16 to 20 years old, are invited to apply for the next edition of the 2 week Summer School in Radiobiology taking place at SCK•CEN from August 13 till 24 2018 to learn about the peaceful applications of radiation in the field of medicine, environment, space sciences & technologies.
If you know someone in this age range, in Belgium or abroad, with a very strong interest in these fields, and who has a good grasp of written and spoken English knowledge, please let them know about this course.
The course is given in English. The group of selected students will be restricted to 20.
Deadline for applications: May 18 2018.
This course has been run by SCK•CEN each summer for the last 10 years benefiting some years from the support of the European Commission because of its public utility for European citizens.

InSight’s launch: Belgium involvement in a new Martian mission

Mon, 30 Apr 2018 00:00:00 +0100

On 5 May 2018, a delegation of scientists from the Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB) will attend to the launch of InSight, a NASA mission to Mars.
The InSight mission (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) aims to study the interior of the Red Planet, which still holds many mysteries. The InSight lander will monitor the “Martian earthquakes”, as well as the internal temperature and the rotation of the planet.
For the first time, a Martian mission will try to detect “marsquakes”, by using the seismometer SEIS (Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure), whose team includes V. Dehant, from ROB. Another instrument, a self-hammering heat probe, will burrow up to 3-5 meters under the surface to determine Mars internal temperature, a depth never reached during the previous missions.
The Royal Observatory of Belgium will also take part to the radio science data analysis of a third instrument, RISE (Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment). The radio signals exchanged between the Earth and RISE will allow tracking of the rotation variations of the planet, which reflect the structure of its interior. Pr. Véronique Dehant, responsible for the data analysis of RISE for ROB, will go to the Vandenberg Air Force Base (California) to attend InSight’s launch.
If everything goes as planned, InSight will take-off on May 5. Otherwise, the launch window is open until 8 June 2018. The Mars landing is expected to occur on 26 November 2018, and the mission will last at least 2 years. The instruments onboard InSight could work longer, along with the instruments of the ESA-Roscosmos mission ExoMars 2020. Then one could combine RISE data with those of LaRa (Lander Radioscience), the radio science instrument onboard ExoMars 2020, for a better scientific return. A team of the Observatory, led by Pr. Véronique Dehant, coordinates the conception of LaRa.
The radioscience research of the Royal Observatory of Belgium is funded by the Belgian Science Policy (Belspo) with the aid of the ESA-PRODEX program.

Belgian astronomers help to compile the most detailed 3D map of our Galaxy ever made

Fri, 27 Apr 2018 00:00:00 +0100

On 25 April 2018, the European Space Agency (ESA) announces the largest and most accurate 3-dimensional map of our Milky Way galaxy ever made. Using the Gaia satellite, the position and motion of more than a billion stars was mapped by a consortium of European astronomers, including scientists from the Royal Observatory of Belgium. This map will be a treasure chest to discover the structure, the history, and the future of our Milky Way Galaxy.

Copernicus Masters 2018 Copernicus Programme Provides Valuable Economic Benefits

Fri, 06 Apr 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Copernicus is Europe’s most ambitious Earth observation programme and provides full free and open access to data for the development of applications in a wide variety of domains. It is estimated that investments in the programme will increase to EUR 7.5 billion by 2020, while the economic benefit is expected to double in value. Every euro invested in Copernicus activities by public authorities, results in a EUR 1.4 benefit to the whole economy.
The Copernicus Masters awards applications and ideas that are using Copernicus data to tackle important challenges faced by business and society, with 2018 submissions opening 1 April.

Plastic pollution in our ocean Tackling a mammoth task

Tue, 03 Apr 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Every Year, between 4.8.and 12.7 billion kilograms of plastic end up in the ocean. That is the equivalent of 35 shipping containers filled with plastic is dumped into the seas and oceans every hour - with disastrous effects for animals and vegetation. Science and society have to find solutions together!
The Ocean Plastics Lab is an exciting exhibition showcasing what science is doing to understand and combat the problem of plastics in the ocean. Visitors can find out more about the projects, experiment themselves and learn about citizen science initiatives.
This international travelling exhibition will open its doors to the Brussels public on the Esplanade SolidarnoϾ 1980, in front of the European Parliament from 9-19 April. It's open daily and free of charge! The exhibition content is available in English, French, Dutch, German and Italian.
The Ocean Plastics Lab is an initiative supported by the European Commission, the SEARICA Intergroup of the European Parliament and was initiated by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) and is coordinated by the German Marine Research Consortium (KDM).

> 11-04-2018 Plastic pollution in our ocean - Tackling a mammoth task
> 17-04-2018 Plastic in de oceaan - Wat is het probleem en wat kunnen we doen?
> 18-04-2018 Plastique dans l’océan - Quel est le problème et que pouvons-nous faire?

D4D Digital for Development iChoose award – Make your vote count

Mon, 02 Apr 2018 00:00:00 +0100

The D4D prize aims at rewarding outstanding initiatives that use new technologies as a lever for development towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The D4D awards are an initiative of the Royal Museum for Central Africa, with the support of the Belgian Development Cooperation. In the category iChoose, six projects are presented through short video’s. Before May 11, the public is invited to score each video’s from 1 to 5 (highest score): The video with the highest score will get awarded the iChoose prize of 5000 €. By voting, you not only support your project of choice, but also the ambition to incorporate digitalization for development in the program of the Belgian Development Cooperation. In case you would like some inspiration before casting your vote, we are happy to present you the Geo-observer Network:

The Rwenzori Mountains, a remote, 5,000 m high mountain in central Africa (Uganda) is a region often affected by landslides, floods and other natural hazards. Studying these hazards to better understand the risks they produce is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in this region. The department of Geography of the VUB, the department of Earth & Environmental Sciences of the KU Leuven, and the Natural Hazards Service of the Royal Museum for Central Africa have therefore partnered with the Mountains of the Moon University (Uganda). With the support of VLIR-UOS, a network of citizen scientists was established, reporting on new hazards and their impact in their environment: Over 20 local farmers are trained to use a smartphone with a versatile application to provide structured data through the mobile network. Combined with other awareness raising tools and research efforts, the geo-observer data collection enables to develop evidence-based environmental planning and disaster risk reduction. This project is an example of how technologies can help to develop research with and by the local communities, especially in remote, disaster-prone environments. The video presented here is produced by our Ugandan colleagues and illustrates the work of the geo-observers across these Mountains of the Moon.
Thank you for your vote!


Belgian atmosphere instrument in excellent health after orbit corrections around Mars

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 00:00:00 +0100

Two years after its launch, ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) finally settles in its final orbit around Mars. The satellite, which carries the instrument NOMAD of the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) on board, has just completed one year of atmospheric deceleration and is now circling around Mars every 2 hours, some 400 km above the Martian surface.
The Belgian instrument NOMAD, which will search for methane and other important gases in the Martian atmosphere, appears to have passed this period very well and is ready to start its scientific phase within a few weeks.

Job Opportunity: DARIAH Is Seeking to Appoint a Part-Time Member of the Board of Directors

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 00:00:00 +0100

DARIAH, the Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities, is a pan-European organization, which aims to enhance and support digitally-enabled research and teaching across the humanities and arts. DARIAH is formally an ERIC, a European Research Infrastructure Consortium and is one of only 29 Landmarks on the Roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures. To date, 17 countries – Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, The Netherlands, Serbia and Slovenia have become Members, while we also have a growing number of Cooperating Partners. DARIAH is therefore both an ambitious and still expanding organization, with six further candidate countries due to become members in 2020.
We are looking to appoint a part-time member of the Board of Directors from 01 September 2018, who will work closely with two other Board members, including the Chair of the Board. The Board of Directors is the executive body of DARIAH and its legal representative, also providing strategic leadership for our activities.


Nocturne MONKEYS Film and debate The Vervet Forest

Mon, 29 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100

During the nocturne on 08.02.2018, we will show you the movie The Vervet Forest (in English), the story of five orphan baby monkeys and the struggle to save their home, followed by a debate (in English, French and Dutch)
With Josie Du Toit, co-director and rehabilitator at the Vervet Monkey Foundation (Tzaneen, nothern South Africa).


Imagination: The evolution of human mind viewed from the study of chimpanzees.

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Our temporary exhibition MONKEYS comes with 11 nocturnes! Visit the exhibition from 17.30 to 21.30 and attend a lecture or the screening of a documentary (followed by a debate) from 19.00.
During this fourth nocturne (on 09.01.2018), Tetsuro Matsuzawa will give a lecture entitled Imagination: The evolution of human mind viewed from the study of chimpanzees.

Matsuzawa has been studying chimpanzee both in the laboratory and in the wild. The laboratory work is known as "Ai-project" in the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University since 1977: a female chimpanzee named Ai learned to use Arabic numerals to represent the number (Matsuzawa, 1985, NATURE). The field work has been carried out in Bossou-Nimba, Guinea, since 1986, focusing on the tool use in the wild. Matsuzawa tries to synthesize the field and the lab work to understand the mind of chimpanzees to know the evolutionary origins of human mind. He published the books such as "Primate origins of human cognition and behavior", "Cognitive development in chimpanzees", "The chimpanzees of Bossou and Nimba". He got several prizes including Jane Goodall Award in 2001, and The Medal with Purple Ribbon in 2004, The Person of Cultural Merit in 2013.


SOLAR-ISS: A new reference spectrum based on SOLAR/SOLSPEC observations

Wed, 20 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100

The precise measurement of the solar spectrum outside the atmosphere and its variability are fundamental inputs for:
• solar physics (Sun modeling)
• terrestrial atmospheric photochemistry
• the Earth's climate (climate's modeling)
The role of solar variability on climate change remains a topic of strong scientific and societal interest. An international scientific team, with an important role for the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), has accurately determined a new solar reference spectrum from measurements made by the SOLAR/SOLSPEC instrument on board the International Space Station.
The study behind this story was published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics in November 2017.

