Helping to progress towards the Barcelona objective (devoting 3% of the GDP to research and development), participating in job creation and well-being through innovation, optimising the running of the Belgian research area, fighting against climate change: such are the major stakes Belgium has to face. With its 2,800 employees, the Federal Science Policy department contributes significantly to meeting these objectives.


Through the major research programmes we manage, we also offer the government reliable, validated data, allowing it to take decisions with full knowledge of the facts in areas such as sustainable development, the fight against climate change, biodiversity, energy, health, mobility and the information society.


We also manage the Belgian contribution to the European Space Agency. Since Belgium is the fifth net contributor to the ESA, this participation is strategic for our country and crucial for our companies. At the same time, we offer R&D aid to companies with the desire to participate in various AIRBUS programmes, which is essential to their positioning in the ruthless battle raging in this sector on a global level.

The 10 federal scientific Institutes offer scientists an exceptional framework and research materials. They also house artistic and historical collections, which are visited by more than 1.2 million people every year.


BELNET, the Belgian national research network, provides high-speed internet access to Belgian universities, colleges, research centres and public services. STIS completes the system by offering an information brokerage service to the scientific community, the economic and social world and public services.


The Federal Science Policy also co-ordinates the research effort lead by all the country’s authorities and is responsible for introducing our researchers into international research networks. In this sense, it lies at the heart of the Belgian research space and represents a major centre in the European Research Area. The Federal Science Policy alone represents almost 30% of the entire Belgian public budget in terms of research.


The Federal Science Policy is also a network of prestigious institutions such as the Academia Belgica in Rome, the Biermans-Lapôtre Foundation in Paris, the Junfraujog in the Alps, the Académie Royale des Sciences d’Outre-Mer, the Royal Belgian Film Archive, the Euro Space Center and the Institut Von Karman. Through these infrastructures, the Federal Science Policy offers our researchers an international reputation.


On 5th October 2012, the Council of Ministers approved the launch of the first phase (2012-2017) of the recurrent framework programme for research, BRAIN-be (Belgian Research Action through Interdisciplinary Networks).


This framework programme allows through the funding of research projects based on scientific excellence and European and international anchorage to meet the needs for scientific knowledge of the federal departments and to support the scientific potential of the Federal Scientific Institutions (FSIs 1).


The strategic objectives, which have been set, based on the federal visions and priorities (both political and scientific) underlying the BRAIN-be programme are as follows:


  • to promote a coherent scientific policy within the FSI, and to thereby support and reinforce scientific excellence;

  • to facilitate the access to the scientific potential, the infrastructure and the collections available within the FSIs;

  • to align the research potential to the societal needs;

  • to supply the scientific knowledge necessary for the preparation, implementation and evaluation of federal policies/strategies, particularly those related to topics involving multiple departments;

  • to provide the scientific support necessary for the formulation of a Belgian position within various international forums for policy development;

  • to develop and reach a critical mass for research on topics deemed priority areas in order to reinforce the impact of the federal research;

  • to stimulate cooperation within the Belgian scientific community;

  • to align with the European and international research agendas and to encourage Belgian participation in transnational and international research activities;

  • to provide scientists with a framework allowing them to take up their role in scientific watch and to anticipate issues related to the priority areas of the programme;

  • to promote systemic, multi/interdisciplinary and integrative approaches;

  • to create added value through strengthening the complementarity and synergies between the activities of BELSPO (including the contributions to the international infrastructure and organisations);

  • to meet the obligations in terms of research stemming from international agreements - to develop interfaces with potential users of research achievements.


The framework programme is structured around 6 thematic areas:


  • Ecosystems, biodiversity, evolution

  • Geosystems, universe and climate

  • Cultural, historical and scientific heritage,

  • Federal public strategies

  • Major societal challenges

  • Management of collections


The IDEALiC project was funded under Axis 5: Major societal challenges


Established to support the competences of the Federal Authorities, this thematic axis is based on major societal challenges and relates to an array of important concerns for individuals and society such as demographic changes, democracy, migration, safety, poverty, sustainable development, health and environment, globalisation, and multiculturalism. In an increasingly globalised society, the analysis of these challenges must take the international context into account. These challenges not only concern the problems that arise and for which a response is needed, but also the opportunities that can be seized to ensure the well-being of individuals and of society in general.

The research financed within the context of axis 5, is based upon these societal challenges and takes the individual and/or society as the primary unit of analysis