27 colleagues representing direct EJP SOIL partners and regional authorities

On 17 February, the Belgian National HUB of EJP-SOIL met in Brussels. For a full day, direct partners of EJP-SOIL: ILVO, INBO, VPO and CRAW as well as the regional authorities of Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels Capital focused on common interests to stimulate synergies and collaboration.

The morning was dedicated to the EJP-SOIL programme as such and allowed the participants to exchange on their work in order to stimulate synergies and collaboration.  First, the results and development of the working packages in which the Belgian partners are involved were reviewed. Then, the participants presented the EJP-SOIL projects involving them. These were grouped under 4 topics: i) Soil Indicators, ii) Sustainable practices, ii) Climate change adaptation and soil physical process and iv) Carbon sequestration and trade-offs.

The afternoon was devoted to a discussion and debate on two topical issues for Belgium: i) Carbon modelling and carbon Farming and ii) Soil and Soil management databases.

The exchanges were extremely rich, and many interactions and common interests were highlighted. As this day was a first time all Belgian researchers involved in EJP SOIL and regional authorities met, the reflections also focused on the functioning of the Belgian National Hub. It was proposed to have a variable size audience depending on the topic addressed, its specificity and the interest of the experts. A non-exhaustive list of topics that could constitute working groups was developed. Subsequently, these groups of experts will meet to work on these specific topics.

The sustainability of the Belgian HUB was also raised after the EJP-SOIl project is finished. This is an issue that we still have to consider. However, it was decided to organise an annual plenary meeting of the Belgian HUB and more regular meetings (as needed) of the working groups.

Finally, it was decided to organise a national event "Belgian Soil Sciences Days" echoing the ASD in collaboration with the Belgian Soil Sciences Society (BSSS).

For more information:

Bruno Huyghebaert: b.huyghebaert@cra.wallonie.be

Greet Ruysschaert: Greet.Ruysschaert@ilvo.vlaanderen.be

Louise Pauwels: Louise.Pauwels@ilvo.vlaanderen.be