Distributed digital infrastructure for the management of scientific collections in Flanders

Project Details


Main research question/goal

DiSSCo is a new world-class Research Infrastructure for the physical and digital curation of European natural science collections under common management and access policies. To make the collections more visible and better utilized, their associated data and media should become more Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR).

Research approach

DiSSCo Flanders targets biological, anthropological and geological collections, comprising preserved, living, tissue and molecular collections. Smaller lab and orphan collections are fully included in this proposal to guarantee their proper conservation and re-usability. In the first instance, an up-to-date inventory will be made of the many collections spread across the various ILVO units, such as the marine collections on macrobenthos, fish (otoliths) and soil samples, but also the various collections on plants (breeding seeds, azalea cultivars) and micro-organisms (plant pathogens and other cultures from the agrifood production chain) and the related molecular collections (DNA, eDNA). The whole workflow, from specimen sampling in the field to their digitization and online publication enabling re-use of the data and media, will be addressed in terms of proper collection management.


DiSSCo represents the largest ever formal agreement between natural history museums, botanical gardens, zoos, universities and other collection-holding institutions. This project enables the transformation of a fragmented landscape into an integrated knowledge base. DiSSCo Flanders contributes at the Flemish level to the bigger DiSSCo Europe consortium, already active since 2017. Within ILVO there are links to bio-banking, monitoring and follow-up of pathogens.

Funding provider(s)
FWO - Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek

External partner(s)
Agentschap Plantentuin Meise
Effective start/end date1/01/2131/12/24

Flemish Discipline list

  • Information sciences not elsewhere classified
  • General biology not elsewhere classified
  • Other natural sciences not elsewhere classified
  • Bioinformatics and computational biology not elsewhere classified
  • Environmental science and management not elsewhere classified

Data Management Plan flag for FRIS

  • DMP not present