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Bilateral co-operation

China - Vietnam - India - South Afrika


A bilateral agreement for economic, industrial, scientific and technical cooperation between the Belgian-Luxemburg Economic Union (BLEU) and the People's Republic of China was signed in Beijing on the 23rd of November 1979. Within this framework, the XVth meeting of the Mixed Committee for S&T cooperation was held in Brussels on the 20th of October 2004; 12 cooperation projects have been approved.

In the 19th Mixed Commission Meeting that was organised in Beijing on June 24th 2015, in the light of the State Mission, it was decided to launch an call for research proposals in marine sciences in relation to climate systems and/or with attention for earth observation where relevant. . A workshop on polar science took place in Shangai on 26th June 2015 in the framework of the MoU signed with SOA (State Oceanographic Administration).

A call for joint research proposals was launched on 21st December 2015.
The call was focussed on 2 domains:
- the role of oceans in the climate system
- earth observation

As a result of this call BELSPO the project OCeANIC is funded. Research teams of the ULg (coordinator), the VUB and the ULB are studying in this project the production of nitruous oxide and the nitrogen cycling in Southern Ocean sea ice and water column. The project is executed in cooperation with 2 Chinese research institutions (2017-2019)..

Moreover , in het framework of the STEREO progamme for earth observation the project HYPERMAQ is funded. The projects concerns hyperspectral high resolution remote sensing in aquatic environments. It is executed by the MUMM (RBINS) in cooperation with research teams from the UGhent and the VLIZ , with partners also from France, Argentinia and from China, the last one via the bilateral cooperation channel.

At the end of June 2015 a MoU was signed in Beijing among BELSPO and the Chinese national space administration (CSNA) for cooperation in the domain of space research, technologies and applications.

On March 30th 2017 a first China-Belgium Innovation Dialogue was organised in Brussels . The event was co-organised by BELSPO, EWI, INNOVIRIS and WBI , and was concerted with MOST (Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology) and the Chinese embasssy in Brussels. 150 Chinese and Belgian stakeholders have participated at the sessions wherein the policy and instruments from both sides were presented and succesfull cooperation initiatives in various domains or technology sectors were highlighted. The meeting took place in a perspective of future strengtened cooperation in science and innovation. The signature of 3 new MoU's showcases this ambition.  [More information...]

Read more on the database of research projects FEDRA about China...
Read more on the database of research projects FEDRA about OCeANIC...
Read more on the database of research projects FEDRA about HYPERMAQ...
Read more about HYPERMAQ...


On 25th September 2002 an agreement was signed amont the Governmen of the Kingdom Belgium and the Socialistic Republic of Vietnam with regard to scientific and technological cooperation. Every 2 or 3 years a mixed commission meeting is held to disuss the implentation of the agreement.The Vietnamese partners is the department of international cooperation at the Ministry for Science and Technology (MOST).

In this framework joint calls for proposals are organised . During the Mixed Commission Meetings the projects are selected; these are executed jointly by Belgian and Vietnamese research teams.

Calls for joint research proposals  (2002, 2006, 2009)

  • Calll 2003 (Mixed Commission Meeting of 13-14 October, Hanoi)
    5 Multidisciplinary projects are funded in the domains of aquaculture and water management
    (sustainable production, environmental challenges, food safety)
    Execution of the projects : period 2004-2006 ( projects V02 tot V07)

  • Call 2006 (Mixed Commission Meeting of 8-9 June, Brussels)
    Focus of the call:
    - aquaculture, including food standards and environmental aspects;
    - biodiversity and agro-biotechnology,
    as a source for new materials, renewable energy and new drugs.
    8 Projects are funded ( period 2007-2009).

  • Call 2008 (Mixed Commission Meeting on 2 March 2009, Hanoi)
     8 projects were funded  (2010-2012) coering the following domains:
    - Biodiversity and agro-biotechnologiy as a source for new materials, renewable
      energy and new drugs;
    - Climate change (impact, adaptation and mitigation)
    - Space applications via the earth observation programme STEREO and via
      ESA programmes.

On 21 June 2012 the fourth Joint Committee meeting was held in Brussels. The cooperation instruments as well as the BELSPO BRAIN and the Space programmes (ESA and STEREO) were presented. The Vietnamese delegation visited several federal institutions and two project teams from the 2009 call (KUL and UCL-VUB), as well as the SCK-CEN in Mol and the Cyclotron in Louvain-la-Neuve.

In October 2015 a high-level Vietnamese delegation again visited BELSPO in the framework of a programme of visits to the EC and to Member States interested in collaboration in the field of Space.

During the Joint Committee meeting on economic collaboration that took place in Brussels on 23 November 2015, the interest in collaboration in the field of Space was established, in particular for the development of a 'Space law' and the development of microsatellites and applications of earth observation.

On 22th  september 2016, the 5th meeting of the Joint Commitee for R&D cooperation was held in Hanoi. The BELSPO and the MOST programmes and cooperation instruments were presented.
It was agreed to launch a joint call for collaborative research proposals  focussed on the following theme 'Climate and Natural Disaster Resilience', with the date tbc

Read more on the database of research projects FEDRA...