Launch your design with Cheops

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0100

ESA is offering graphic designers and artists a unique opportunity to feature their work on the rocket carrying the Cheops satellite.
The design will be placed on the Soyuz rocket’s fairing, the tough outer shell that protects the satellite during launch and as it passes through the atmosphere into space.
At an altitude of about 100 km the fairing will be jettisoned and fall back to Earth, while Cheops will continue into orbit.
Cheops, a partnership between ESA and Switzerland, will observe bright stars known to host planets.
Scientists will use high-precision monitoring of a star’s brightness to examine the transit of a planet as it passes briefly across the bright face.
The information will help to reveal the structure of planets circling other stars, especially those in the Earth-to-Neptune mass range. The mission will also contribute to our understanding of how planets change orbits during their formation and evolution.
Cheops is currently on track to be ready for launch by the end of 2018.
This competition is an exciting opportunity for students of graphic art or design, or early career graphic artists and designers to make one of their designs a part of ESA history.
For the winner, the design will be visible during launch preparations and liftoff, as well as on photographs and video footage taken at the spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
In addition, the winner will be invited to attend the main Cheops launch event in Europe as a guest of ESA and to watch as their design climbs skywards.
Designs selected as runners-up will be exhibited during the event, which will be broadcast through multiple media channels.
The deadline for submissions is 17:00 GMT (18:00 CET) on 31 January.

EU Prize for Women Innovators 2018

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0100

The Women Innovators Prize Team would like to inform you that the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2018 will be open for application until 15 November 2017.
The fifth edition awards three of Europe's most innovative women entrepreneurs and one young innovator with prizes up to 100.000€. All finalists will also get the opportunity to obtain high level of visibility for their business to gain traction.

Call for Science observing proposals (Telescope ARIES 3.6 m , Devasthal India)

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0100

ARIES invites members of the Indian and Belgian astronomy community to participate in the call for Science observing cycle 2018A for the observations with 3.6-m Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT).
India has 93% share in the telescope time of which 33% is guaranteed to ARIES, and 7% to Belgian astronomers. The Principal Investigator of the proposals should have affiliations at Indian or Belgian academic institutions and/or universities.
The observing period: 01 February to 31 May, 2018 The proposal submission deadline: 30 November, 2017 23:59:59 IST
You can submit your observing proposals through online proposal submission system at
Two instruments are offered for observations namely Optical CCD Imager and Near Infrared Imager (TIRCAM-2). For more information on telescope and instruments, please visit
Allocation of time on the telescope will be based on the assigned ranking of the proposals through a peer-review process by Indian and Belgian Time Allocation committees for Indian and Belgian proposals, respectively.
ARIES will provide telescope operators and site-staff to perform routine start-up & shut-down procedures, and safety checks at the telescope.

Questions regarding the operational policies with the DOT should be directed to Dr. Brijesh Kumer.
For specific questions related to 4Kx4K Imager and TIRCAM-2, contact Dr. S. B. Pandey and Prof. D. K. Ojha), respectively. For general assistance regarding the proposal submission process, contact Dr. Yogesh Joshi / Purushottam

Palaeontologists Discovered a ‘Primitive Iguanodon’ With Scissor-like Teeth

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0100

A team of Belgian and French palaeontologists has described a new dinosaur species that had scissor-like teeth. The fossil remains of Matheronodon provincialis – a primitive cousin of Iguanodon – was discovered in the South of France, during a ‘paleotrip’ of the Museum of Natural Sciences.


TERRASCOPE: Sentinel data now readily available for all Belgian users

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0100

The European Commission designed its Copernicus programme for a better understanding of our environment. A key element of the programme are the Sentinel satellites which are being developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) to provide detailed maps of our planet. The images acquired by the Sentinel satellites are freely available for all: industry, government, academia and the private citizens.
Not everyone, however, easily finds his way to these images. Moreover, the use of standard imagery is not always as user-friendly as could be. That's why individual European member states can set up a so-called “Collaborative Ground Segment” in consultation with ESA. These are meant to ensure a low-threshold access to satellite imagery and to transform satellite imagery in ready-to-use information for interested users.

BELSPO (the Federal Science Policy Office) has just launched TERRASCOPE (, the Belgian Collaborative Ground Segment. It takes advantage of existing infrastructure that Belgium built up for the SPOT-VEGETATION and PROBA-V missions. From now on TERRASCOPE will offer its users following products and services:
- Sentinel imagery;
- Information products derived from Sentinel imagery;
- Computing power for third parties to use to generate their own information products.

TERRASCOPE aims to be a flexible and dynamic platform which should allow for new developments resulting from collaboration between Belgian partners in dialogue with BELSPO.
BELSPO is dedicated to encourage Belgian users to work with Sentinel data. To better understand which products our Belgian users need and how you would like to see TERRASCOPE evolve, we invite each of you to complete the TERRASCOPE survey (

Numerous PhD scholarships available in Melbourne

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0100

The Australian-German Climate and Energy College at the University of Melbourne has a number of PhD scholarships available. The scholarships are available to Australian and international candidates that are keen to research climate or energy transition issues from any discipline or perspective. For many topics, there is the opportunity to undertake joint PhDs with our German partner universities.
Applications close on 6 November 2017 and projects will commence early in 2018.

IPCC - nominations - deadline 26 October 2017

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0100

The outlines of the Working Group contributions to the AR6 were approved in Plenary at the 46th Session of the IPCC (Montreal, Canada 6 – 10 September 2017). They can be accessed on the IPCC Website on the following link:
The contribution of Working Group I will be completed in April 2021, Working Group II in October 2021, Working Group III in July 2021 and the Synthesis Report in September 2022. The outline of the Synthesis Report will be developed in April 2019.
The IPCC invites us to submit nominations of experts (for consideration by the resp. Bureaus) as Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors, and Review Editors for this Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Note that a nomination does not mean necessarily any funding by BELSPO or another funding agency, when selected. If interested, please contact the IPCC Focal Point
May we ask you to distribute this call for nominations also to your colleagues so that the Belgian research can be assessed and integrated in the new report and become valuable policy relevant (non prescriptive) information for decision makers.

Marie Curie: 150th birthday celebration

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Winning Nobel Prizes in both physics and chemistry, Marie Sklodowska-Curie paved the way for nuclear physics, chemistry as well as radiobiology and cancer therapy. To coincide with the 150th anniversary of Marie Sklodowska-Curie’s birth, SCK•CEN will explore the life, work and extraordinary legacy of one of science’s greatest pioneers. The day will also be devoted to 120 years of worldwide radiobiology research and pioneering radiobiological research in Belgium and at SCK•CEN. In particular, 7th of November will also be proposed as a National Day of Radiobiology. An exhibition entitled “Radiations: scenes of Marie Curie’s scientific life” will give the opportunity to learn more about Marie Curie’s life achievements.

New European satellite Sentinel-5p to be launched

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0100

On October 13, 2017, the European satellite Sentinel-5 Precursor (Sentinel-5p) will be launched from the Russian Cosmodrome of Plesetsk on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA).
After the successful launch of several Sentinel satellites for the monitoring of lands and oceans, Sentinel-5p has been developed by ESA and the Dutch Space Agency (NSO) as the first atmospheric monitoring satellite of the EU Copernicus Earth Observation programme.
The latter aims at the operational provision of advanced information services on our environment and security to public authorities, policy makers and the citizen. As part of this programme, Sentinel-5p having on-board the TROPOMI instrument will be the precursor of the future Sentinel-5 mission to be launched in 2022.

50th anniversary of the atomic second

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0100

On 13 October 2017, atom-based time measurement will have replaced astronomic-based time measurement for exactly 50 years.
The second, as time unit, was originally defined as the fraction 1/86 400 of the mean solar day. This “mean solar day” was determined by astronomers from observations of the passage of stars through the sky. Due to irregularities of the Earth rotation speed, this second was variable in duration. In 1960, the 11th General Conference on Weights and Measures approved a new definition of the second, based on a fraction of the tropic year 1900 duration.
However, experimental research had already demonstrated that a much more exact and stable time unit can be generated by using transitions between two energy levels of an atom or a molecule. Considering that a high precision definition of the International System time unit is essential for science and technology, the 13th General Conference on Weights and Measures replaced on 13 October 1967 the definition of the second by the following:
“The second is the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom.”
The atomic time has led to many scientific and technological advances. . The GPS and the synchronization in communication networks are examples of them.
Presently, the Royal Observatory of Belgium realizes and distributes the accurate second and time with its set of atomic clocks. These latter are also used for the working of the Galileo system.

2nd edition of the Prize Digital for Development D4D - Digital for development

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0100

After a successful first edition of the Prize Digital for Development (D4D), the Royal Museum of Central Africa (RMCA) and the Belgian Directorate-General for Development Cooperation (DGD) are pleased to announce the second edition of the prize. Prize D4D Edition 2018 is now open for submissions on digitalisation for development.
Prize D4D is a biennial initiative in line with the policy priorities of the Belgian development cooperation to use digitisation and (new) technologies as a lever for development.
Prize D4D rewards outstanding initiatives that use digitisation and (new) technologies as a lever for development towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There are no restrictions as to the chosen themes, nor the target groups.

Measuring Cost and Impact of Cybercrime in Belgium (BCC)

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Last year, 66% of companies taking part of a survey declared to be victim of one or other form of cybercrime. This result comes from a study funded by BELSPO and led by Prof. letizia Paoli (Leuven Institute form Crimonolgy) in collaboration with the Centre for IT & IP Law (professor Marie-Christine Janssens).

