Belgium National Experiences

Published: 08/03/2011 | Modified: 08/04/2014, 2:22 pm

Contact details of the institutions hosting the BHOs

 

Belgian Federal Science Policy Office

Avenue Louise 231 Louizalaan
B-1050 Brussels
Telephone : +32 (0)2 238 34 11
Fax : +32 (0)2 230 59 12
Mail: bernard.delhausse@belspo.be
URL website: www.euraxess.be

 

 

Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique F.R.S.-FNRS

Rue d’Egmont 5
B-1000 Bruxelles
Telephone: +32 (0)2 504 92 11
Fax: +32 (0)2 504 92 92
Mail: bruno.moraux@frs-fnrs.be
URL website: www.euraxess-cfwb.be

 

 

Vlaamse overheid – Departement Economie, Wetenschap en Innovatie (EWI)

Koning Albert II-laan 35
B-1030 Brussel
Telephone: +32 (0)2 553 59 80
Fax: +32 (0)2 553 60 07
Mail: karen.haegemans@ewi.vlaanderen.be
URL website: www.euraxess.be/flanders

Bridgehead Organisation

Belgium has three BHOs, each responsible for managing EURAXESS at its institutional level:
BELSPO prepares, executes and evaluates science policy and its extensions at the federal level. It is responsible for coordinating the national EURAXESS network and managing the federal portal.

FNRS is the funding agency for the French Community. It is responsible for coordinating the sub-network of ESCs in Wallonia and Brussels and for managing the French EURAXESS portal.

EWI is responsible for preparing, monitoring and evaluating policies concerning economy, science and innovation in the Flemish Community. It coordinates the Services Centres in Flanders and Brussels and manages the Flemish EURAXESS portal.

EURAXESS Services Centres

There are nine ESCs in Belgium; four are French and five are Flemish. They are all located in universities, the main actors for researcher mobility in the public sector:

  • Catholic University of Leuven (KUL)
  • Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL)
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
  • Université de Liège (ULg)
  • Université de Mons (UMONS)
  • University of Antwerp (UA)
  • University of Ghent (UGent)
  • University of Hasselt (UHasselt)
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)

Local Contact Points

There are eight LoCPs in Belgium; three are French and five are Flemish. They are located either in higher education facilities or in research centres:

  • Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp (ITMA)
  • Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel (HUBrussel)
  • Flemish Institute for Biotechnology (VIB)
  • Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC)
  • Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO)
  • Gembloux Agro Bio-Tech
  • Arlon Campus Environnement
  • Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix à Namur (FUNDP)

Structure of the national network

The Belgian EURAXESS network includes three BHOs, nine ESCs and eight LoCPs.

The national coordinator for EURAXESS in Belgium is BELSPO. It works in close collaboration with the two regional BHOs. When the network was beginning to develop, BELSPO organised coordination meetings and annual conferences to facilitate and streamline the setup process. BELSPO is currently in contact with participants from all levels on a daily basis. It is also the organisation in charge of signing contracts with the European Commission on behalf of Belgian institutional participants. It manages the national portal for researchers and acts as a catalyst for the Belgian joint venture.

Both the French and Flemish BHOs manage their respective sub-network of ESCs and develop their portals for researchers. They enjoy full autonomy in developing EURAXESS in their own Communities but are constantly in contact so as to ensure appropriate coordination of their activities at the national level.

Staff members in Belgium devote 5 to 50% of their total working time to EURAXESS efforts, depending on their level of commitment. The total time spent is difficult to evaluate exactly, as it depends on the level of development of the network, the turnover in the institution and the time of year. The following is a rough estimate:

  • Full-time equivalent staff:
  • Number of persons:
  • BHO: 1
  • BHO: 3
  • ESC: 2
  • ESC: 9 (contact persons)
  • LoCP: 2
  • LoCP: 8 (contact persons)

Declaration of Commitment (DoC)

All BHOs, ESCs and LoCPs have signed the DoC.

National funding of the EURAXESS Services Network

Belgian BHOs, ESCs and LoCPs do not receive extra funding for EURAXESS activities from any national and/or regional sources.

