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

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.

More: https://www.naturalsciences.be/en/museum/visits-and-activities/activities-detailed-fiches/9122


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

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.

More: http://www.aeronomie.be/en/news-press/2017-12-19-solar-spectrum-iss.htm


Le mystère de "La pose enchantée" enfin résolu!

Le mystère dévoilé: la dernière pièce manquante de «La pose enchantée», oeuvre de première importance de Magritte, découverte par des chercheurs de l’ULiège sous son tableau «Dieu n’est pas un saint», au Musée Magritte.
La 4e et dernière partie de «La pose enchantée», une oeuvre de René Magritte répertoriée mais dont avait perdu la trace depuis 1932, a été découverte par les chercheurs de l’Université de Liège sous une autre peinture du maître exposée au Musée Magritte de Bruxelles, «Dieu n’est pas un saint». Cette découverte met fin à une énigme de plus de 80 ans et permet de restituer complètement mais virtuellement une oeuvre de première importance du maître du surréalisme belge.

More: http://www.belspo.be/belspo/organisation/actua/20171114_KmskbMrsnb_magritte_fr.pdf


Launch your design with Cheops

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.

More: http://m.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Launch_your_design_with_Cheops


EU Prize for Women Innovators 2018

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.

More: http://ec.europa.eu/research/prizes/women-innovators/index.cfm?pg=home


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

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 www.aries.res.in/dopses
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 www.aries.res.in/dot
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

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.

More: https://www.naturalsciences.be/en/news/item/9102


TERRASCOPE: Sentinel data now readily available for all Belgian users

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 (https://www.terrascope.be), 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 (https://www.terrascope.be).

More: http://www.belspo.be/belspo/organisation/actua/20171024_TERRASCOPE_WS_EN.pdf


Numerous PhD scholarships available in Melbourne

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.

More: http://climatecollege.unimelb.edu.au/join-us


IPCC - nominations - deadline 26 October 2017

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: http://bit.ly/2wg2QtT.
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 Martine.Vanderstraeten@belspo.be.
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

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.

More: http://science.sckcen.be/en/Events/Marie-Curie-150th-birthday-celebration-20171107-20171107-ad90d77a-8c9f-e711-80c4-ecf4bbc6e827?leftmainmenu=1


New European satellite Sentinel-5p to be launched

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.

More: http://www.aeronomie.be/en/news-press/2017-10-11-tropomi-sentinel-5p.htm


50th anniversary of the atomic second

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.

More: http://www.astro.oma.be/en/50th-anniversary-of-the-atomic-second/


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

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.

More: http://prized4d.africamuseum.be/en


Measuring Cost and Impact of Cybercrime in Belgium (BCC)

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).

More: http://www.belspo.be/belspo/brain-be/themes_4_Strategic_en.stm#BCC


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

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.

More: http://www.astro.oma.be/en/world-record-in-the-underground-laboratory-of-membach/


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

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 http://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/about/singlenew.html?a=/about/news/essnews0032.html


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

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.

More: http://www.belspo.be/belspo/organisation/actua/2018 MAB-YSA_EN.pdf


IPCC : Special Report Global Warming of 1.5 °C

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

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.

More: http://science.sckcen.be/en/Events/Belgians-in-space-20171006-20171006-4fd4ce96-3f66-e711-80c4-ecf4bbc6e827?leftmainmenu=1


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

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

More: http://www.aries.res.in/dot/


Algal Bloom Along Belgian Coast Detected From Space

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.

More: https://www.naturalsciences.be/en/news/item/6753


Belgium joins European cooperation on high-performance computing

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.

More: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/belgium-joins-european-cooperation-high-performance-computing


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

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.

More: https://www.fine-arts-museum.be/en/news/rodin-comes-alive-at-the-fin-de-siecle-m


Baleen Whales’ Ancestors Were Toothy Suction Feeders

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.

More: https://www.naturalsciences.be/en/news/item/6728


Summer school in radiobiology

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

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:
7-10.30pm:
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)
7-9pm:
Propaganza collective graffiti demonstation
8.30pm:
Auction and concert

More: https://www.naturalsciences.be/en/news/item/6700


Contribute to an exciting scientific expedition in a volcano

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; http://resist.africamuseum.be/). 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!
- https://bsmets.net/research/nyiragongo-2017-expedition/
- https://www.ulule.com/nyiragongo-expedition/


Falcons for everyone, 2017

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!

More: http://www.falconsforeveryone.be/?lang=en


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

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: http://www.h2020-info-session-on-dmp-ethics.be/


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

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.

More: https://au.int/web/en/announcements/20170307/call-entries-%E2%80%93-logo-competition-global-monitoring-environment-and-security


RIK WOUTERS
A Retrospective

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.

More: https://www.fine-arts-museum.be/en/exhibitions/rik-wouters


Museum Night Fever (Animal Rebel Culture) at the Museum

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!

More: https://www.naturalsciences.be/en/museum/visits-and-activities/activities-detailed-fiches/6675


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

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."

More: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-426_en.htm


Astrophysician Michaël GILLON from the University of Liège

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)
https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-telescope-reveals-largest-batch-of-earth-size-habitable-zone-planets-around
https://www.rtbf.be/auvio/detail_michael-gillon-ulg-une-planete-en-zone-habitable?id=2188623


Applications to ESA Teacher Workshops now open

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.

More...


South Africa and Belgium to cooperate in science and technology

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

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.

More: http://www.belspo.be/belspo/organisation/actua/20170125_JeanLoupChretien.pdf


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

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.

More: http://www.belspo.be/belspo/organisation/actua/20161223_DeepCHALLA_en.pdf


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

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.

More: http://www.astro.oma.be/en/a-positive-leap-second-must-be-introduced-on-december-31-2016/


A simple solution to make the Leopold Park pond healthy again

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.

More: https://www.naturalsciences.be/en/news/item/6406


NOMADs first view of the Martian atmosphere

“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.”

More: http://www.aeronomie.be/en/news-press/2016-11-28-nomad-first-results.htm


Wikimedia award ceremony

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.
Programme:
18-19h: award ceremony
19-20h: reception

More: https://be.wikimedia.org/wiki/Invitation_to_the_award_ceremony_of_Wiki_Loves_Art_%26_Wiki_Loves_Monuments_2016


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

The deadline for submitting proposals is the 5 April 2017. This Marie Sk³odowska-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 Sk³odowska-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

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

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.

More: https://www.naturalsciences.be/en/news/item/6368


€430 million available for Innovative Training Networks

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 Sk³odowska-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

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.

More: https://www.naturalsciences.be/en/news/item/6366


Modernity à la belge

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.

More: https://www.fine-arts-museum.be/fr/expositions/moderniteit-a-la-belge


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

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

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.’

More: https://www.naturalsciences.be/en/news/item/6309


Saturn’s moon Dione harbors a subsurface ocean

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.

More: http://www.astro.oma.be/en/saturns-moon-dione-harbors-a-subsurface-ocean/


Royal Observatory of Belgium
Seismology and Gravimetry

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.

More: http://www.belspo.be/belspo/organisation/actua/2016_0915_KsbOrb_en.pdf


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

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.

More: http://www.aeronomie.be/en/news-press.htm


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

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.

More: https://www.naturalsciences.be/en/news/item/6229


Radio Meteor Zoo: help us detect the Perseids!

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 www.radiometeorzoo.be 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!

More: http://www.aeronomie.be/en/news-press/2016-08-08-radio-meteor-zoo.htm


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