Over the past decade, more than 70 Belgian scientists have contributed to the work of ICES. These scientists represent more than 10 institutes and government bodies. Some have participated in a one-off meeting; others are long-term members of expert groups or represent Belgium on the Advisory Committee, Science Committee, or Council. Each person is well acquainted with others in their respective fields, as well as with ICES procedures and processes, and they ensure that Belgian expertise and data contribute to the international scenes of both science and the resulting advice.
Fellow Belgians involved with ICES usually meet each other during the Annual Science Conference, often with a surprising, “Oh, I didn't know you are now a member of WGXYZ!" This lack of awareness fueled the desire to have better cooperation between those Belgians in the ICES community.
“We realized that we needed to get to know each other better, across institutes and across ICES disciplines," says Serge Scory, the Belgian Delegate to ICES from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS).
With the support of RBINS and Flanders' Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO), the Belgian ICES community hopes to increase collaboration among its members. A series of initiatives have been organized by the recently established group, BICEpS.
The first event, “BICEpS Colloquium: Reinforcing Belgian ICES people", took place in Brussels in mid-November, with about 40 participants from 5 different institutes taking part. Flash presentations gave an overview of current research and data collection that are being conducted linked to ICES. Early career presenters stressed how important it is to get inspiration and feedback from experienced members. For research and experimental design, international harmonization promotes efficiency and replication. Other presenters shared their experiences on how research is translated into high-level scientific advice.
A second part of the colloquium was a "World Café" discussion targeting suggestions for an increased interaction between Belgian ICES people. What are the hurdles and opportunities? How can we intensify the network without adding too much workload? In what way can a Belgian network add to the existing ICES contributions and to our own research? What tools can we use to achieve all that?
BICEpS Colloquium co-organizer Hans Polet from ILVO was happy with the discussions: “The room was buzzing with positive ideas. The results are being processed, an action plan is being drafted. We'll be back!"
Follow BICEpS on Twitter: #ICESBelgium.
BICEpS Colloquium: "Reinforcing Belgian ICES people", took place in Brussels in mid-November.