Target groups of the Bridgehead Organisations

  • European/national/regional authorities
  • decision makers in research (research agencies, rectors’ conferences, research institutions)
  • EURAXESS partners at the national and European level

Target groups of the EURAXESS Services Centres/Local Contact Points

  • incoming researchers
  • outgoing researchers
  • EURAXESS partners at the national and European level

Relationship and communication between the BHOs, the Steering Group for Human Resources and Mobility for Researchers (SG HRM), the National Contact Points (NCPs) and the Programme Committee

In order to improve coordination of the different European efforts concerning researcher mobility, Belgian authorities appointed (whenever possible) the same managers to the different programmes within each institutional level, as shown in the chart below. Hence, coordination of activities within each institutional level is ensured and the information flow among the people in charge of researcher mobility at different institutional levels is optimal.

1. Welcome Pack: reaching out to incoming researchers

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:49 pm

The Welcome Pack provides researchers (from PhD to senior post-doc) with additional specific information that will be useful in their everyday lives. It is also a good way to get in touch with them, as they have to pick it up at the ESC. This enables the EURAXESS staff member to ‘put a face to a name,’ so when a researcher experiences a problem, it is easier to recall who that person is.

Standard list of items in the Welcome Pack (they may vary depending on the ESC)

EURAXESS

  • bag, ballpoint pen, post-its, visiting card, key ring

  • Belgian and European leaflets

  • European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers

  • Marie Curie pocket guide

  • information on the EURAXESS Services Centre

Host institution

  • presentation brochure

  • booklet for incoming researchers

  • leaflet on language courses at the university

  • leaflet on patents and IPR

  • handout on psychological support (for researchers and their families)

Practical information

  • information on health care

  • list of consulates and embassies

  • maps of the campus and the town

  • map and schedule of public transport and other mobility services

Professional associations

  • Corscif (association of researchers)

  • Beable (association of researchers in biotech, environment and life sciences)

  • alumni

Culture and leisure

  • museums, theatres, choirs and sports

  • subscriptions to daily papers

  • tourist guides

2. Online data collector: a simple solution for gathering data for EURAXESS

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:49 pm

 

Collecting data is often a problem for ESCs and LoCPs, as there is a high turnover in EURAXESS network staff members and, in addition, they can’t rely on a specific tool for this purpose. They either count the researchers’ requests or enter them in an Excel file, a Word file or a sheet of paper, or they collect them in a specific folder in their Outlook inbox; then they enter the data in the EURAXESS portal every six months. This system has obvious limitations. It is time- consuming and the data collected are not exhaustive; hence the evidence is not satisfactory and the usefulness of the service may be questioned.

To make the local data collectors’ task easier, the BHO of the French Community has developed a very user-friendly tool: an online database available on its portal’s intranet. Any expert with password rights working in an ESC/LoCP can access that online database and immediately enter the researcher’s request that has been answered in five clicks at the most. The BHO then transfers the data to the European portal every six months.

This tool is a valuable asset for ESCs/LoCPs: it is user-friendly, gives clear guidelines to experts for entering their data in real time (without having to worry about the six-month submission deadline) and allows for quick registration. Besides, being a small database, it is quite easy to implement for the BHO.

 

3. Visibility as the main challenge for ESCs

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:49 pm

The main challenge we have faced since the ERA-MORE Network was established has been increasing visibility and raising awareness among the staff at our university and among the researchers themselves. Since 2005, we have been struggling to gain visibility and credibility.

The rebranding of the network (from ERA-MORE to EURAXESS) created a window of opportunity for the official launch of the local ESC. Hence we organized a practical seminar on researcher mobility. The event took place on one afternoon at a venue at the university; it was attended by decision makers (deans and associate deans), international experts (from the Commission), high-level representatives (directors of administrations) and researchers. The first part consisted of a workshop with presentations by several keynote speakers regarding the ESC itself, the Scientific Visa and the mobility flows in the university. This part was followed by a reception at the ESC and a visit to the offices.