World record in the underground laboratory of Membach: A sphere of mass 4 grams has been levitating for 8081 days

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 00:00:00 +0100

On Monday 18th of September 2017, the superconducting gravimeter of the Seismology-Gravimetry service installed at the Royal Observatory of Belgium’s facility in Membach (close to Eupen, eastern Belgium), broke two records: firstly, the gravimeter has been measuring gravitational variations for the longest recorded period at a single location, and secondly, recorded the longest period that an artifact has been levitating using superconduction. The total duration is 22 years and 45 days, or 8081 days.
The principle measurement is based on the monitoring of the levitation of a superconducting niobium sphere of mass 4 grams. In 1995, currents were injected into superconducting coils causing the sphere to levitate; the currents have never been dissipated ever since. Although the fundamental importance of this measurement is not yet clear, as it does not contradict the physics of persistent currents, it is at least worthy of a place in the “cabinet of curiosities” of solid state physics.

Pre-announcement ESS Call for Round 10 Question Module Design Teams

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 00:00:00 +0100

The European Social Suvrey ERIC is pleased to pre-announce the ‘Call for multi-national teams of researchers to submit applications for modules of questions to be fielded as part of Round 10 of the European Social Survey (ESS)’. Applications for both new and repeat modules will be invited.
The call for Round 10 QDTs will formally open by mid-October 2017. Provisional details and timings are available from our website

UNESCO MAB Young Scientists AwardsApplication 2018 Submission of proposals 15/12/2017

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Since 1989 MAB has been providing 10 young researchers each year with awards of up to US$ 5,000 in support of their research on ecosystems, natural resources and biodiversity. Through the MAB Young Scientists Awards, MAB is investing in a new generation of scientists worldwide because we think well-trained and committed young people are key to addressing ecological and sustainability issues.
The deadline for submission of application forms for the 2018 MAB Young Scientists Awards is 15 December 2017.

  • Priority is given to interdisciplinary projects carried out in biosphere reserves designated under the Man and the Biosphere Programme or potential biosphere reserves, and which contribute to the implementation of the Lima Action Plan (LAP) for Biosphere Reserves and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Applicants from developed countries are eligible for Awards only in exceptional cases or if working in joint partnership with developing countries.
  • Applicants can not be not older than 35 years of age (at the closing date of the application).
  • Awards are set at a maximum of US $5,000 each and the research supported by an Award should be completed within 2 years. MAB-YSA_EN.pdf

IPCC : Special Report Global Warming of 1.5 °C

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:00:00 +0100

The Expert Review of the First Order Draft of the IPCC Special Report Global Warming of 1.5°C will run from 31 July to 24 September 2017.
To take part as an expert reviewer, please register.
Registration will be open until 17 September 2017.

25 years of Belgians in space

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 00:00:00 +0100

2017 is a very special year for Belgium. The entire country celebrates its two famous Belgian astronauts, Dirk Frimout and Frank de Winne, who flew to space 25, 15 and 10 years ago. The 25th anniversary fits in the World Space Week that is held from 4 till 10 October all over the world. This year’s theme is “ Exploring New World in Space”.
SCK•CEN would like to invite you on 6 October 2017 to celebrate this anniversary in presence of astronaut Frank de Winne. This day will be dedicated to the Belgian contribution to human spaceflights in view of future human space exploration. This is an unique opportunity for scientists, professionals and students to share experiences.

INDIA Astronomy call "2017B-Early-Science" is open

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 00:00:00 +0100

ARIES invites members of the Indian and Belgian astronomy community to participate in the call for observing proposals (2017B-Early Science) for the 3.6m Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT). India has 93% share in the telescope time of which 33% is guaranteed to ARIES, and the Belgian share is 7%. The Principal Investigator of the proposals should have affiliations at Indian or Belgian academic institutions and/or universities.
> The observing period: 1st of October, 2017 to 31st of January, 2018
> The proposal submission deadline: 1st of August, 2017 23:59:59 IST

Algal Bloom Along Belgian Coast Detected From Space

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 00:00:00 +0100

In May 2016, scientists observed an intense algal bloom very close to the Belgian coast. They managed this by using the European satellite Sentinel-2. This satellite can help monitor areas that are unreachable for a research vessel. In 2017, the same phenomenon was confirmed on the satellite images.


Belgium joins European cooperation on high-performance computing

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Belgium is the 8th EU country to sign the European declaration on high-performance computing. Belgium will participate in the joint efforts to build the next generation of computing and data infrastructures.


Rodin comes alive at the Fin-de-Siècle Museum!

Mon, 22 May 2017 00:00:00 +0100

The Fin-de-Siècle Museum and Cinéart honour Rodin, who passed away exactly 100 years ago. On the 24th of May, at the same time as the film projection of "Rodin" at the Cannes Film Festival, the Belgian premiere will take place at the heart of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. The VIPs will also admire the most famous works of Rodin during an exclusive visit to the Fin-de-Siècle Museum.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), man of the people, autodidact and revolutionary sculptor - the most brilliant of his era. At 42, Rodin meets Camille Claudel, a young woman desperate to become his assistant. He quickly acknowledges her as his most able pupil, and treats her as an equal in matters of creation. More than a decade of work and passionate engagement ensues. Breakup follows reconciliation until Camille makes the final separation from which she will not recover, and from which Rodin himself will emerge deeply wounded. The film also recounts the artist's numerous affairs with assistants and models, as well as his relationship with Rose Beuret, his lifelong partner. We discover Rodin as an erotically charged sensualist, for whom art is a profoundly sexual delight - a sculptor of flesh in movement, who gives life to the very stone itself.


Baleen Whales’ Ancestors Were Toothy Suction Feeders

Thu, 11 May 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Modern whales’ ancestors probably hunted and chased down prey, but somehow, those fish-eating hunters evolved into filter-feeding leviathans. An analysis of a 36.4-million-year-old whale fossil suggests that before baleen whales lost their teeth, they were suction feeders that most likely dove down and sucked prey into their large mouths. The study published on May 11 in Current Biology also shows that whales most likely lost the hind limbs that stuck out from their bodies more recently than previously estimated.


Summer school in radiobiology

Thu, 04 May 2017 00:00:00 +0100

The “summer school in radiobiology” will be run at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK-CEN), Mol, Belgium from August 16th till August 25th 2017.
The link for registration
This course is targeted at 16 to 20 year-olds, i.e. students who, in September 2017, will enter their last year of Secondary school up to those entering the final year of a bachelor degree course.
Deadline for application is May 15 2017.
The course is free of charge and will be run in English. The number of selected students will be limited to 20. Dormitories will be available if needed.
The course is financially supported by the European Commission (EU Horizon2020 CONCERT grant).

Party for Ben: PlateoNIGHT

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 00:00:00 +0100

On Friday (21st April) from 7-11pm it’s PlateoNIGHT at the Museum! Special guests: BJ Scott, Axel Hirsoux, Propaganza Urban Artists. In the Dinosaur Gallery, come and meet the team who have been working on Ben the plateosaurus for nearly a year. You are invited to bid for unique objects in our auction, watch a live demonstration from a graffiti artist collective and enjoy performances from a selection of fabulous musicians. The artists have joined the Plateoteam and donated their talent for Ben!
All profits from the party will go towards the project.

Detailed Programme:
Scientific activities (guided tours of the Dinosaur Gallery every 30 mins, technicians working on casts and fossils, children’s activities ran by the Belgian Paleontology Association)
Propaganza collective graffiti demonstation
Auction and concert


Contribute to an exciting scientific expedition in a volcano

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Next June, the Royal Museum for Central Africa will lead and coordinate a huge scientific expedition on one of the most active and dangerous African volcanoes: Mount Nyiragongo. The expedition is organized in collaboration with BBC, the British public TV company, which will produce, in parallel, two documentaries on the Virunga volcanoes. Several Belgian, Luxembourgian and American scientific institutes are implied in this adventure during which scientists will sleep inside the Nyiragongo crater, close to the World’s largest active lava lake. In the framework of this expedition, several tasks will be performed to answer to specific needs of the RESIST Project (Belspo STEREO-III Programme; For more information about this expedition, which is the largest ever organized on Nyiragongo since the Haroun Tazieff’s expeditions in the 1950s and 1960s, do not hesitate to visit the following webpages and even support them by participating to their crowdfunding campaign!

How to deal with Data Management Plan & Ethics in Horizon 2020 ?

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 00:00:00 +0100

The Belgian NCPs (FWO, F.R.S.-FNRS, BELSPO and Impulse Brussels) are organising an info session on two H2020 cross cutting issues: data management plan and ethics. The aim is to support researchers to deal with these issues during the preparation of their applications for Horizon 2020 calls. All the projects submitted to H2020 calls after January 2017 are by default part of the Open Data Pilot and have to produce a DMP in the first 6 month as a deliverable.
The meeting will take place at BELSPO on April 21st.
More information, programme and registration on our website:

Falcons for everyone, 2017

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 00:00:00 +0100

In the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, we study and observe the evolution of the Peregrine falcon population in Belgium since 1994. In every corner of our country, collaborators observe and ring the young falcons. Now we share our discoveries with you!

Call for Entries – Logo Competition Global Monitoring for Environment and Security, and Africa (GMES & Africa)

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 +0100

The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security, and Africa (GMES & Africa), is an African Union-European Union joint initiative launched in November 2016 in the Congolese capital, Brazaville. The programm is designed to address the growing needs of African countries to access and use Earth Observation (EO) data for the implementation of sustainable development policies on the continent through the integration and deployment of African requirements and needs in Copernicus Services. This will, in the long run, enable the two continents to jointly solve and address global challenges and contribute to the attainment of their overaching development goals, including the AU Agenda 2063 and the Africa Space Policy and Strategy.
A key component of the implementation of GMES & Africa is visibility and awareness raising, as well as the creation of an effective brand that will enable and drive the programme’s outreach and advocacy.
The African Union Commission hereby launches a logo competition for GMES and Africa. The Call for entries is for African youth on the continent and in the diaspora to submit original artwork and concepts to the Science and Technology Division, under the Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology. Designs may come in any format, whether they are hand-drawn illustrations or well-polished graphic files.
The winning design by an African youth will receive a US$1000 prize and letter of recognition by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.


