Musee Royal de lAfrique centrale

Tervuren, Belgium

Musee Royal de lAfrique centrale

Tervuren, Belgium
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Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: SPA.2011.3.2-01 | Award Amount: 1.12M | Year: 2012

The GMES and Africa initiative establishes a long term partnership between European and African stakeholders, accordingly to the Lisbon Declaration, to work together on the development and implementation of Earth Observation (EO) applications based on African requirements. The process is implemented in the wide context of the Africa-EU partnership aiming for sustainable development and increment of scientific cooperation. GMES and Africa strengthens Africas capacity and ownership of EO activities and acknowledges the importance of past and present programmes, recognising the need to coordinate actions to avoid duplication, increase synergies and enhance complementarities. Bridging Actions for GMES & Africa (BRAGMA) will support and facilitate the necessary dialogue to implement the process, through improved coordination and adequate information flow and dissemination strengthening the partnership via the following actions: Keep building momentum for GMES and Africa Action Plan (GAAP) through validation and reviewing processes; Reinforcing the coordination group of stakeholders and entities responsible for leading the initiative and contributing to in-loco support aligned with the implementation mechanisms agreed in the GAAP; Supporting the role of the Expert Team (defined by the GMES and Africa Strategic Document at Hammamet, November 2010) on a sustainable basis; Promoting and creating wider international awareness of results and likely impact of relevant FP7 projects and current and planned GMES and Africa related activities; Facilitate the capacity for selected African experts to attend key coordination events and conferences; Organise GMES and Africa major awareness events in Africa; Provide reviews of how GMES services could contribute to needs identified in the GAAP.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: ERC-SG | Phase: ERC-SG-SH6 | Award Amount: 893.16K | Year: 2011

Knowledge of the last 1000 years in the West African Sahel comes largely from historical sources, which say that many regions were ruled by vast polities. The aim of my archaeological project is to seize how, in fact, lhe empires of this region structured the landscape, and the movemenl of peoples, ideas, and things, with a focus on the period AD 1200-1850. Is empire really a useful term? I will confront historical evidence with archaeological data from one area at the intersection of several polities: the dallols in Niger. This area is rich in remains, said to result from population movements and processes of religious and political change, but these remains have been only briefly described so far. As this region is a key area of migrations and cross-influences, it is the ideal laboratory for exploring the materialisation of contacts and boundaries, through a mapping of material culture distributions. My project will approach these sites holistically, carrying out archaeological regional survey and prospection. Excavation will indicate chronology and cultural affiliation. At lhe same time, I will take an interdisciplinary approach, using anthropological and oral-historical enquiries to obtain background information to test hypotheses generated by the archaeological data. Enquiries will assess how material culture can show group belonging and population shifts, and examine the role of individuals called technical specialists. This will help solve the current impasse in our understanding of vast empires which, though they are historically known, remain poorly understood. My project will not just improve our knowledge of an almost-unknown part of the world, but thanks to its geographical location, interdisciplinary nature and strong thematic framework, open up avenues of thinking about the relalion between archaeological and historical data, the mediation of relations through artefacts, and the archaeology of empires, all widely-relevant research issues


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2012-1.1.16. | Award Amount: 10.15M | Year: 2013

SYNTHESYS3 will create an accessible, integrated European resource for researchers in the natural sciences in Europe and globally. Building on the success of the previous SYNTHESYS IA, the NA will focus on improving collections management of new physical and virtual collections. By focusing the JRA on extracting and enhancing data from digitised collections, SYNTHESYS3 will increase the accessibility of these 390 million strong collections. A wide range of services and access both physical and digital will be provided to a broad range of scientific Users (from biological and geological related disciplines) in a consistent and accessible way. The natural history collections, held within the museums and herbaria, of Europe are World-class in terms of their magnitude and taxonomic coverage. They represent a resource unique in Europe as a model of the diversity of life on earth and are a physical dataset enabling Users to research how the human activity (including climate change) is having an increasingly negative impact on the diversity and distribution of biodiversity, which is threatening the continued provision of ecosystem services essential to human well-being.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENV.2012.6.2-2 | Award Amount: 11.59M | Year: 2012