Another excellent opportunity for visibility was the survey conducted by the US magazine The Scientist in March 2009 on the subject ‘Best Places to Work: Post docs.’ Of course, rankings are not an objective per se, but they can contribute to visibility. Thanks to personal contacts with several incoming researchers, the university got a mention as one of the best places to work. It ranked ninth on the list of best international institutions for post-doc job opportunities in the field of life sciences.

1. Building a user-friendly, Euraxessible website

Published: 10/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:39 pm

We must always remember that our users are the main focus of our content. First of all, web content (viewed on a screen) should not be organised like text content to be published in a printed book or a brochure. Listed below are several requirements for web content, applicable to any content prepared for all readers, regardless of whether they are visually impaired or not.

  • Use ‘Sans-Serif’ fonts (e.g. Arial, Geneva, Verdana, etc.), which are more readable on screen than Serif fonts (e.g. Times, Courier, Garamond, etc.), typically used for printed material. Use generic web fonts to ensure a similar rendering on every computer.

  • Use bold fonts for highlighting contents, but use them sparingly to avoid their losing power.

  • Presentation must be well spaced out. Lines should not be too long. Make good use of header levels for presenting well-structured information.

  • Wording should be concise. Ban verbosity.

  • Keep content coherent within a page. Avoid junk pages with no precise and easily identifiable topic. Structure pages according to semantics, giving each page a meaningful title.

  • Each image must have ALT, TITLE and, when needed (complex images), LONGDESC attributes defined (see example E1 below). Each table has a CAPTION attribute defined.

  • Avoid textured backgrounds, which can reduce readability.

  • Links must be clearly identifiable, as well as the difference between internal and external links.

  • Avoid using too many flashy colours on the same page. Avoid blinking elements as well. If you use any animations, make sure they can be easily stopped or skipped.

  • Video and sound must be clearly announced and not start automatically.

  • Ban automatic and/or unwanted popups.

All these features are mandatory. They are important because they must be taken into account from the very start when writing content. The following features should be implemented on any website potentially dedicated to people with any degree of visual impairment.

  • The website must be browsable using a keyboard (with access keys, also useful if users have reduced or no control of the mouse).

  • Fonts must be easily resized and reset. Resizing fonts must not affect the available content.

  • Video content must be subtitled. If needed, text versions must be provided for video and sound content.

  • Forms must have a clearly defined purpose. Each label must be clearly associated with its respective field. Wherever needed (e.g. dates), field formatting must be indicated. Validation errors must be indicated using text. The validation button or clickable image must be explicit and visible. Captchas must be compatible or offer alternatives for visually challenged users.

These practices are the most widely recognised and are often considered as de facto standards. Very useful and comprehensive information is available at the Web Accessibility Initiative website of the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).

Example 1

corporate organization chart (Link follows)

full text description of the corporate organization chart

1. Visibility as the main challenge for ESCs

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:49 pm

The main challenge we have faced since the ERA-MORE Network was established has been increasing visibility and raising awareness among the staff at our university and among the researchers themselves. Since 2005, we have been struggling to gain visibility and credibility.

The rebranding of the network (from ERA-MORE to EURAXESS) created a window of opportunity for the official launch of the local ESC. Hence we organized a practical seminar on researcher mobility. The event took place on one afternoon at a venue at the university; it was attended by decision makers (deans and associate deans), international experts (from the Commission), high-level representatives (directors of administrations) and researchers. The first part consisted of a workshop with presentations by several keynote speakers regarding the ESC itself, the Scientific Visa and the mobility flows in the university. This part was followed by a reception at the ESC and a visit to the offices.

Another excellent opportunity for visibility was the survey conducted by the US magazine The Scientist in March 2009 on the subject ‘Best Places to Work: Post docs.’ Of course, rankings are not an objective per se, but they can contribute to visibility. Thanks to personal contacts with several incoming researchers, the university got a mention as one of the best places to work. It ranked ninth on the list of best international institutions for post-doc job opportunities in the field of life sciences.

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