RIK WOUTERS A Retrospective

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 +0100

From 10 March till 2 July 2017. The retrospective exhibition organized by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, in partnership with the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, is exceptional. For the first time, the two museums bring together in one exhibition the most important collection of works by the illustrious Belgian artist of the early 20th century. Rare loans from private collections and major international museums complete the ensemble. This major exhibition closes the series of tributes linked to the centenary of the artist’s death.


Museum Night Fever (Animal Rebel Culture) at the Museum

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 +0100

On Saturday 11 March 2017, from 19:00 to 01:00, we celebrate the 10th edition of Museum Night Fever. 23 Brussels museums get out of their comfort zone! Our Museum chose the theme ‘Animal Rebel Culture’, involving graffiti, gesture theatre, the tales of La Fontaine (even in authentic Brussels dialect) and DJs for the whole evening!


Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions: support for 100 000 excellent researchers, with a strong focus on boosting women's careers in science

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, said: "On the eve of International Women's Day, I am especially proud that the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions pay particular attention to gender balance, with more than 40% of fellowships awarded to female scientists.”
Today the European Union is celebrating the one hundred thousandth fellow benefiting from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. To mark this milestone in the history of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, 30 highly promising researchers have been selected to showcase the EU's actions dedicated to excellence and worldwide mobility in research. Since the launch of the programme 20 years ago, the share of female participants has been exceptionally high and 18 of the selected researchers are women.
Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: "Celebrating the award of the 100 000th Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship is a great moment to recall the importance of this programme, which supports our brightest and best researchers in tackling the big societal challenges facing Europe. Marie Skłodowska-Curie paved the way for future generations of female researchers. On the eve of International Women's Day, I am especially proud that the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions pay particular attention to gender balance, and with more than 40% of fellowships awarded to female scientists, are the best performing part of Horizon 2020 with respect to gender."

Astrophysician Michaël GILLON from the University of Liège

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Discovery of three promising exoplanets by a team of astrophysicians from the University of Liège, with Michaël GILLON among them, beneficiary of a Back to Belgium Grant funded by BELSPO (selection 2008)

Applications to ESA Teacher Workshops now open

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:00:00 +0100

This year ESA is organising two teacher workshops dedicated to European primary and secondary school teachers. The summer edition will take place from 11 to 14 July 2017; the autumn edition from 5 to 8 October 2017. Both will take place in Leiden, the Netherlands.
The deadline to apply for both workshops is 17 April 2017, 09:00 CEST
Built around space themes such as Earth Observation, Satellites and Rockets, and Space Exploration, the workshop, identical in both editions, will provide teachers with an inspirational professional development opportunity, and, through training sessions, will demonstrate how space can be used to teach STEM curricular subjects in school.
The workshop also features keynote lectures from top-level space experts.


South Africa and Belgium to cooperate in science and technology

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 +0100

On January 26th 2017 South Africa and Belgium have signed a five-year cooperation agreement that will see the two countries implement joint research and innovation initiatives.
The agreement, signed by the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, and the Secretary of State for Science Policy, Elke Sleurs, will be implemented by the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and by South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) is set to promote the exchange of scientific information and expertise between the two countries and facilitate the hosting of joint seminars and training on aspects of mutual interest such as climate change, marine and Antarctic science, biodiversity and space science.
A joint committee of cooperation will be established to ensure the objectives of the MoU are achieved.
BELSPO manages 10 federal scientific institutes, including the Royal Museum for Central Africa (which, through research into zoology, geology, anthropology, history, forestry and agriculture, adds to knowledge towards sustainable development in Africa), the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (which studies biodiversity, development and the natural environment) and the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (which plays a central role in the study of global climate change).
Bilateral relations between South Africa and Belgium were formalised in 2004. Belgium is an important South African trading partner, with imports and exports amounting to billions. Belgium is also a vital source of foreign direct investment in South Africa, particularly in the areas of mining, green energy, ports, logistics and agriculture sectors.
South Africa already has an agreement with the government of Flanders (a region of Belgium), which was signed in 1996. In this framework research cooperation is ongoing in several domains.
Issued by the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office and the Department of Science and Technology of South Africa.

Rêves d'étoiles

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 00:00:00 +0100

Projection de films rapportés de l’espace accompagnés à l’orgue
Pionnier de la conquête spatiale, Jean-Loup Chrétien a effectué trois séjours dans l’espace. Il en a ramené plusieurs films. Sur terre, le premier spationaute d’Europe de l’Ouest est un amoureux des orgues, il a été à deux doigts d’embrasser une carrière d’organiste. Il a imaginé un concert qui combine ses deux passions, les étoiles et l’orgue. Tandis qu’il commente ses films, Jean-Pierre Rolland accompagne ce voyage intersidéral à travers les grandes pages de la littérature organistique.

East African lake sediments reveal a unique archive of climate and landscape history over the past 250,000 years

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 +0100

International earth-science project coordinated by Ghent University recovers a 215-meter long sediment core from the bottom of a crater lake near Mount Kilimanjaro.
Sediments on the bottom of Lake Challa, a 90-meter deep crater lake on the border of Kenya and Tanzania near Mt. Kilimanjaro, contain a uniquely long and continuous record of equatorial climate change and environmental history. Analysis of the last 1000 years of this archive coupled with regional climate simulations in the context of the BRAIN-be project ‘Patterns and mechanisms of extreme weather in East Africa’ (PAMEXEA) confirm the exceptional scientific value of this archive, which provides great opportunities to study tropical climate variability at both short (inter-annual to decadal) and long (glacial-interglacial) time scales; and the influence of this climate variability on the region’s freshwater resources, the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, and the history of the East African landscape in which modern humans (our species, Homo sapiens) have evolved and lived ever since.

A positive leap second must be introduced on December 31, 2016

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 +0100

The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) informs us that a positive leap second must be introduced on December 31, 2016.
The sequence of dates of the UTC second markers will be:
• 31 December 2016, 23h 59m 59s
• 31 December 2016, 23h 59m 60s
• 1 January 2017, 0h 0m 0s
Please note that for Belgium, the leap second will be introduced on 1 January 2017 at 1 a.m. local time, which corresponds to midnight in UTC.

A simple solution to make the Leopold Park pond healthy again

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 +0100

The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences wants to bring back biodiversity in the neighbouring Leopold Park by rehabilitating a natural bank around the pond.


NOMADs first view of the Martian atmosphere

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 00:00:00 +0100

“I am thrilled to see the hard work of the NOMAD team successfully culminating in the first scientific data of the Martian atmosphere! This is the result of a tight international collaboration, lead and mainly financed by Belgium,” says Ann Carine Vandaele, principal investigator of the NOMAD instrument onboard ExoMars 2016 and scientist at the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy.
“Our instrument has a detection sensitivity that is improved by several orders of magnitude compared to previous missions. Hence, it is expected that both the main constituents and the trace gases (like methane) in the Martian atmosphere will be much better understood.”

Wikimedia award ceremony

Sun, 20 Nov 2016 00:00:00 +0100

Wiki Loves Monuments is the largest photography competition in the world and Wiki Loves Art BE is a photography contest in Belgian museums, libraries and archives with the goal of increasing public awareness and support for 'open access' to cultural heritage.
Wikimedia Belgium organizes both initiatives and invites you to join them for the joint award ceremony and reception at the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA) in Brussels.
18-19h: award ceremony
19-20h: reception


Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) call will be open on the 1st December 2016

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 00:00:00 +0100

The deadline for submitting proposals is the 5 April 2017. This Marie Skłodowska-Curie scheme aims at promoting international and inter- sector collaboration through research and innovation staff exchanges. It also encourages knowledge sharing and bringing ideas from research to market.
This call for proposals has an available budget of €80 million and is open until 5 April 2017. The Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) is a scheme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions. It fosters a shared culture of research and innovation, supports creativity and entrepreneurship, and helps to turn creative ideas into innovative products, services or processes. RISE involves organisations from the academic and non-academic sectors (in particular SMEs), based in and outside Europe. Support is provided for the development of partnerships in the form of joint research and innovation activities between the participants.
Participating organisations contribute directly to the implementation of the joint research and innovation activities by seconding and/or hosting eligible staff members.
Activities are expected to build new - or enhance existing – networks of international and inter-sectoral cooperation. They should significantly strengthen the interaction between organisations in the academic and non-academic sectors, as well as between Europe and third countries. They are also expected to better align different cultures and expectations with a view to ensuring more effective contribution of research and innovation to Europe's knowledge-based economy and society.
Evaluation is scheduled to start in April and the applicants should be informed by the results around mid of September. All grant agreements should be signed the latest by the end of next year.

Societal challenge 6 - Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies: 33 topics open

Wed, 09 Nov 2016 00:00:00 +0100

Under four different calls for proposals related to the Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 6 “Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies” 33 topics are open, out of which, 23 are directly managed by REA. The budget of these 23 calls is €108.05 million.
The calls managed by the REA cover many different topics:

The complete list of open calls for this Societal challenge include: a total of 7 topics for Co-Creation, 5 of which managed by the REA; 13 in Cultural Cooperation, 10 of which of REA; 9 in Engaging Together Globally, with 7 managed by REA; and 4 Reversing Inequalities and Promoting Fairness topics, out of which 1 is managed by REA.
This Societal Challenge 6 ‘Europe in a changing world - Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies’ addresses social exclusion, migration, radicalisation as well as integration, understanding and reflection on the past.
Research in this area will explore new forms of education, integration and innovation in EU policy making. It will strengthen the position of Europe in the global context and promote strategic cooperation with third countries. Additionally, it will address the issues of mutual understanding of European history, religion, democracy and cultural heritage in view also of promoting access and participation to public and cultural space. Understanding and preparing the transformation of public administrations as well as supporting the integration of migrants are also covered by this challenge.

