Academic Research

Bridging the gap between research and decision making

Our research topics

Our experts are specialised in environmental engineering, biology, entomology, spatial epidemiology, meteorology, spatial modelling and ICT. We focus on the development of approaches that reduce the cost of spatial sampling and increase the knowledge that can be extracted from data. Our core is understanding the spatial distribution of emerging vector-borne diseases and are now expanding this to new domains in urban- and agricultural pest management. 

Research projects

The main objective of our research is to contribute to the state of the art as a means to bridge the gap between research and decision making. We initiate or are partner in national and international multidisciplinary research projects and networks. In addition to project management we offer to:

  • Conduct research and provide support within our field of expertise
  • Provide tailored eco-climatic data sets
  • Develop web-based decision support systems and databases
  • Provide training on GIS, spatial sampling strategies and spatial modelling

Research networks

We strongly believe that networking is key to success. We therefore run or are part of networks that make the difference. We were coordinating for a decade VBORNET and VECTORNET and are now a partner in VECTORNET-follow-on network. These networks, funded by ECDC and EFSA, were the first pan-European networks focussing on collecting and publishing all available data on vector distributions in Europe. Mainly the regularly updated maps of invasive mosquitoes in Europe are now considered a global standard.

Research papers

Research is useless if results are not shared or published. Whilst our focus is on contributing to the state of the art through the development of spatial decision support systems that bridge the gap between research and decision making, we also publish our findings as lead- or co-author in peer reviewed research journals.

Since the establishment of the company we published more than 150 peer-reviewed papers and over the past 5 years we published on average 15 papers per year.

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Some research project outputs

We predicted the spread of the tiger mosquito in Europe 

In 2008 we were requested by the European Centre for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC, Stockholm, Sweden) to map the spread of Aedes albopictus (the tiger mosquito) in Europe. As part of that assignment (TIGERMAPS) we also modelled the potential spread of the tiger mosquito in Europe and how this would evolve given climate change scenarios. We then coordinated the VBORNET and VECTORNET networks that kept monitoring the spread of the tiger. Current observations fully confirm our original prediction.

We develop advanced mosquito population dynamics models

Performant mosquito population dynamics models integrating advanced weather forecast information are key to the development of reliable spatial information systems that inform about risk, feed mosquito-borne disease spread models and enable the implementation of preventive integrated pest management (IPM) programs.

We develop disease spread models for dengue

We develop advanced compartmental epidemiological models to predict the spread of dengue in the tropics. The models are trained by high-resolution spatial-temporal data of real epidemics obtained through local collaborations. It is our ambition to develop a global network of data sharing that will allow to further strengthen these models which are essential when testing new compounds against mosquito-borne diseases.

Testimonials

Research funding partners

-	Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO)
European Commission
Federal Public Service / Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment (FPS)
Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO)
Welcome Trust Fund