Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ),
InnovOcean site,
Wandelaarkaai 7, 8400 Ostend, Belgium

Belgium joined LifeWatch ERIC in 2017 and it contributes to LifeWatch ERIC through its National Distributed Centre.

Notwithstanding its relatively small territory, Belgium has a remarkable diversity of habitats and species, and has a rich tradition of biodiversity and ecosystem research, both within and outside of its borders.

Since the start of LifeWatch, Belgium has been a committed country that actively contributes through a number of long-term projects managed by different research centres and universities across the country and supported by the respective political authorities.

What We Do

Species Information Backbone

The service that facilitates the standardisation and integration of species data and provides access to information on species taxonomy, biogeography, genetics and traits (habitat, morphology, vulnerability, etc.).
Click Here

Marine Freshwater Terrestrial Observatory

Integrated observation systems that generate long-term and openly accessible biodiversity data applying innovative approaches (imaging, acoustics, genomics, tagging and tracking, artificial intelligence, citizen science).
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Thematic Remote sensing

An interactive geoportal provides thematic pan-European remote sensing data. An object-based ecotope database integrates geographic data for Belgium. Moreover, biophysical variables are available for the South Pole.
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Antarctic Biodiversity Portal

The Antarctic Biodiversity Portal ( works closely with the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) to provide access to data and tools for understanding Antarctic marine and terrestrial biodiversity.
Click Here

Organisation or the National Distributed Centre for LifeWatch Belgium combines the regional and federal LifeWatch contributions from Belgium.

The Flemish contribution is shaped by the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), and is funded by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO). The contribution of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation is a collaborative research programme between scientists of the Earth and Life Institute (Université catholique de Louvain) and the Biosystems Engineering Department (Université de Liège/Gembloux-ABT). The federal contribution ( is coordinated by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) and is funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO). The federal authority also supports the Belgian Biodiversity Platform in its running of the LifeWatch Belgium scientific node. BELSPO also funds the annual monetary contribution to the ERIC.

VLIZ is the national focal point for the distributed centre.

This leaflet presents the LifeWatch Belgium Distributed Centre, its main activities and organisational structure.

You can browse the leaflet online (full screen mode is available in the control bar) or download it by clicking on the three dots icon.


News from LifeWatch Belgium

General Assembly Members


Gert Verreet


Aline Van der Werf


Jérôme Degreef

Gert Verreet's Bio

Gert Verreet is a Member and former Chair of the LifeWatch ERIC General Assembly. He is also a Member of the IKCC.

He is a policy officer in the Flanders Department of Economy, Science and Innovation, working in the Research Division focusing on environmental sciences, supporting VLIZ and EU developments such as JPI-Oceans and international environmental research infrastructures (ESFRI SWG ENV). He is a member of the Flemish Committee for UNESCO. Previously he worked for the OSPAR Commission, the Flanders Department of Environment, Nature and Energy, the Belgian federal marine scientific service and was a researcher at Leuven University, as well as a marine policy officer at the European Commission.

Aline Van der Werf's Bio

Aline Van der Werf is Member of the LifeWatch ERIC General Assembly.

She is Programme Manager at the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO), being responsible for launching, implementing and following-up biodiversity, climate and ecosystem related research initiatives both at the national, European and international levels. These include  research programmes, research e-infrastructures and the Belgian Biodiversity Platform: a key science-policy interface in the field of biodiversity.


The Bulgarian National Distributed Centre is represented by the  Agricultural University-Plovdiv.

To know more about how Bulgaria contributes to LifeWatch ERIC, please visit our dedicated webpage.