The deadline for these calls is 2 February 2017 at 17:00.

Replacement of the oceanographic research vessel RV Belgica

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 00:00:00 +0100

On the 28th of October 2016, the Ministerial Council agreed to replace the research vessel RV Belgica, after a proposal by Secretary of State for Science Policy Elke Sleurs and Secretary of State for the North Sea Philippe De Backer.
The RV Belgica has contributed to the development and the international reputation of the Belgian marine scientific research and is still an essential infrastructure for the research community. Because the ship has reached the maximum lifetime (it was built in 1984), we need a structural solution for the replacement of the ship.


€430 million available for Innovative Training Networks

Fri, 28 Oct 2016 00:00:00 +0100

The fourth Horizon 2020 call for proposals, offering the EU-funded Innovative Training Networks (ITN) a total of €430 million, is currently open. This scheme aims to train a new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative early-stage researchers.
The Innovative Training Networks is an action under the Horizon 2020 activity, Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions. This scheme will extend the traditional academic research training setting and will provide researchers with a combination of research-related and transferable competences. It will offer enhanced career perspectives in both the academic and non-academic sectors through international, interdisciplinary and inter-sector mobility, combined with an innovation-oriented mind-set.
Support will be given to competitive selected joint research training and/or doctoral programmes, implemented by partnerships of universities, research institutions, research infrastructures, businesses, SMEs, and other socioeconomic actors from different countries across Europe and beyond. Partnerships take the form of collaborative European Training Networks (ETN), European Industrial Doctorates (EID) or European Joint Doctorates (EJD). Each project should have a clearly identified supervisory board coordinating networkwide training and establishing active and continuous communication and exchange of best practices among the partners.
The call H2020-MSCA-ITN-2017 is open until 10 January 2017, 17.00 Brussels time. Applicants must submit their proposal electronically, following the link on the Participant Portal.
- Participant portal
- Work Programme
- Official Journal

A Medieval Layer of Waste Reveals Mass Deforestation in Flanders

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 00:00:00 +0100

The analysis of an archaeological layer of waste has shown that the area around the Belgian city of Ghent was completely deforested during its growth in the 10th to 12th century. A researcher from our Institute deducted from wood and charcoal remains that in 200 years, practically every usable tree was chopped down to use as construction material or fuel.


Modernity à la belge

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 00:00:00 +0100

The exhibition "Modernity à la belge" retraces Belgian Art over more than a century through paintings, drawings and sculptures from the Modern Art collection of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, as well as some invited major art works.


UNESCO - Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB): Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve Management - Call for 2017

Fri, 07 Oct 2016 00:00:00 +0100

This prize is awarded every two years in memory of Dr Michel Batisse for excellence in the management of the biosphere reserves in line with the recommendations of the Seville Strategy. All case studies must be submitted through, and have the endorsement of, the respective MAB National Committees, and/or the UNESCO National Commissions of the country concerned. The application form for the Michel Batisse Award (see link below), sent by mail, should reach Federal Science Policy no later than 30 November 2016.

Application Form 2017

Different Behaviour Leads to New Species

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 00:00:00 +0100

Two populations of the same species can become separated by natural barriers and evolve into different species over time. That is nothing new. But a study with beetles by biologists from the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences proves that different behaviour – learned in the larval stage – can also cause populations to become isolated. ‘Learned behaviour can be an important first step in the formation of new species’, says biologist Frederik Hendrickx (RBINS), ‘even before there have been any genetic changes.’


Saturn’s moon Dione harbors a subsurface ocean

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:00:00 +0100

A subsurface ocean lies deep within Saturn’s moon Dione, according to new data from the Cassini mission to Saturn. Two other moons of Saturn, Titan and Enceladus, are already known to hide global oceans beneath their icy crusts, but a new study suggests an ocean exists on Dione as well.

In this study, researchers of the Royal Observatory of Belgium show gravity data from recent Cassini flybys can be explained if Dione’s crust floats on an ocean located 100 kilometers below the surface. The ocean is several tens of kilometers deep and surrounds a large rocky core. Seen from within, Dione is very similar to its smaller but more famous neighbor Enceladus, whose south polar region spurts huge jets of water vapor into space. Dione seems to be quiet now, but its broken surface bears witness of a more tumultuous past. The study is published online this week in Geophysical Research Letters.

Royal Observatory of Belgium Seismology and Gravimetry

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 00:00:00 +0100

A Belgian-French study has evidenced variations of gravity induced by the transpiration of the trees. During sunny summer days, each tree transpires a few hundred liters of water into the atmosphere. Assessing the evapotranspiration of ecosystems remains a key challenge in hydrology.
The authors found that the water mass loss can be directly inferred from continuous gravity measurements: as water evaporates and transpires from terrestrial ecosystems, the mass distribution of water decreases, changing the gravity field.

Substantial Underestimation of Post-Harvest Burning Emissions in the North China Plain Revealed by Multi-Species Space Observations

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 00:00:00 +0100

The large-scale burning of crop residues in the North China Plain (NCP), one of the most densely populated world regions, was recently recognized to cause severe air pollution and harmful health effects. A reliable quantification of the magnitude of these fires is needed to assess regional air quality. The Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) and its partners ULB, KNMI (Netherlands) and the Peking University (China) used an eight-year record (2005–2012) of formaldehyde measurements from space to constrain the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in this region.
Using inverse modelling, the scientists derived that satellite-based post-harvest burning fluxes are, on average, at least a factor of 2 higher than state-of-the-art bottom-up statistical estimates, although with significant interannual variability.
Crop burning is calculated to cause important increases in surface ozone (+7%) and fine aerosol concentrations (+18%) in the North China Plain in June. The impact of crop fires is also found in satellite observations of other species, glyoxal, nitrogen dioxide and methanol, and researchers show that those measurements validate the magnitude of the top-down fluxes. The study indicates that the top-down crop burning fluxes of VOCs in June exceed by almost a factor of 2 the combined emissions from other anthropogenic activities in this region, underscoring the need for targeted actions towards changes in agricultural management practices.

Walk Online Through the Museum of Natural Sciences, Thanks to Google

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 00:00:00 +0100

Google together with the Museum of Natural Sciences and some of the most loved natural history institutions in the world, has launched a new online experience, allowing people to come face to face with fascinating specimens and browse through the most spectacular collection of natural history available in one place. Experience in one click an interactive, dynamic and immersive discovery journey in our world’s natural wonders and diversity, on the new ‘Natural History’ section in the Google Arts & Culture platform.


Radio Meteor Zoo: help us detect the Perseids!

Mon, 08 Aug 2016 00:00:00 +0100

The Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) invites everyone to help scientists monitor the Perseid meteor shower by way of the “Radio Meteor Zoo”project.
The website provides all the necessary information about meteors and their detection by the Belgian BRAMS network. Everyone who is interested can participate in the observation and count of the Perseids, a meteor shower originating from the comet Swift-Tuttle, starting from August 12, 2016.
A comet is often presented as a dirty snowball containing a large number of dust particles. When it comes close to the sun, the snowball is heated up and releases a part of those dust particles in its wake. Every time the earth (on its orbit around the sun) passes through such a cloud of dust particles, these particles enter our atmosphere and heat up. They evaporate at an altitude of 90-100 km, thereby producing the flash of light that we call a meteor, a.k.a. “a shooting star”.
As it is not one but a whole cloud of dust particle(s) that enters the atmosphere and evaporates, the term ‘meteor shower’ is preferred. In this way, the Earth meets dust particles originating from the comet Swift-Tuttle every year in mid-August. These particles are the source of the Perseid meteor shower.
Those meteors can be perceived by the naked eye, but they can also be detected by radio techniques. The latter have the advantage that they can be used at night and in cloudy weather. This is why the BIRA-IASB has been performing this kind of observations already for a few years now, using the BRAMS network that consists of a transmitter and some 30 receivers scattered all over Belgium. In this way, thousands of meteors are detected every day.
The results that scientists obtain through the processing of the data provided by the network are used, for instance, to map the activity of meteor showers, to detect peaks in this activity, to compare them with predictions made by other scientists,…
By aid of the BRAMS network, scientists are able to automatically detect meteors, but the human eye remains the best Perseid detector. That is why the BIRA-IASB has developed this website where everyone can identify meteors in just a few clicks. So, your contribution to this project will be of great value!

An KIK-IRPA art historian gains an award

Tue, 12 Jul 2016 00:00:00 +0100

The Académie française has just given an award for the first monograph by the IRPA art historian, Pierre-Yves Kairis, published in 2015 (by the Parisian publishing house Arthéna) on the 17th-century painter and architect from Liège, Bertholet Flémal, the Raphael of the Low Countries. This magnificent, richly illustrated volume reviews in depth the works of a man who was, in his time, the most prominent painter at work in Liège, a city that was a very original artistic melting pot in the European context. In addition to Flémal, the author revisits an entire century of painting in Liège.
The Académie française commends this lengthy scientific work, which challenges many thoughtlessly repeated pseudo-certitudes. It also honours the IRPA by recognising its important contribution to art history research. Pierre-Yves Kairis will be welcomed under the Cupola on 01 December this year for the Academy's annual award ceremony.

10 September 2016: Citizens' Debate on Space for Europe in 22 ESA Member States

Wed, 06 Jul 2016 00:00:00 +0100

The Citizens' Debate on Space for Europe is a unique - indeed the first instance of a - consultation organised in every member state of the European Space Agency. Over 2000 citizens selected to reflect the socio-demographic diversity of their country will debate on space matters during a day-long meeting. In order to consolidate the 22 national results reports into one European report, all debates will follow the same instructions and answer the same set of questions.
This consultation on unprecedented scale is organised by Missions Publiques, a company specialised in citizen participation, with 20 partners, on behalf of ESA. ESA intends to take in new actors to develop its future orientation and nurture its strategy. It is crucial to the Agency to involve more actors, especially citizens, in choices that will respond to societal challenges, put space at their service and impact coming generations through space innovation, exploration and international space cooperation.

