National cooperation for research mainly takes the form of collaborative projects between the various Belgian universities and scientific institutions.
One of the main levers for such cooperation is the programme 'Science for a sustainable development' (SSD) funded by the Federal Science Policy Office. This national programme is managed by the federal goverment, under a cooperation agreement with the Regions and Communities to identify common research priorities in support to the conservation of biodiversity.
The second programme (2000-2005) financed around 15 projects composed of minimum 2 to maximum 5 teams of multi-disciplinary research teams. In total, about 60 research teams beneficiated from this programme. The third and current programme (2005-2009) started effectively in 2006.
The advisory body of the Federal Science Policy Office, the Belgian Biodiversity Platform (BBPF), has for one of its missions to facilitate contacts between researchers and scientific experts in the field of biodiversity. Its main tool is the establishment of 'discussion fora' on thematic issues. These fora work through e-mail discussion lists, a website and the organisation of scientific workshops. The Belgian Biodiversity Platform also maintains the national database on research and expertise in Belgium, the Biobel database.
For micro-organisms, it is worth mentioning the Belgian Coordinated Collections of Micro-organisms (BCCM), which is a consortium of four micro-organism collections working together to conserve, study, share the biological material of its collections, as well as its know-how in the field of fundamental and applied (micro)biology.
More information on these subjects can be found in a special issue of "Science Connection", the magazine of the Federal Science Policy Office, as well as on the website of the Federal Science Policy Office.