Sustainable governance of our biological resources requires reliable scientific knowledge that meets the needs of society. Current biodiversity observation systems and environmental datasets are unbalanced in coverage and not integrated, limiting integrative analyses and implementation of environmental policies. EU BON presents an innovative approach towards integration of biodiversity information systems from on-ground to remote sensing data, for addressing policy and information needs in a timely and customized manner. EU BON will provide integration between social networks of science and policy and technological networks of interoperating IT infrastructures, resulting in a new open-access platform for sharing biodiversity data and tools, and greatly advance biodiversity knowledge in Europe. EU BONs 30 partners from 18 countries are members of networks of biodiversity data-holders, monitoring organisations, and leading scientific institutions. EU BON will build on existing components, in particular GBIF, LifeWatch infrastructures, and national biodiversity data centres. EU BON will 1) enable greater interoperability of data layers and systems through adoption of new standards; 2) advance data integration by new (modelling) technologies; 3) increase data mobilisation via scientific communities, citizen scientists, and potential data users; 4) develop strategies for future harmonizing and mainstreaming of biodiversity recording and monitoring; 5) improve analytical tools and services interpreting biodiversity data; 6) support the science-policy interface by timely information and scenario development; 7) link integrated, customized information to relevant stakeholders, and 8) strengthen overall European capacities and infrastructures for environmental information management. EU BONs deliverables include a comprehensive European Biodiversity Portal for all stakeholder communities, and strategies for a global implementation of GEO BON and supporting IPBES.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2008-1.1.1 | Award Amount: 9.65M | Year: 2009

SYNTHESYS IA will aid in the evolution of a European resource through the creation an accessible, integrated infrastructure for researchers in the natural sciences in Europe and globally. By focusing the JRA on DNA extraction, SYNTHESYS IA will increase the opportunities for Users to exploit a largely untapped facet of the 337 million strong collections. Users will be able to play an active role in generating new knowledge based on molecular and morphological studies. A range of new services and improved access both physical and digital will be provided to a broad range of scientific Users (from biological and geological related disciplines) in a consistent and more easily accessible way. The new tools to be developed and disseminated will give Users the chance to pursue new avenues for independent studies at the leading edge of biodiversity and environmental research.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-NIGHT | Award Amount: 124.26K | Year: 2012

On the 28th of September 2012, Six events will be organized in five Belgian cities in the frame of the European Researchers night : Brussels (2); Charleroi, Lige, Louvain-la-Neuve and Mons. For this edition, 17 partners agreed to animate the different events on the theme of Science@home : How science, research and innovation are indispensable in a normal house, and how they will improve our daily life and our houses in the (near) future... This theme will enable the citizens to better understand and appreciate the work of researchers but also the role of innovation to transform research results in concrete (daily) applications. Before the night, young people will be invited through a wide communication campaign, to draw the house of the future and to come afterwards to the nearest organized event if they were close from reality ! Animations, games, experiments, discussions, films, and other activities will make this event dynamic. The interaction between researchers and visitors will enhance the recognition of the role of the researchers in society and in daily life. It will also promote the careers of researchers among the younger public. Finally, this will help the public to go beyond certain preconceptions about researchers and show that these are not odd characters stuck in a laboratory, but people like you and me.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: ERC-SG | Phase: ERC-SG-SH6 | Award Amount: 1.40M | Year: 2012

The magnificent Kongo kingdom, which arose in the Atlantic Coast region of Equatorial Africa, is a famous emblem of Africas past. It is an important cultural landmark for Africans and the African Diaspora. Thanks to its early introduction to literacy and involvement in the Trans- Atlantic trade, the history of this part of sub-Saharan Africa from 1500 onwards is better known than most other parts. Nevertheless, very little is known about the origins and earlier history of the kingdom. Hence, this grant application proposes an interdisciplinary approach to this question. Archaeology and historical linguistics, two key disciplines for early history reconstruction in Africa, will play the most prominent role in this approach. Paradoxically, if the wider region of the Kongo kingdom is one of the best documented areas of Central Africa from a historical and ethnographic point of view, it is virtually unknown archaeologically. The proposed research team will therefore undertake pioneer excavations in several capital sites of the old kingdom. Similarly, no comprehensive historical study has covered the languages of the Kongo and closely affiliated kingdoms. Nonetheless, the earliest documents with Bantu data, going back to the early 16th century, originate from this region. The proposed research team will therefore undertake a historical-comparative study of the Kikongo dialect cluster and surrounding language groups, such as Kimbundu, Teke and Punu-Shira, systematically comparing current-day data with data from the old documents. Special attention will be given to cultural vocabulary related to politics, religion, social organization, trade and crafts, which in conjunction with the archaeological discoveries, will shed new light on th