Belgian Neandertals Were Cannibals

Wed, 06 Jul 2016 00:00:00 +0100

Neandertals that lived near the Belgian caverns of Goyet were cannibals. Several bones show cut marks and percussion marks. It is the first evidence of Neandertal cannibalism in northern Europe.
An international team of researchers, two of them from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, discovered traces of cannibalism on dozens of bones from the caverns of Goyet, near Namur. High resolution images show anthropogenic modifications – cut marks and percussion marks – that provide clear proof of butchery activities. The remains exhibit evidence of skinning, filleting, disarticulation and bone marrow extraction.
Evidence of Neandertal cannibalism had previously been documented at four sites in France and Spain, but the Goyet fossils provide the first example in northern Europe. For now, it is impossible to determine whether the Neandertal remains were processed in the framework of symbolic practices or if they were seen as ordinary food sources.
The researchers also found that the bones were reused. Four of the Goyet Neandertal bones – a tighbone and three shinbones – were used to sharpen the edges of stone tools (in silex). These cut marks are commonly found on animal bones, but rarely appear on Neandertal bones.


India was a “Noah's Ark”

Thu, 30 Jun 2016 00:00:00 +0100

An international team of palaeontologists and geologists have dug up 54 million year old fossils in India. The fossils are from mammals, birds and reptiles, including a newly discovered giant snake. Some of these derive from European fauna, others from primitive animals of the supercontinent Gondwana. This remarkable mix raises speculation that there were several land bridges connected to India, that was an island at the time and drifted towards Asia as a Noah's Ark.


Space App Camp

Tue, 21 Jun 2016 00:00:00 +0100

For the fifth time, ESA will be inviting 20 developers to its ESRIN location in Frascati (including travel expenses and accommodation). The Space App Camp is an opportunity to spend a week with like-minded people, gaining insight into the European Space Programmes, and learning how to enrich mobile applications with satellite data. Especially with the recently launched radar and high-res image satellites from the Sentinel fleet, of the Copernicus programme doors will be open to countless potential mobile applications. The winning team will be rewarded with a cash prize worth EUR 2,500.
For your network of students, researchers or developers and/or publish information on your website. All information is also available at the website

Knights Feast

Fri, 10 Jun 2016 00:00:00 +0100

Discovered the Halle Gate with its impressing ramparts and dazzling spiral staircase yet? Stop by on Sunday the 12th of June for a phenomenal feast featuring knights, princesses and witches straight out of a story book. Try your hand at archery (+ 4 years), enjoy a demonstration of medieval weaponry or take a ride on the exclusive knights and ladies merry-go-roud! The ideal venue to celebrate Father's Day!

Mon, 06 Jun 2016 00:00:00 +0100 presents a series of indicators that characterise the performance of the innovation system of our country.
The user will find more than a hundred of data tables covering various domains like socio economic aspects (number of graduates), technological (patents) and scientometric(bibliometry) fields.
Most of them regionalised and recently updated, and some of them being new and original data.
Beside these, several web cob diagrams present the most significant trends within domains - for Belgium, its regions and in comparison with neighbouring countries.
The site is a coproduction of the Federal Planning Bureau and Belspo.

Will Iggy Conquer Your ❤ During #100masters?

Thu, 19 May 2016 00:00:00 +0100

From 18 May till 27 August, the Brussels museums are highlighting the masters of their permanent collections. Discover in 100 days the 100 masterpieces on, through treasure hunts, speed dates, guided tours and a host of other activities. And we also participate!
The 5 masters that made it to the top 100 are the Iguanodons of Bernissart (of course!), the mysterious lunar rock, the wonderful sea lilies, the extinct Tasmanian “wolf” and finally our “Sea-rex”, Hainosaurus bernardi, one of the largest mosasaurs known to date.
You can even come and admire a sixth masterpiece, a pop-up master: the slit drum from the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren. During the closure for renovation, this museum organizes pop-up exhibitions in other museums. The drum is more than a hundred years old and what makes him so special is its unique shape: a stylized antelope.


ActInSpace Belgique: un challenge de 24h

Tue, 10 May 2016 00:00:00 +0100

Tu souhaites relever un nouveau défi? Tu veux faire du spatial un élément incontournable sur Terre? Tu veux t'immerger dans le monde de la création d’entreprise durant 24h?
ActInSpace® est un évènement organisé par le CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales), l’ESA (Agence Spatiale Européenne), et l’ESA BIC Sud France autour des Sciences, du Spatial et du Transfert de technologie, dans tous les pays du monde.
Cet évènement rassemble, pendant 24h, partout en Europe, créateurs d’entreprise, étudiants, entrepreneurs, développeurs, usagers, créatifs.
Le prix régional pour l’équipe lauréate est un baptême «Skydive» chez Fly-in. Les gagnants de chaque région/ville Européenne se rassembleront au Toulouse Space Show en Juin 2016 pour tenter de remporter le premier prix, un vol en zéro-G.
ActInSpace est organisé en Wallonie par GoToro asbl et WSLlux, l’antenne de WSL en province de Luxembourg qui gère l’ESA BIC Wallonie Redu.
ActInSpace Belgique aura lieu les vendredi 20 et samedi 21 Mai 2016 à l’Euro Space Center, Transinne.
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UNESCO MAB Young Scientists Awards: helping young people help the planet

Mon, 09 May 2016 00:00:00 +0100

Since 1989 MAB has been providing 10 young researchers each year with awards of up to US$ 5,000 in support of their research on ecosystems, natural resources and biodiversity. Through the MAB Young Scientists Awards, MAB is investing in a new generation of scientists worldwide because we think well-trained and committed young people are key to addressing ecological and sustainability issues.
The deadline for submission of application forms for the 2017 MAB Young Scientists Awards is 31 October 2016.

"Public Humanities" is the DARIAH Theme for 2016: Consortium Calls for Applications

Mon, 21 Mar 2016 00:00:00 +0100

DARIAH-EU funds initiatives exploring the topic "Public Humanities“, which is its thematic priority for this year. The consortium invites proposals to organise events related to this topic.
"Our Public Humanities call builds on last year's call (open humanities), because it does not only promote better access to data and other digital resources but also to arts and humanities knowledge as a whole", DARIAH-EU's director Tobias Blanke describes the motivation for choosing "Public Humanities" as DARIAH Theme this year. Mike Mertens, CEO of DARIAH, says, "We think it is of great importance to engage the public, to offer opportunities for new skills and understanding based on digital arts and humanities research".

PROBA-V community assembles in Ghent for its 2016 Symposium!

Fri, 19 Feb 2016 00:00:00 +0100

From January 26-28, 2016 ESA (European Space Agency) and BELSPO (Belgian Science Policy Office) hosted the PROBA-V Symposium 2016 in Ghent, Belgium! With support of VITO’s (Flemish Institute for technological Research) Remote Sensing Unit the 3 day international conference united PROBA-V partners, users, scientist, … from all over the world to discuss the scientific and operational exploitation of the PROBA-V mission.

Scientific community looks with confidence at PROBA-V’s future
PROBA-V, the small satellite for Global Vegetation Monitoring, is just over 2 years in operation. During the PROBA-V symposium the PROBA-V community reported on and discussed the status of the mission, the data quality, and various application developments related to vegetation, agriculture, land use, water, … The overall conclusion was that the mission is in perfect shape and the scientific community looks with confidence at PROBA-V’s future.

PROBA-V Mission Exploitation Platform released
During the symposium the PROBA-V Mission Exploitation Platform was officially released. PROBA-V MEP is an operational processing platform, complementary to the PROBA-V user segment, which facilitates the access and uptake of PROBA-V data beyond standard products.
It provides tools to visualize, analyse and process large amounts of data on-demand.
The MEP will evolve into a Virtual Research Platform allowing users to develop applications on a private cloud infrastructure at VITO with access to the complete data archive.
The PROBA-V MEP platform is accessible via

More information on the PROBA-V Symposium can be found at or follow us on Twitter.

European Humans Underwent Hefty Shuffle at the End of Last Ice Age

Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:00:00 +0100

European populations changed dramatically at the end of the last Ice Age. This is what scientists have revealed as a result of DNA analysis of more than thirty fossils from six countries. Moreover, the genetic material of Belgian fossils indicates that the modern humans have migrated from Africa straight to Europe without making a detour through Asia, which was originally thought.
An international team of scientists has analysed the DNA of 35 hunter-gatherers between 35,000 and 7,000 years old who lived in Italy, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Romania and Belgium. This has provided them with new information on how Europe’s population changed during the last Ice Age. The examined Belgian remains of eight individuals have been found in the caves of Goyet, near the city of Namur, and have been dated from 35,000 to 15,000 years old. The fossils belong to the collections of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS).


ERANet-LAC 2nd joint call is online

Mon, 07 Dec 2015 00:00:00 +0100

32 funding organizations from 26 member countries in the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin-American and Caribbean States (CELAC) are participating in the 2nd ERANet-LAC multilateral call for proposals. The objective of the joint call is to develop cooperative research and innovation activities in the thematic fields of Biodiversity/Climate, Bioeconomy, Energy, Health and Information- and Communication Technologies (ICT).
The following countries are supporting the 2nd ERANet-LAC joint call: Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Turkey, and in Latin-America / Caribbean: Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay.