Within the framework of the agreement between Belgium and India on cooperation in the field of research and development, the second 'Joint Commission' meeting, held in Delhi on April 13th, 2011, decided to organise joint calls for proposals for networking activities.

On August 20, 2012 BELSPO launched the first call. That call for networking projects was limited to current projects funded within the SSD research programme, the IUAP's and activities of the Federal Scientific Institutions (FSI).

On December 17, 2013 BELSPO launched together with DST (Dpt for Science and Technonolgy, India) a second call for proposals for networking activities. This call was limited like the precedent call to projects already funded, in particular within the BRAIN, STEREO, IAP research programmes, and ESA activities or activities of the Federal Scientific Institutions (FSI). Five new networking projects are funded by BELSPO and DST.
Information about the projects:  BL/IN/06-10 (2015-2018) 

On 29th September 2015 the 4th meeting of the Mixed Commission for research and technology took place in Delhi;  the meeting was organised in the light of  the Mixed Commission meeting for economic cooperation.
In the meeting it was decided to launch a 3rd joint call for networking (by topping up) .

In 2016 an assesment was made of the networking projects from the call 2012. We concluded that with limited resources for 'networking' the following results were achieved:

  • a consideralbe scientific return via a high number of co-puclications
  • good exchange of knowledge, of expertiences and of scientific data , as well as a quite high number of exchanges of experts, be it young researchers our senioir promotors
  • selection, via conferences or workshops in Belgium or in India, of some post-doctoral fellowships for further cooperation among the institutes
  • broadened networking with other Belgian or Indian teams working in the same scientific field

On 30 March 2016 the Prime Ministers of both countries have virtually started , in Brussels, the activity of the ARIES 3.6 optical telescope installed in the mountains of Nevasthal.
Read more in the article in the Science connection n° 52 [Dutch] or [French]

Early 2017 the 'Time allocation Committee' was set up with Belgian and Indian astronomers to manage the 7% observation time for the Belgian astronomy community (agreement for 5 years). After a test period, the Belgian and other observation have started on 2nd April 2017.
Information about the 'Early Science Cycle -2017A (Belgian projects: P17,P37,P57)

On 20th May 2017 BELSPO and NRF have jointly launched a 3rd call for networking proposals. The call was limited, as former ones, to projects that are already funded in the framework of the programmes BRAIN, STEREO, IUAP, and ESA activities or activities of the Federal Scientific Institutes (FSI's). Six new netwokrs are funded by BELSPO and NRF (2018-2020).
Information on the Projects: BL/10/IN11, BL/11/IN12, BL/02/IN13, BL/50/IN14, BL/01/IN15, BL/13/IN16.

On 7th June 2017 a Indian delegation , led by DST's Secretary Professor Sharma , has visited the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences (RBINS). A first part included presentations focussed on research related to inland water and marine monitoring and management , including topics as mathematic modelling for sediment transport and ocean currents. The second part of the visit was th vf devoted to a comprehensive visit of the museum.

Read more on the database of research projects FEDRA...

South Africa

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 technology initiatives.

The agreement, 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, workhsops  and training on themes of mutual interest such as climate change, marine and Antarctic science, biodiversity,  earth sciences  and space science.

A first meeting of the joint committee for R&D cooperation is organised in Pretoria on May 9th 2017. As a result of the meeting a first call for Networking projects is jointly launched by BELSPO and NRF (National Research Foundation) on June 6th 2017.

As the results of the parallel evaluations - from BELSPO and from NRF side - were diverging it has been decided to not fund andy proposal submitted in the framework of the call.

Given the common interest expressend by Belgian and South-African research teams for research and technology cooperation in the domains of space , BELSPO has organised the participation of two Belgian expert teams at the exhibition and sessions of the Science Forum in Pretoria in November 2017.

On March 14th 2018 BELSPO launched together with DST (Dpt for Science and Technonolgy, South AFrica) a new call for proposals for networking activities. This call was limited to topping up of research projects already funded by BELSPO (via the programs BRAIN.beSTEREO III,  ESA-PRODEX (via ESA cooperation), EVAMAB (via UNESCO cooperation or of activities of the Federal Scientific Institutions (FSI).
Seven networking projects are funded by BELSPO and DST.

Information about the projects (project period: end 2018-2021)

Acronym Project Title Belgian  PI Institution
BEZA-COM Interhemispheric comparison of the Ionosphere-Plasmasphere System Nicolas Bergeot ROB
EDISA Empowerment through Digital Inclusion in South Africa Leo Van Audenhove iMEC-SMIT, VUB
IN-NATAL Innovative non-animal strategies to assess the toxicity and (biological) activity of candidate drugs derived from medicinal plants Birgit Mertens Sciensano (SC)
DIPTATEACH DIPtera Museum collections as a source for TAxonomic research and Teaching activities Kurt Jordeans RMCA
CHAMOLL Hydrochemical characterisation and modelling of landfill leachates Bertrand Leterme SCK-CEN
TESSAC TESSAC - The Evolving Surface of the 'Stable' African Continent Thierry De Pyper RMCA
INVEST OptimIzatioN and Validation of a unique ground-basEd in vitro model to study Space health effecTs Marianne Moreels SCK-CEN


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