Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

Original name(s)

  • Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique (fr - French)
  • Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen (nl - Dutch; Flemish)
  • Königliches Belgisches Institut für Naturwissenschaften (de - German)
Institution Address

29, rue Vautier
BE-1000 Bruxelles

Topics of interests

  • Taxonomy and phylogeny research on zoology and paleontology
  • Molecular biology
  • Modelling of ecosystems

Type of organisation

Institution Address

29, rue Vautier
BE-1000 Bruxelles

Director Representative

MsThierry Backeljau


Structure Chart

Governing & Executive bodies

Staff fields

staff_year of reference2016
staff total505.0
scientific staff (permanent)51.0
scientific staff (non permanent)113.0
scientific staff post doc (non permanent)96.0
scientific staff collections (permanent)6.0
scientific staff collections (non permanent)1.0
scientific staff associated0.0
staff collection managers technicians (permanent)12.0
staff collection managers technicians (non permanent)6.0
staff exhibitions (permanent)104.0
staff exhibitions (non permanent)156.0

General Description

The museum is the showcase for the research that our institute has been carrying out for more than 170 years. Today, our research team comprises 165 scientists and dozens of scientific staff, technicians and volunteers. It is a varied team that includes biologists, ecologists, geologists, mineralogists, palaeontologists, anthropologists, oceanographers, engineers and computer experts. This enables us to carry out multidisciplinary research.

Our research strategy points out the different domains in which our scientists work. Evolution, biodiversity, ecosystems and natural resources are key words. This research sheds light on a complex and diverse world that is billions of years old. Our researchers don’t spend all their time in the lab, far from it; several hundred international expeditions are organised every year.

Our enormous collections, made up of approximately 38 million specimens, form an inexhaustible research resource. These ‘biodiversity archives’ are used to classify existing species and identify new ones, and to study their ecosystems. This research enables us to amend policies in order to protect and preserve biodiversity. And now, with new techniques such as CT scans, isotope analysis and DNA sequencing, researchers are able to glean new information from old material on a daily basis.


Multidisciplinary “integrative” taxonomic biodiversity research in a broad evolutionary perspective. As such the OD T&Ph conducts research in the following fields: alpha-taxonomy (species descriptions), anatomy (including histology and ultrastructural research), morphometrics, faunistics, (behavioural) ecology, zoogeography, population genetics, and phylogeny, including DNA barcoding. These research activities are done in the context of more specific research interests, many of which relate to grand societal challenges such as climate change, invasive species, habitat fragmentation, environmental pollution, animal conservation, forensics, vector control, agricultural practices, and public education and awareness (including countering anti-evolutionary thinking). As such the OD T&Ph attempts to combine fundamental and applied taxonomic biodiversity research.

Research Fields

  • Economics / Microeconomics (38.10.00)

Research Initiative

Activities and outreach with Universities


Activities and outreach with other public
Yes, the Education service has developed links with various teachers associations, other museums, primary and secondary schools, notably. More specifically, for several years now, the RBINS has taken the lead in training young taxonomists from around the world. The Distributed European School of Taxonomy (DEST) was set up with funding from the European Commission (EDIT,, 2006 –2011). With support of RBINS, and under the auspices of the Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF), DEST offers high quality education and prepares students for future taxonomic careers. Since its foundation, DEST has gained a worldwide reputation. Yearly more than one hundred bachelor students, master students, post-doctoral students and early-career researchers take part in the training programme taught by lecturers from renowned European institutions. More info on the training programmes can be found on the official DEST website. (



Head of Publics Operational Directorate
MrPierre Coulon

Manager :

Taxonomic Coverage

TaxonomyQuantityDigitization levels (MIDS)Areas and Countries
Level 0 %Level 1 %Level 2 %Level 3 %


EonEraPeriodEpochCounterMIDS 0 (%)MIDS 1 (%)MIDS 2 (%)MIDS 3 (%)


Storage typeAmountMIDS 0 %MIDS 1 %MIDS 2 %MIDS 3 %
Collection Description

Collection Abstract

Collection Staff

Accession Specimens

Size and Digitisation Fields
Digitisation Fields

Digitisation Strategy:

Proportion Digitised:






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