Space Weather - Belgian wins an award

Tue, 01 Dec 2015 00:00:00 +0100

Since 2013, space weather medals are awarded at the annual European Space Weather Week conference. This year Dr. David Berghmans, a Belgian scientist at the Royal Observatory of Belgium, won the Marcel Nicolet medaille for his efforts to structure the space weather community at an international level.
The study of space weather is a young scientific discipline with increasing importance due to the impact solar storms can have on our high-technological society.
David Berghmans stood at the cradle of the space weather program in Belgium and Europe. The study of space weather received a boost in the nineties from the joint ESA/NASA space mission Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) to which Belgium contributed substantially with the EIT telescope. In the year 2000, David Berghmans created a Belgian Space Weather Center combining fundamental and applied research, which paved the road to space weather services and predictions up to a few days in the future. The center is one of the cornerstones of a worldwide network. This success story continues in the form of participation in numerous other space weather projects of the 21st century.
Thanks to David Berghmans and his team, Belgium now occupies a prominent place on the space weather map.

The Belgian instrument LaRa (for Lander Radioscience) has been selected for the ExoMars Platform 2018

Wed, 25 Nov 2015 00:00:00 +0100

The European Space Agency (ESA) in collaboration with the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) has chosen the set of instruments to be put on the ExoMars platform to be launched in 2018. This platform is part of the ExoMars mission that will deliver in 2019 the ESA-built rover to the Martian surface. Among the chosen instruments is the Belgian transponder LaRa (for Lander Radioscience).

12th European Space Weather Week

Sat, 21 Nov 2015 00:00:00 +0100

What is the probability a solar storm will occur? - Will the solar panels of satellites in a geostationairy orbit be damaged? - Can the sun cause radar blackouts disrupting air traffic?
Effective and reliable space weather services and space-weather-proof software and hardware are part of the solution towards a resilient society. Daily space weather bulletins are broadcasted by forecast centers worldwide. A Belgian, 2 British and an American center will present a daily live space weather update at the ESWW12.
Each year, during the European Space Weather Week (ESWW) conference, people from all over the world gather in Belgium to discuss the newest insights in space weather and try to find appropriate answers to the challenges and threats that space weather imposes. The meeting in 2014 was the eleventh edition, with more than 400 participants. Several communities - scientists, navigation based industry, space agencies, engineers, forecast centers, energy suppliers, space tourism, etc. - are involved in space weather in some way. The ESWW offers the platform to exchange knowledge and blend.

Take part in the BBC debate on Europe - 17.11.2015

Thu, 05 Nov 2015 00:00:00 +0100

How should Europe respond to the migration crisis?... Does the Euro have a future?... Can the EU meet the historic challenges the continent now faces?
As Europe faces some of the greatest crises of modern times, the BBC World Service is creating an opportunity for you to put your questions directly to the people in power. In a special event at the Royal Library of Belgium, the BBC's Jonathan Dimbleby invites you to join the debate and put questions to a panel of European politicians and thinkers.

International Hydrology Prize - Call for nominations before 31st December

Thu, 05 Nov 2015 00:00:00 +0100

The International Hydrology Prize is awarded annually by IAHS, with UNESCO and WMO, to two people who have made an outstanding contribution to hydrological science and nominations are now open.
Nominations for the Prize are made by National Committees to IAHS, National Committees to the UNESCO-IHP or National Hydrological Advisors to the WMO, and forwarded to the Secretary General of IAHS for consideration by the Nomination Committee. The Committee consists of the President and a Vice-President of IAHS and representatives of UNESCO and WMO.
Two medals are awarded under the International Hydrology Prize: the Dooge medal and the Volker medal. Both medals are intended to distinguish outstanding achievements by hydrological scientists but with a different focus. The Dooge medal is aimed at fundamental contributions to the science of hydrology, whereas the Volker medal is aimed at outstanding applications of hydrological science for the benefit of society at large.

Discovery of abundant oxygen in a comet by Rosetta

Thu, 29 Oct 2015 00:00:00 +0100

The renowned scientific journal Nature will publish a perplexing discovery on Thursday October 29th: the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft has discovered – for the first time ever – the presence of oxygen gas O2 in the atmosphere of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Moreover, oxygen turns out to be a major component, constituting up to 10% of the comet atmosphere.
Complete article: Discovery of abundant oxygen in a comet by Rosetta.

Happy BEarthday STEREO!

Mon, 26 Oct 2015 00:00:00 +0100

2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the Belgian Research Programme for Earth Observation.
A long history summarized for you in 5 minutes through this little animation.

Satellite images show us the Earth in a different way. But what can those images teach us? How can we extract the information hidden within? To address those questions, the Belgian government launched 30 years ago its first national research programme for Earth observation under the name TELSAT. A few pioneer scientists started studying how to use those images for some applications such as agriculture, forestry and urban mapping.
Today, remote sensing has become an indispensable tool for a large variety of applications in all sectors of society. Belgium has developed a vibrant remote sensing community, with an internationally acknowledged expertise in the field of satellite Earth observation. TELSAT has become STEREO (Support to the Exploitation and Research in Earth Observation) which is now in its third phase. Together, Belgian researchers and STEREO programme managers are ready to tackle the challenges of the future.
The STEREO programme is managed by the Space Research and Applications Directorate of the Belgian Science Policy office. If you want to know more about the STEREO programmes, please visit our website Belgian Earth Observation Platform and/or have a look at our STEREO II final publication.


First discovery of a magnetic field in a normal delta Scuti star

Tue, 20 Oct 2015 00:00:00 +0100

Coralie Neiner, from the Observatoire de Paris (LESIA/CNRS/UPMC/Université Paris Diderot) and Patricia Lampens, from the Royal Observatory of Belgium discovered the first magnetic delta Scuti star through spectropolarimetric observations at the CFHT telescope in Hawaii. The delta Scuti stars are pulsating stars some of which show signatures attributed to a second type of pulsations. The discovery shows that it is actually the signature of a magnetic field. This has important implications for understanding the interior of such stars.

Science4Refugees initiative under EURAXESS

Tue, 13 Oct 2015 00:00:00 +0100

On October 5 a new EURAXESS initiative was launched by Commissioner Moedas. This measure will enable a match-making process between refugees and asylum seekers with a scientific background and the scientific institutions that voluntarily declare themselves as "refugee-welcoming organisations". ‘science4refugees’ is accessible to refugees and institutions through EURAXESS - Researchers in Motion portal.

How does it work?
For scientific and academic institutions:
As such the functionalities of the EURAXESS Jobs portal remained unchanged. However, interested institutions can now flag their offers – be it positions, internships or training courses – with the ‘science4refugees’ emblem to indicate their interest in hiring also asylum seekers. It is a simple click on the jobs publication page.
In addition to this, scientific and academic institutions in favour of the initiative will be awarded the ‘science4refugees’ emblem, declaring they are open to employing refugees and asylum seekers. They only need to register on a dedicated entry on the portal; our back-office will send the emblem to them.

For refugees:
Refugees and asylum seekers can upload their CVs on a dedicated EURAXESS page and express their interest for an internship, a job or training. Registration is on a free and voluntary basis. In addition, the portal provides access to a complete range of information on working conditions in Europe for refugees and asylum seekers.
Our contractor works now on a very basic "app" to facilitate the entry to the registration page.

How can you come into play?
- Follow actively the facebook and twitter pages (science4refugees)
- Promote the initiative within your institution so that many of them sign up for the S4R flag
- Inform refugees about the opportunities and invite them to upload the CV

EU Prize for Women Innovators

Wed, 30 Sep 2015 00:00:00 +0100

The European Commission runs the third edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators to reward three women who have achieved outstanding innovations and brought them to market. The prize aims to raise awareness of the need for more female entrepreneurs and to inspire other women to follow in their footsteps.
The first prize is worth €100 000, the second prize €50 000 and third prize €30 000. The contest is open to all women residing in the EU or associated countries who have founded or co-founded a company across all sectors and who have at some point of their careers benefitted from EU's research and innovation funding.
Be careful, the deadline for submitting an application is approaching (20 October 2015). Don't hesitate disseminate this information to potential contestants. A high-level jury will evaluate and select the three winners who will be announced in 2016.
Please read the leaflet for more information and visit our website

New commander on RV Belgica

Mon, 21 Sep 2015 00:00:00 +0100

On Friday the 11th of September 2015, Bernard Tabureau took over the command of the oceanographic research vessel RV Belgica from Luc Van Tricht in Temse. Temse is the place where the RV Belgica was built and the ship and Temse still have a strong bond after all these years.


New Call for proposals King Baudouin Foundation (Belgium) European Foundations Award for Responsible Research and Innovation

Thu, 17 Sep 2015 00:00:00 +0100

Have you successfully incorporated innovative methods to align your research with the needs of society? Do you contribute responsibly to the development of a smart, inclusive and sustainable society?
The European Foundations Award for Responsible Research & Innovation invites you to share your responsible research project and receive €20.000!
The award is a joint initiative of the King Baudouin Foundation (Belgium), “la Caixa” Foundation (Spain), Fondazione Cariplo (Italy), Lundbeck Foundation (Denmark), the Robert Bosch Stiftung (Germany) and the European Foundation Centre Research Forum.

UNESCO - Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB): Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve Management

Wed, 09 Sep 2015 00:00:00 +0100

This prize is awarded each year in memory of Dr Michel Batisse for excellence in the management of the biosphere reserves in line with the recommendations of the Seville Strategy.
The 2015 Michel Batisse Award for a case study concerning the management of a biosphere reserve was attributed to Bandi Namkhai, Director of the Khustain Nuruu Biosphere Reserve in Mongolia, for his study of Khustain Nuruu.
The deadline for submission of application forms for 2016 Michel Batisse Award is 30 November 2015.
Contactperson MAB focal point BEL:
Brigitte Decadt (BELSPO)

UNESCO - Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB): Young Scientists Awards Scheme

Wed, 09 Sep 2015 00:00:00 +0100

Since 1989 MAB has been providing 10 young researchers each year with awards of up to US$ 5,000 in support of their research on ecosystems, natural resources and biodiversity. Through the MAB Young Scientists Awards, MAB is investing in a new generation of scientists worldwide because we think well-trained and committed young people are key to addressing ecological and sustainability issues.
The deadline for submission of application forms for the 2016 MAB Young Scientists Awards is 31 October 2015.
Contactperson MAB focal point BEL:
Brigitte Decadt (BELSPO)

ISS astronaut eager to operate METERON rover on Earth

Wed, 02 Sep 2015 00:00:00 +0100

In the early morning of 2 September, ESA’s Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen will fly on a Soyuz spacecraft for a short-duration mission of 8 days on board the International Space Station (ISS). Once on board, he’ll get to work inside ESA’s Columbus laboratory, carrying out a series of European experiments to test new technologies and operational techniques for future space missions. Belgium is giving operational support for two of them.

