All "ARC" projects led by or with researchers from ULB

Two types of ARC exist at ULB: ‘consolidating’ ARCs, intended for recently hired academics, and ‘advanced’ ARCs, for more experienced teams.

For the 2020-2025, 2018-2023 and 2016-2021 calls for proposals, 9 "consolidator" and 9 "advanced" projects are supported at the ULB. 


2020-2025 projects

ARC "Consolidator" 2020-2025

CapTure: Capillary Trapping and Slender Structure

Some nectar-feeding animals have ‘hairy’ tongues, shaped like a paintbrush. This is the case, for instance, of the bee, whose tongue hairs spread out when in contact with nectar. Little is still known about the role these hairs play in capturing the liquid; this project’s goal is to better understand the mechanisms at play. Read more...

Spokesperson: Fabian Brau, Nonlinear Physical Chemistry Unit, Faculty of Sciences

tRNA hypomethylation and fragmentation in pancreatic β-cells – a novel mechanism of diabetes development

We currently do not fully understand what causes certain types of diabetes. This project’s goal is to gain insight into the development of monogenic diabetes, which is caused by mutations in a specific gene, and of type 1 diabetes (which is polygenic). Read more...

Spokesperson: Mariana Igoillo Esteve, ULB Center for Diabetes Research, Faculty of Medicine

EXPLORE: Contribution of gEnome-wide eXPression profiLes tO the Risk of hEpatocellular carcinoma

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most frequent form of liver cancer, and the third cause of cancer deaths worldwide. It occurs especially often in patients suffering from liver diseases related, for instance, to alcohol, diabetes and excess weight. HCC is particularly resistant to therapeutic intervention. Read more...

Spokesperson: Eric Treppo, Laboratory of Experimental Gastroenterology, Faculty of Medicine

Immune-Mediated Mechanisms driving brain repair and regeneration

The central nervous system (CNS) includes the brain and the spinal cord. Its immune functions are fulfilled by microglial cells, which are a specific population of macrophages. These cells have multiple roles related to physiology and pathology. Read more...

Spokesperson: Valérie Wittamer, IRIBHM, Faculty of Medicine

OPSTAT: Measure-characterising linear OPerators with applications to asymptotic analysis and STATistical inference

This project’s goal is to develop tools that can estimate the ‘dissimilarity’ between various probability distributions. This type of problem occurs in particular in the context of applications of the well-known central limit theorem, Read more...

Spokesperson: Yvik Swan, Probability and Statistics unit, Faculty of Sciences

Defending democracy: resistance strategies against autocratization attempts

Changes in political regimes towards autocracy are at the forefront of the news today. With an alarming increase in autocratic tendencies across the world, the scientific debate in the field of political regime studies had recently put on its agenda an analysis of the opposite process to democratization, known as autocratization. Read more...

Spokesperson: Luca Tomini, Cevipol, Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences

SUPERNET: Firm Heterogeneity, Superstar Firms and Production Networks

This research agenda studies the existence and evolution of superstar firms in global and local value chains and production networks. Recent decades have reinforced the widespread existence of superstar firms. Read more...

Spokesperson: Glenn Magerman, ECARES, Faculty Solvay Brussels School of economics and Management

Cosmology tests of Particle physics models

Some 95% of our universe is made up of forms of matter and energy whose exact nature we still do not know. In particular, many sources of cosmological data lead us to conclude that 80% of the universe’s matter is dark matter. Read more...

Spokesperson: Laura Lopez Honorez, service de Physique théorique, Faculty of Sciences

Assessing Intellectual Property Relevant Similarities In Images Through Algorithmic Decision Systems

The question of whether there are similarities between two given objects is a central one in the field of intellectual property (IP) rights. The answer is an extremely complex one, better left to IP offices and judges—through administrative and legal procedures, respectively—, who do not have proper analysis tools. Read more...

Spokesperson: Julien Cabay, Centre de Droit privé, Faculty of Law and Criminology

ARC "Advanced" 2020-2025

Noise sensitivity of gene regulatory networks underlying cell fate specification

During the embryo’s development, cells divide and specify into different cell types that will form, starting from a single cell, all the tissue and organs of the adult individual. This specification is governed by gene regulatory networks, which control the expression of key proteins that characterize a given cell type. Read more...

Spokesperson: Geneviève Dupont, Unit of Theoretical Chronobiology, Faculty of Sciences

The ‘Ammonium’ nutrient and toxic waste: molecular analysis of transmembrane transport and impact on growth and differentiation’

Bacteria, fungi, and plants import ammonium as a major source of nitrogen; by contrast, in animals, this compound is known for its role in pH homoeostasis and for being toxic when it accumulates. Read more...

