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Belgium back on board

Published: 2013-04-30

IFS expands support for mutual collaborative linkages as the Belgian Science Policy Office renews Belgian funding to IFS.

Graham Haylor, DirectorGraham Haylor, IFS Director

The current low level of scientific support to the developing world as well as the substantial need for location specific research in the south means that now, more than ever, science in developing countries needs to expand. Scientists in the developing world are well placed to identify the challenges they face, and able to propose transformational research, to build their resilience to global volatility, to engage in global negotiations, and to innovate for sustainable futures. IFS does not decide what grantees should research. We believe it is vital that young researchers have the opportunity to propose research which they identify, that can address problems in their country of origin, relevant to the needs of the country, supported through a demand-led, long-term, predictable research granting and capability enhancing support programme across a broad spectrum of biological and water resources. However, knowledge does not develop in isolation. IFS believes that mutual enrichment of knowledge through cooperation is in our common interest, and can be intellectually enriching and conducive to building capability. Where it is useful to do so, developing country science can also draw on the wealth of scientific knowledge in other parts of the world. IFS has good links with scientific institutions and offices in the north and the south, and aims where it can to broker and support mutual collaborative linkages. That is why we are delighted to have signed a cooperation agreement between the Belgian State Secretary for Science Policy, Philippe Courard and IFS. read more

Belgium has been a long term supporter of the work of IFS, with links running back many years with the Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Development Cooperation, as well The Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR ) and the VLIR-secretariat for university development cooperation VLIR-UOS.

IFS recently visited Brussels for meetings organised by Patrick Sorgeloos, (Ghent University), Bogdan Van doninck (BELSPO) and Luc Janssens de Bisthoven (VLIR), and hosted by BELSPO and VLIR - VLIR-UOS. The later is a forum in which representatives of higher education work together for development and share information and best practices. VLIR-UOS is also the main provider of funds for development cooperation projects in Flemish higher education.

BELSPO is a Belgian government institution responsible for coordinating science policy at a federal level. It designs and implements research programmes, and networks and manages the participation of Belgium in European and international organisations. BELSPO supervises Belgian federal scientific organisations. As Director-general of Cooperation and Information (since November 2006) at the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office, Bogdan Van doninck has also been responsible for the collaboration with IFS. He has worked skilfully and with great vigour to bring about today’s cooperation agreement with IFS, for which we offer sincere appreciation. The agreement will enable young researchers from developing countries to familiarize themselves with the collections, models, and research activities as well as dissemination and project exploitation outcomes of the Belgian Federal Scientific Institutes and the research teams which are funded in BELSPO research programmes.

IFS would like to recognise with great thanks Luc Janssens de Bisthoven at VLIR who has been responsible for the collaboration with IFS, and who will start a new job at the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences from 1 May, and Patrick Sorgeloos, Professor at Ghent University, for their far reaching support to IFS.

Last, but by no means least, IFS would like to recognise the long running efforts on behalf of IFS, of Yola Verhasselt of Royal Academy of Overseas Sciences KAOW in Belgium and a former IFS Trustee for the past eight years.

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