Organization

Here you can find more info about ILVO's:

Organizational structure

ILVO has 4 main research units:

ILVO's management team is headed by Joris Relaes, administrateur-generaal.

Plant Sciences Unit

Led by Kristiaan Van Laecke.

"At the Plant Sciences Unit, everything revolves around the best crops for the producer, the consumer and sustainable agricultural practices."

We produce improved starting material through breeding; this is based on basic knowledge of the plant's genetics and internal physiological processes in interaction with the environment. ILVO works on already-known crops as well as new crops that have potential in Flanders.

Important themes are the production of plant proteins, circularity and the efficient use of resources. We try to understand all the processes in the soil. There are key ways to optimize the eco- and environmental system around the plant and thus reduce the environmental impact of agriculture. Sustainable cultivation systems and techniques that promote agrobiodiversity are tested and promoted.

ILVO performs extensive research on how to help plants manage diseases and pests. ILVO has experts on fungi, viruses, bacteria, insects, mites and nematodes. They know the life cycles of plant attackers, develop identification methods and control strategies, and provide knowledge for the implementation of successful IPM strategies.

Well-equipped research greenhouses, laboratory and trial field infrastructure with extensive machinery, a unique composting site and several rain-out shelters for drought research are key assets.

The Plant Sciences Unit works in close interaction with partner-researchers in Belgium and abroad and with an extensive network of companies and (agricultural) organizations. In many cases, the research is carried out in consultation and at the request of the policy.

Through the Plant Living Lab, all knowledge is made available to stakeholders proactively and within a framework of co-creation. Finally, ILVO implements, where possible, the insights generated in its own research into the operations of the ILVO farm. This demonstrative approach strengthens the flow of research results into practice.

> More info about ILVO's research infrastructure

> More info about the Plant Living Lab

Animal Sciences Unit

Led by Bart Sonck.

"This unit forms an administrative umbrella over two very different research areas: animal husbandry and the marine-related sectors."

ILVO’s animal husbandry research provides knowledge to help promote more sustainable and more efficient animal husbandry. It covers the entire chain, from field (or pasture) to plate (or glass of milk). Which feed components or total rations lead to which animal performance, and what are their effects on water, air and soil? Which characteristics of the basic product (meat or milk) can be optimized by technical and feasible interventions in farm management? What results in measurable and demonstrable differences for animal welfare?

ILVO performs a range of analyses on animal and feed components, and the ILVO experimental farm has sections for research on small livestock, pigs and dairy cattle, including compartmentalization possibilities and extensive measuring equipment (e.g., to quantify methane or ammonia). A new experimental poultry house will be built in 2021.

In the marine research area in Ostend, studies are performed on fish populations, fishing techniques, aquaculture and the impact of human activities on the marine environment. ILVO helps to realize two strategic policy goals: well-thought-out blue growth for the sustainable exploitation of marine resources and the monitoring and restoration of healthy balances in marine ecology.

Scientific experiments and data collection are performed in the ‘dry’ and 'wet' labs, the technical workshop (including a netting room), infrastructure for saltwater aquaculture, and observations at sea. Crucial to our research is ongoing and structural collaborations with ship-owners, VLIZ and other (inter)national marine research groups. In 2021, the marine science department of ILVO will move into a new research building shared with VLIZ called “the InnovOcean campus” in Ostend.

> More info about ILVO's research infrastructure

> Read more about the Living Lab for Animal Husbandry and the Marine Living Lab

Technology and Food Science Unit

Led by Lieve Herman.

"This group of researchers has extensive knowledge and the right equipment to study the safety and quality of food components and products.

We are well-known for our development work in the field of precision, robotics and data technology in the agri-food chain. We occupy a unique position in the research landscape regarding knowledge and improvement of agricultural emissions that affect the environment or climate and regarding innovative spraying techniques."

Current strategic themes are protein diversification, reduction of food losses, allergens, pathogens and residues, functional nutrition, health care nutrition, small-scale and local food production, sustainability measurements throughout the agri-food chain, and niche automation.

Via the the Food Pilot, an experimental food processing plant of ILVO and Flanders' FOOD, and the Living Lab Agri-food Technology, all knowledge is proactively made available within a co-creative approach to food companies. By extension, this includes (technical) companies throughout the agri-food chain when they need a knowledge partner to realize their innovative ambitions.

Mandatory technical inspections of spraying equipment are also carried out on behalf of the government.

> More info about ILVO's research infrastructure

> More info about the Food Pilot and the Living Lab Agrifood Technology

Eenheid Landbouw & Maatschappij

Led by Fleur Marchand and Elke Rogge.

The Social Sciences Unit studies a wide range of socio-economic aspects as related to agriculture.

We always use systemic perspective to approach food and agriculture-related problems. Agriculture, food and the countryside are connected to society in many different ways.

Seven spearheads

We study the (1) food system and the policy strategies to shape this system. We pay attention to both (2) the economic and (3) the ecological side. We consider (4) the resilience and well-being of farmers and their families.

(5) Space for food: In Flanders, farmers work in a highly urbanized society where open space and space for food production are under intense pressure. We substantiate these phenomena with hard figures, and we point to causes and consequences.

By definition, many different actors are present in processes of change in our sectors. (6) With innovative techniques of interaction and peer-to-peer learning, we help to optimize processes. (7) A specialized niche knowledge has been built up over the years around the economics of animal diseases.

The Social Sciences Unit draws upon a highly diverse group of disciplines.

> Read more about the Living Lab for Agro-ecology and Organic Agriculture

Financial resources

As a Flemish Scientific Institution (VWI), ILVO receives an annual grant from the Flemish government. These endowments include direct financial resources in the form of a basic operating grant and human resources for the ILVO staff members of the Flemish government (statutory and contractual staff) whose wages are covered by this grant.

In addition to this basic allowance, ILVO has income from project research and from Own Capital operations (Eigen Vermogen in Dutch). The income and expenses of the project research are managed by ILVO's Own Capital fund (EV ILVO).

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