Spokesperson: Anna Maria Marini, IBMM, Faculty of Sciences

HERICOL: Héritages coloniaux en Belgique: universités, mobilisations et contre-mobilisations

Since the 1990, new forms of discourse and mobilization have emerged to question Belgium’s colonial past and postcolonial present. Various social players—journalists, researchers, archivists, community activists, artists, members of the African diaspora, former colonists and their descendants, national and political players, etc.—have contributed to putting the issue of colonial legacy on the public agenda. Read more...

Spokesperson: Hajjat Abdellali, GERME, Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences

Why sculpture is not boring? Pour une histoire des techniques et pratiques de la sculpture à l’époque industrielle (1850-1914), basée sur l’étude d’après le modèle 3D

Charles Baudelaire’s Salon de 1846 included an article that is still famous today, entitled ‘Pourquoi la sculpture est ennuyeuse’ (‘Why sculpture is boring’), in which he highlights the public’s lack of interest in sculpture, a medium that remained too classical in the first half of the 19th century. Read more...

Spokesperson: Sébastien Clerbois, CReA-Patrimoine, Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences

Social rights in the European Union (1960-2020): from market to social citizenship and back?

Spokesperson: Amandine Crespy, Cevipol, Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences

GbO — Guaranteed by Optimization

This project’s goal is to advance the state of the art of optimization-based design in robotics. The researchers will develop and study an original method to automatically generate control software that guarantees a number of dynamic properties such as stability, constraint satisfaction, adaptability, and resilience. Read more...

Spokesperson: Mauro Birratari, IRIDIA, Brussels School of Engineering

ENLIGHTEN ME: Enabling with light, enzymes and metals - a global approach for the activation of carbon dioxide and methane

Carbon dioxide and methane are the two main greenhouse gases, and they are being released at dramatically increasing rates. This means there is an obvious and significant need to reduce emissions of these gases; transforming them into easily usable chemicals is one of the most attractive options for this. Read more...

Spokesperson: Gwilherm Evano, Service de Chimie et Physico-Chimie Organiques, Faculty of Sciences

Partial Differential Equations in interaction

This project focuses on the mathematical understanding of complex multiphysical systems involving interactions between fluid flows and structure movements, for instance blood flowing through an artery or wind pushing the blades of a wind turbine. Read more...

Spokesperson: Denis Bonheure, Département de mathématiques, Faculty of Sciences

From algebra to combinatorics and back

In this project, we will study several related questions in algebra and geometry, by merging of combinatorial and categorical techniques. In algebraic geometry, one studies so-called "algebraic spaces", which are geometric objects that are fully described by their associated “coordiante algebra”. Read more...

Spokesperson: Joost Vercruysse, Département de mathématiques, Faculty of Sciences

2018-2023 projects

ARC "Consolidator" 2018-2023

NuttI: Nutrient Factories under the Ice

Climate change is amplified in polar regions. As a result, ice sheets are currently experiencing record melting. While the physical consequences of this alarming retreat have been intensively studied, its biogeochemical dimension remains poorly understood. Read more.

Spokesperson: Sandra ARNDT, Biogeochemistry and Modelling of the Earth System (BGeOsys)

CODiFY: integration of mechanical cues in cardiac remodelling

Myocardial infarction and local cell death result in formation of a scar that is essential for mechanical reinforcement of the damaged heart wall. Read more.

Spokesperson: Nicolas BAEYENS, Physiology and Pharmacology Laboratory

Examining political congruence in a comparative perspective

The linkage between citizens and representatives is one of the most important topics in the study of democratic political systems. It is an even more important issue in the current context of democratic malaise in Europe and elsewhere. Read more.

Spokesperson: Nathalie Brack, Centre d'étude de la vie politique (CEVIPOL)

Learning new words: How does reading experience impact lexical storage in adults?

The aim of the project is to examine how orthographic representations of new words emerge in skilled readers. This question has been little investigated in adults, and most of the time with laboratory experimental designs very different from what happens in daily life. Read more.

Spokesperson: Fabienne Chetail, Laboratoire Cognition Langage & Development (CRCN)

IMpaCT: Integrated Mechatronics for Active vibration ConTrol

High precision instrument require active control in order to operate properly, and reduce their sensitivity to external disturbances. For example, gravitational wave detector and large particle colliders require a strong isolation from ground motion. Read more.

