Belgian scientist Valerie Trouet to lead new European climate center

In 2023, a new European climate center will be inaugurated in Uccle (Brussels). It has to become a federal ‘center of excellence’. The idea is to centralize and coordinate all climate knowledge in one accessible location. Scientists and organizations will be able to gather there and exchange expertise.

The leading lady of the new institute – one of the largest in Europe – will be the Flemish Valerie Trouet, professor of dendrochronology (the scientific method of dating tree rings) at the American University of Arizona.

Circular economy

Ella Jamsin, PhD. in Physics (ULB), will take care of the practical organization. Jamsin worked at the Delft University of Technology, among others, before becoming an independent consultant. She’s specialized in the circular economy.

Valerie Trouet is world-famous for her climate research based on the annual rings of trees (dendroclimatology). Trouet will – temporarily – return to Belgium to lead the institute as scientific director of the new climate center.

Tree rings

Valerie Trouet – the name probably rings a bell – is the author of ‘Wat bomen ons vertellen‘ (‘Tree story: The History of the World Written in Rings’). Trees, it seems, are giant organic recording devices containing information about past climate, civilizations, ecosystems, and even galactic events. “Trees record history and they never lie,” Trouet once said.

The book reveals how the seemingly simple and relatively familiar concept of counting tree rings has inspired far-reaching scientific breakthroughs that illuminate the complex interactions between nature and people.

Valerie Trouet: “A great deal of climate research is already being done, and Belgium is one of the world’s best, but knowledge is dispersed across various universities and institutions. The climate center will enable more cooperation and outline a clear strategy for Belgium.”

Scientifically substantiated information

It will join forces with several other scientifical teams, and together, they will study the effects of climate change, their impact on the ecosystem, how to further reduce emissions, how to adjust…

The institute’s mission will be to offer scientifically substantiated information and not take any particular (political) position. Companies, politicians, and the media will be welcome to consult the climate center for ‘climate clarity’.

The new climate center will be situated on the campus in Uccle, where the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium (RMI) (Koninklijk Meteorologische Instituut, KMI) is based.

Joined forces

Together, they will join forces with the Observatory (Sterrenwacht), the Museum of Natural Sciences of Belgium (Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen, KBIN), the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Ruimte-Aëronomie, KBIRA), and the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) (het ‘Afrika Museum’).

They will collaborate closely with universities, other scientific institutions, and research centers like VITO (Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologie), the Flemish Institute for technology. The new climate center will get 2 million euros annually to start with, and a staff of about ten. In the coming four years, the budget will be increased by 10 million euros.



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