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2009-NIGHT | Award Amount: 243.50K | Year: 2010

On the 24th of September 2010, a big event will be held in Brussels in the frame of the Researchers Night. This event will be organized by the Belgian Science Policy Office in collaboration with major Belgian universities and research institutions. Considering that 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, the Researchers night will focus on the mutual understanding of researchers and citizens around this specific theme. Researchers will get the opportunity to talk about themselves, about their research and their role in daily life. The programme of activities will be varied: experiments, games, quizzes, films, discussions, and entertainment. The citizens will be able to express their feelings, skepticism, doubts, fears or enthusiasm on the importance of biodiversity. Researchers will show that behind recommended behavior, behind simple deeds, there is research. And a researcher. The idea is to show that biodiversity researchers are part of the society. Subsequently the citizens will be asked to become biodiversity research actors.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IEF | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IEF | Award Amount: 235.00K | Year: 2014

Weathering of silicate rocks acts as a major sink for atmospheric CO2, and hence is thought to have played an important role in regulating the Earths climate over geological time. Despite the potential importance of this process, and its significance to the global carbon cycle, our ability to reconstruct past variations in silicate weathering remains limited. Another important issue is the degree to which human-induced environmental degradation has affected continental weathering on shorter time scales, from tens to thousands of years. A better understanding of how chemical weathering relates to climate change and human activities is necessary to address these issues. The SI-PALEO project proposes to explore the use of silicon isotopes in marine sediments as a new proxy for past continental weathering. Recent advances in the understanding of the biogeochemical cycling of silicon on continents have shown that Si isotopes could provide a unique tool for tracing the evolution of silicate weathering through time. In this study, the main objectives will be: 1) to determine the factors controlling the distribution of Si isotope ratios in terrigenous sediments, and 2) to assess the impact of climate change and human activities on past chemical weathering in Central Africa. These objectives will be addressed by analysing an extensive collection of river-borne sediments and exceptional marine sediment records from the Congo area. SI-PALEO is a multi-disciplinary project, proposed together by a French marine geoscientist and the Royal Museum of Central Africa (Belgium), a first-class centre for scientific research in Africa with expertise on Si isotope geochemistry, Earth Surface processes and archaeology. The data acquired during this project should improve our understanding of past interactions between climate, environment, and human activities. SI-PALEO will also contribute at strenghtening the applicants position in this novel frontier area of research.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-IF-EF-CAR | Phase: MSCA-IF-2014-EF | Award Amount: 172.80K | Year: 2015

At the border between Uganda and the D.R. of Congo, the Rwenzoris form a remote and high-altitude mountain range stretching through the East African Rift System. With heights of 4-5 km, they include Africas third highest peak (Mt. Stanley, 5109 m) as well as some of the last African glaciers. The combined area of the Rwenzori glaciers declined by more than 75% during the 20th century, and halved between 1987 and 2006. This extreme mass loss may have strong implications for the local hydrology, ecosystems and communities, and recent estimates suggest that the glaciers will disappear in the next decade(s). This trend correlates well with similarly dramatic glacier retreats on Mt Kilimandjaro (Tanzania) and Mt Kenya (Kenya) during the same period, and is attributed to increased air temperature or reduced humidity/cloud cover. Despite recent work on the evolution of glacier extent in the last decades, the measured glacier retreat, as well as the interpretation of the driving climatic factors responsible since the 1980s, remain controversial and are limited to available data. In order to better understand the dynamics of this recession, we will survey the current state of the two largest Rwenzori glaciers, Stanley and Speke glaciers, using a panel of remote sensing, geophysical and geochemical methods. These include, first, surveying of glacier extents over the last decades using satellite imagery, mapping of the current glacier extent and main features using differential GPS, and assessing the glacier thicknesses using ice-penetrating radar. These three steps will allow for further ice flow modeling. Second, the use of weather station data in the glacier vicinity as well as ice/water sampling for geochemical analysis will allow investigating the glacier sensitivity to the changing climate and its (palaeo-)environmental potential. These results will be compiled with a view to provide a first estimate of modern, past and future ice budgets in the area of interest.

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