Spokesperson: Christophe Collette, BEAMS

Belgian-Vietnamese and Belgian-Laotian couples in focus

The increasing heterogeneity in ethnic, socio-cultural and politico-legal terms of Europe-Southeast Asia social spaces poses challenges to ‘mixed’ couples with differing nationalities and/or ethnicities to form and ‘do’ family. Read more.

Spokesperson: Asuncion FRESNOZA-FLOT, Laboratory of Anthropology of Contemporary Worlds

The role of protein tyrosine phosphatases in metabolic diseases

Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) constitute a superfamily of enzymes that act on tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins. The ULB Center for Diabetes Research has shown that PTPs play a role in pathological conditions such as obesity and inflammation. Read more.

Spokesperson: Esteban Gurzov, ULB Center for Diabetes Research

Quantum Physics and Information with Indefinite Causal Structure

One of the most deeply rooted ideas in science and in everyday life is that events take place ordered in time, with present events being caused by events in the past and in turn acting as causes for events in the future. Read more.

Spokesperson: Ognyan Oreshkov, Centre for Quantum Information and Communication

21st Century Trade Policy

New proposed trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) or the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) go beyond traditional liberalization efforts. Read more.

Spokesperson: Mathieu Parenti, European Centre for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES)

ARC "Advanced" 2018-2023

The role of key epigenetic regulators during cancer development

The genetic landscape of many human cancers demonstrates the high frequency of mutations in epigenetic regulators. Read more.

Spokesperson: Cédric Blanpain, Laboratory of Stem Cells and Cancer

Impact of marriage market dynamics on household decisions’

Family economics is an exciting and growing field in economics, which allows for addressing a variety of relevant questions on what happens within households. Read more.

Spokesperson: Bram De Rock, European Centre for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES)

Virtual Nervous Systems

Swarm intelligence is the discipline that deals with natural and artificial systems composed of many individuals that coordinate using decentralised control and self-organisation.  Read more.

Spokesperson: Marco Dorigo, IRIDIA

Shaping neonatal immunity by maternal administration of probiotics

The neonatal period is considered as a window of opportunity to shape innate and adaptive immunity that will influence life-long immunity. Read more.

Spokesperson: Véronique Flamand, Institute for Medical Immunology (IMI)

Soft-Matter under Dissipative Conditions

Equilibrium thermodynamics remains the dominant framework in chemistry and physics, notably in the field of materials science. The project “SADI” intends to radically deviate from the mainstream of customary research and address the application. Read more.

Spokesperson: Yves Geerts, Laboratory of Polymer Chemistry

The Socio-Cognitive Impact of Literacy

Many researches have shown that individual differences in cognitive processes or knowledge bases predict academic achievement, in particular literacy (reading-writing). Read more.

Spokesperson: Régine Kolinsky, Research Unit in Cognitive Neurosciences (Unescog)

Untangling the multiple categorizations of migrants

The prohibition of discrimination starts from the presumption that certain grounds, such as race, religious belief or gender, constitute irrelevant reasons for decision-making or for allocating important social goods. Read more.

Spokesperson: Laurent Licata, Center for Social and Cultural Psychology (CeSCuP)

Robust and Efficient Solutions to the "Big Data" Challenge

The present "Big Data" era is characterized by the sheer amount and variety of available information. Statisticians and data scientists are challenged to deal with high-dimensional data, complicated dependence structures. Read more.

Spokesperson: Davy Paindaveine, European Centre for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) and Department of Mathematics

Single-cell analysis of bacterial persistence

Persistence is a phenotypic switch enabling individual bacterial cells to tolerate antibiotics. This reversible phenomenon occurs at very low frequency in bacterial populations, making observation and analysis of persister cells quite challenging. Read more.

Spokesperson: Laurence Van Melderen, Cellular and Molecular Microbiology Laboratory

2016-2021 Projects

ARC "Consolidator" 2016-2021

Designing supramolecular interactions using reactive complexes

A big challenge in Material Science is to unravel general schemes for the rational design of ’smart’ functional materials, whose optical, electronic or molecular properties, among others, can be tailored to respond to specific external stimuli. Read more.

Spokesperson: MOGNETTI Bortolo Matteo, Physics of Complex Systems and Statistical Mechanics


Since storing data electronically is steadily becoming easier and cheaper, one is nowadays often collecting nearly continuous data records. Examples can be found in diverse fields, including environmental sciences. Read more.

Spokesperson: HÖRMANN Siegfried, Department of Mathematics

The Entropy Compression Method

Many computational problems of interest are difficult, in the sense that no efficient (polynomial time) algorithm solving them is known. This is for instance the case for the traveling salesman problem, who has to find a shortest circuit visiting a given set of cities: no fast algorithm has been found for this apparently simple problem when the number of cities is large. Read more.