Rock Art colloquium

Tue, 01 Sep 2015 00:00:00 +0100

The colloquium “What Ever Happened to the People? Humans and Anthropomorphs in the Rock Art of Northern Africa”, will focus on human and human-like representations in Northern African rock art, which, next to animals and abstract figures, are no doubt one of the major and most informative components of the rock art repertoire. There are no chronological limitations to the subject, which comprises, among many other types of human figures, Pleistocene Late Palaeolithic ‘headless females’, Neolithic Naturalistic Bubaline therianthropes and Libyan Warriors and Camel Period cavaliers from the historical periods. All facets of human representations will be dealt with: chronological considerations, stylistic variability, ethnographic aspects, and so on. Thus far, the programme comprises 45 contributions (including a public lecture for a large audience). The aim of the conference is to discuss and properly define the relevance of human representations for rock art research in Northern Africa.

Ten European countries invest €7.5 million into research on microplastics in the ocean

Mon, 31 Aug 2015 00:00:00 +0100

Four research projects investigating the impact of plastic particles on the marine environment are selected for funding from ten member countries of the Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans)

The Sunspot Number, the "longest ongoing scientific experiment" revisited

Thu, 20 Aug 2015 00:00:00 +0100

Last week, at the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union in Honolulu (Hawaii), the standardization of the sunspot number was publicly announced. IAU called the sunspot number the "longest ongoing scientific experiment" and this dataset is therefore the key to track the evolution of the Sun. Given its fundamental nature, the sunspot number series is broadly used in astrophysics (stellar evolution) and the long-term impact of solar evolution on life on Earth.


Mon, 27 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0100

Initié par la Politique scientifique fédérale (BELSPO), en partenariat avec le Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance (CESR) de l’Université François Rabelais-CNRS de Tours, ARTBox est un projet visant à faire connaître les oeuvres des musées fédéraux sous un autre angle, dans un espace différent, au départ d'oeuvres musicales qui leur correspondent esthétiquement.
Né de la conviction que différentes approches de l'art sont complémentaires, le projet ARTBox vous invite à vivre une expérience multisensorielle de sensibilisation à l'art à l'intérieur d'un musée mobile qui s'installera dans les espaces publics de façon temporaire.

Het project ARTBox, een initiatief van het Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid (BELSPO) in samenwerking met het Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance (CESR) van de Université François Rabelais-CNRS in Tours, koestert de ambitie om de kunstwerken die onze federale musea bewaren vanuit een andere invalshoek voor te stellen, in een ongewone ruimte en uitgaand van muzikale composities die op esthetisch vlak overeenkomsten met die kunstwerken bezitten.
ARTBox is ontstaan uit de overtuiging dat verschillende benaderingen van kunst elkaar aanvullen. Het project nodigt u uit voor een zintuiglijke beleving die u wil sensibiliseren voor kunst in een mobiel museum dat tijdelijk wordt opgesteld op publieke plaatsen.

A Prehistoric Mammal with Blood Red Teeth!

Fri, 17 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0100

Our colleague and palaeontologist Thierry Smith (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS)) has discovered a 70 million year old mammal with red teeth in Transylvania, Romania. Iron strengthened Barbatodon transylvanicus’ incisors and molars and gave them their red colour. Barbatodon is the oldest known fossil mammal with iron in its teeth and its skull is the most complete mammal fossil from the Upper Cretaceous period in Europe.

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences: "Peer review"

Tue, 14 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0100

In 2014 the Institute's scientific departments (not the Museum) underwent a peer review.
You can find an evaluation summary in the Management Summary, and numerous quotations from the peer review's final report can be found in the Institute's 2014 Annual Report.

Secretary of State Sleurs Increases Budget for RV Belgica

Mon, 29 Jun 2015 00:00:00 +0100

Secretary of State for Science Policy, Elke Sleurs, has increased the maintenance budget for our oceanographic research vessel, the RV Belgica. She has provided € 1,019,000 on top of the existing, recurrent annual increase (€ 550,000) in the RV Belgica's operating budget. This is a clear signal of just how important our research vessel is!


Belgium puts spotlight on remote sensing in support of agriculture at the Milan world expo

Fri, 19 Jun 2015 00:00:00 +0100

On June 11th 2015, during a workshop in the Belgian Pavilion entitled Space4Food, the contribution of remote sensing to food security and sustainable agriculture took centre stage.
The workshop was jointly organised by BELSPO, EWI and WBI
For more information:
- Communication
- Programme
- Presentations

Sarcophagi: Under the stars of Nut

Thu, 18 Jun 2015 00:00:00 +0100

Eternity! To live once more just like the god of the afterlife Osiris, to rise again like the sun that is born from the womb of Nut, the godess of the sky... The Ancient Egyptians had high expectations of life after death!
This fall, come to the Cinquantenaire Museum and discover the secrets of the Egyptian sarcophagi as well as the masterpieces of the Museum, including coffins, death masks and embalmed cats, many never shown before. You can also witness an expert Italian restoration team at work as they one by one restore the coffins of the Theban priests that were discovered in 1891 inthe Second Cache of Deir el-Bahari.

The MELiSSA PhD program (POMP) is officially open.

Wed, 17 Jun 2015 00:00:00 +0100

The MELiSSA Foundation has the pleasure to announce that the MELiSSA PhD program (POMP) is officially open. The POMP program is financed by the European Space Agency and is organized to (co-)finance a number of PhD students with the objective to carry out research in the MELiSSA technology domain. Our webpage is designed as a platform for students to prepare their applications and can be found here:

Tapestries from the era of Charles V Fri 22-05-2015 - Sun 30-08-2015

Fri, 22 May 2015 00:00:00 +0100

During the summer of 2015, the Cinquantenaire Museum is organising a small but exceptional exhibition of Brussels tapestries around one of the best known works held in its collection. This tapestry represents a scene that is associated with the legend of the statue of Notre-Dame du Sablon, a legend which is at the origin of the Brussels Ommegang (religious procession). The work shows several members of the archducal family that ruled the Lowlands at the start of the 16th century, surrounded by a sumptuous courtly household.

JPI Oceans publishes its first Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda

Mon, 11 May 2015 00:00:00 +0100

The first copies of the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda were handed over to Norwegian State Secretary Dilek Ayhan, Belgian State Secretary Bart Tommelein and, Director General of DG Research and Innovation, European Commission Robert-Jan Smits. JPI Oceans.pdf

Belgian Archaeological Mission to Elkab discovers important fragment of unique Old Kingdom royal statue

Mon, 04 May 2015 00:00:00 +0100

Since 2009, the Belgian Archaeological Mission to Elkab, directed by Dr. Dirk Huyge of the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels, has focused its research on the settlement area of Elkab. Excavation campaigns in 2009, 2010 and 2012 have revealed the presence of a vast habitation area, situated within the Late Period Great Walls, immediately north and west of the temple zone.
The latest test trenches executed at the site in February-March 2015 have allowed the mission to better document both the important 2nd Dynasty habitation layers,including substantial rectangular buildings with large walls and stone foundations, as well as the late Predynastic (Naqada III period) occupation. The most exceptional find of the 2015 campaign, however, was that of a fragment (base and lower part of legs) of an Old Kingdom royal statue. The preserved height is 21.7 cm. The inscriptions on the fragment have been independently verified and read by Egyptologists Prof. John Coleman Darnell (Yale University, New Haven, US) and Dr. Luc Delvaux (Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels, Belgium). They give the almost complete titulary of king Sahure (ca. 2458-2446 BC), an illustrious pharaoh of the 5th Dynasty (the text was probably inscribed identically on either side of his legs). The statue, executed in fine-grained sandstone, undoubtedly represents the king seated on a throne. Its original height can be estimated at about 70 cm. Sahure is the second king of the 5th Dynasty. He is best known for his vast funerary complex, including a pyramid and its mortuary and valley temples, at the royal cemetery of Abusir just north of Saqqara.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change: Nominations

Fri, 24 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0100

Nominations for the position of the IPCC Chair, as well as members of the IPCC Bureau and any Task Force Bureau (TFB). A new Bureau of the IPCC and the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories is to be elected at the 42nd Session of the Panel. The 42nd Session is scheduled to take place in Dubrovnik, Croatia from 5 to 8 October 2015. Your application should be submitted to a member of the IPCC.

UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation 2015

Tue, 10 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100

The purpose of the UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environment Preservation , is to afford recognition to outstanding contributions by individuals, groups of individuals, institutes or organizations in the management or preservation of the environment, consistent with the policies, aims and objectives of UNESCO, and in relation to the Organization’s programmes in this field. Deadline for submitting nominations for the 2015 Prize is 15 June 2015.

UNESCO - Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB): Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve Management

Sun, 09 Sep 2012 00:00:00 +0100

This prize is awarded each year in memory of Dr Michel Batisse for excellence in the management of the biosphere reserves in line with the recommendations of the Seville Strategy.
The 2015 Michel Batisse Award for a case study concerning the management of a biosphere reserve was attributed to Bandi Namkhai, Director of the Khustain Nuruu Biosphere Reserve in Mongolia, for his study of Khustain Nuruu.
The deadline for submission of application forms for 2016 Michel Batisse Award is 30 November 2015.
Contactperson MAB focal point BEL:
Brigitte Decadt (BELSPO)


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