China-Belgium joint research into cropwatch via earth observation in preparation

Mol, March 11, 2015: VITO was honored to welcome His excellency Mr. QU Xing, the new Chinese Ambassador and his delegation to Belgium on Monday 9 March 2015. VITO is one of the first stops in Flanders of the new Chinese ambassador after having started his term of office, since VITO is very active in China in recent years, especially in the environmental, sustainable energy and remote sensing area.

According to the Ambassador, there is great potential between China and Belgium in the field of science and technology collaboration. The topics VITO is working on, environmental protection, sustainable energy as well as remote sensing, are among those key collaboration areas.

The visit outlined VITO’s historical and current activities in China, presented by VITO’s China Business development manager, Debin Mao. Steven Krekels, Unit manager of VITO’s Remote sensing department, gave a dedicated presentation on the China-Belgium CropWatch Earth Observation Programme. VITO has been working closely together with RADI (Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth | Chinese Academy of Sciences) on this joint-proposal, with strong support from the Belgian government. If the project proves to be successful, it will be a flagship project in the Belgium-China science and technology collaboration.

Dirk Van Speybroeck, representing State Secretary of Science Policy Elke Sleurs, officially handed over a draft MoU to the ambassador. The MoU is about the Belgium-China state level strategic collaboration on remote sensing and space related topics, which is expected to be signed between Belspo and the Chinese Academy of Science during the Royal Mission to China in June.

The ambassador expressed great interest in and support for the CropWatch joint project. The document will be delivered by the Chinese embassy to Chinese Central Government as soon as possible.

The visit ended with a tour of VITO’s Remote Sensing department.

For more information on Remote Sensing at VITO, please contact Steven Krekels.

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