Partner 44 – Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL)

UCL, Louvain la Neuve, Belgium, is at the forefront of innovation and excellence in education and research. The university includes 3 sectors (Medical Sciences, Humanities and Social sciences, Science and Technology), 12 faculties, 21 research institutes, 3 scientific parks, 2 hospitals and 1 museum. With more than 21000 students (122 different nationalities) and 5000 members of staff including 1400 professors and 1800 researchers, UCL has local, European and international visibility. The excellence of research within the UCL results in its international radiation: nearly 600 PhD students come from the whole world; among the thousand of annually concluded contracts, more than 200 contracts of research are signed with foreign universities and companies.

The department of Geography focuses on land changes and their impact in rural and urban landscapes of temperate and tropical regions. Research is conducted both on the causes of land-use change and on their impacts on soils, ecosystems, vectors of diseases, and sustainable development. This work is conducted at local, regional and global scales. Land-cover changes are monitored using time series of remote sensing data, and field collected data, analysed using geographic information systems. We focus on both slow, fine scale land-cover conversions and fast, broad scale land-cover modifications.

The research unit focuses on the study of the etiology, distribution and risk of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases in relation to the environment. More specifically, the interactions between human and/or animal populations, the landscape, and the vectors, hosts and pathogens are studied. The analysis of remote sensing data is a prominent tool, and the department has a long experience in the field. Spatial analysis and geographic information systems are important complements to the use of remote sensing data. Statistical analysis and modelling complete the set of tools routinely used to document the interactions outlined. The experience so far includes mosquito- and tick-borne diseases as well as zoonotic diseases, in a range of environments, including tropical ecosystems and western and eastern European settings, as was done in the EDEN project.

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