1. What is your job function in the Belgian Biodiversity Platform?
I’m one of the Biodiversity data liaison officers of the team. This means that I work on biodiversity data
resources and make data available for anyone who has a desire to use or analyse them. Together with
my colleagues, I do this by publishing the data on the Global Biodiversity Information Network (GBIF),
preferably as so-called “open data”. For this task, I liaise with scientists, NGOs and other data holders
and discuss how we can properly standardize and publish the data. Publishing data on GBIF is only part
of my task, as we also discuss other ways of data dissemination, for example through customized data
portals or by writing data papers. I also support several other tasks for the Belgian Biodiversity Platform
(most notably the organisation of meetings and conferences) and for its Communities of Practice: Belgian
Forum on Invasive Alien Species, Belgian Ecosystem Services, and Biodiversity and Health.
2. How does your work support biodiversity research?”
I am definitely convinced that I can make a difference, and I am also very enthousiastic about it! There
are a lot of challenges in biodiversity and ecosystem services research. The most difficult one is likely to
make it relevant to society. By making data publicly available, we make sure that data are not lost or stay
hidden in a drawer. On the contrary, we make sure they can be (re)used for various purposes!
3. What are the main challenges you face ?
Working for a structure like the Belgian Biodiversity Platform is not always easy, as biodiversity and
nature conservation are very often still considered a minor issue for politicians. Because of that, we often
have to fight for our case, and in some cases even for our job. However, we have a great team and are
all dedicated to the same goal. Thanks to this strong believe and good chemistry amongst us, we make a
difference in Belgium and beyond. My personal challenge is mainly to convince as many researchers as
possible to publish their data online. We have come a long way. Some ten years ago, scientists were very
reluctant to release their data but over the years, we have been able to showcase the benefits of data
publication. Yet, there is still much work on our plate to fully accomplish our mission!