Spokesperson: JORET Gwenaël, Department of Informatics

Characterization of foregut cancer initiation and development

Esophageal carcinomas (EsC) is currently the eighth most frequent cancer in the world, with approximately 450,000 new cancer cases annually worldwide. Due to its aggressive nature, this cancer is associated to a poor survival rate: only 5%-15% at five years. Read more.

Spokesperson: BECK Benjamin, IRIBHM, U-CRC

Assessment of Diet in Adolescents and Young Adults in Belgium

Katia Castetbon and researchers from The School of Public Health propose to develop an ambitious research program aiming at evaluating, over time, public health initiatives regarding diet in relation to social inequalities. Read more.

Spokesperson: CASTETBON Katia, Public Health School

Does sex restrain genome evolution?

In sexual animals, chromosomes are organised in pairs, allowing allelic recombination during meiosis. The asexual rotifer Adineta vaga is a microscopic species comprising only females that reproduce clonally, without meiosis Read more.

Spokesperson: FLOT Jean-François, Evolutionary Biology and Ecology

Molecular mechanisms of bacterial persistence

The spread of resistant bacteria is a major public health threat. Virtually all bacteria can produce phenotypic variants of actively dividing cells, known as "persisters", that are tolerant to most known antibiotic. Read more.

Spokesperson: GARCIA-PINO Abel, Laboratoire de Microbiologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire

Descriptions of rituals in Italy in the first millennium BC

A number of languages were spoken in Italy in the first millennium BC. With the exception of Latin and Greek, these languages are fragmentarily attested, mainly through quite short inscriptions. Read more.

Spokesperson: DUPRAZ Emmanuel, Literary, Philological and Textual Studies

Implementing language policy in urban heteroglossic schools

Many urban schools today welcome pupils from different linguistic origins who must nevertheless adapt to a monolingual school policy implemented by their teachers. Read more.

Spokesperson: JASPERS Jürgen, Center of research in linguistics LaDisco


ARC "Advanced" 2016-2021

Searches for a dark matter emitted neutrino signal

Dark matter (DM) is five times more abundant than ordinary matter in the Universe, but what it is made of remains obscure. The main question which is still open is : what is the nature of DM as particles? Read more.

Spokesperson: Thomas Hambye, Theoretical Physics.

Self-Organising circuits For Interconnected, Secure and Template computing (SOFIST)

Over the last 50 years, the CMOS technology allowed more and more efficient manufacturing of integrated circuits. This technology has now reached not only the physical limits, but also important economic barriers! Read more.

Spokesperson: Dragomir Milojevic, BEAMS.

Non-Zero Sum Game Graphs: Applications to Reactive Synthesis and Beyond

Reactive systems are computer systems that maintain a continuous interaction with the environment in which they operate. Such systems are nowadays part of our daily life: think about common yet critical applications like engine control units in automotive, plane autopilots, medical devices... Read more.

Spokesperson: Jean-François Raskin, Verification and formal methods.

AU-rich element (ARE)-mediated mRNA and the maintenance of skin and gut immune homeostasis

Epithelial barriers such as gut and skin are continuously exposed to environmental stimuli, including commensal and pathogenic microbes. It is essential for the host to control inflammatory processes. Read more.

Spokesperson: Stanislas Goriely, Institute for Medical Immunology

APOL1 - SRA interplay

For many years, the Molecular Parasitology Laboratory has been mainly devoted to the study of the mechanisms of adaptation of African trypanosomes, parasites that cause sleeping sickness in man and the nagana disease in cattle. Read more.

Spokesperson: David-Pérez-Morga, Molecular Parasitology Cell

Transcriptional mechanisms regulating HIV-1 post-integration latency

Antiretroviral multitherapy increases survival and quality of life of HIV-infected patients. However, interruption of therapy almost invariably leads to the re-emergence of detectable viral replication, since HIV persists in viral latent reservoirs. Read more.

Spokesperson: Carine Van Lint, Service of Molecular Virology

East Asian Youth: Identities and Practices in Public Spaces (GENEsYs)

East Asian societies have, over the past few decades, undergone dramatic demographic, economic, political and technological transitions. Particularly impacted by these transformations is the younger generation, which experiences differ greatly from earlier generations. Read more.

Spokesperson: Vanessa Frangville, Chinese studies.

Locals dealing with Developmental Incomes in West & Central Africa

This research proposal focuses on Development Incomes (DI), namely on financial amounts drawn from the exploitation of natural resources and allocated to riverine communities with a view to invest in sustainable development. Read more.

Spokesperson: Véronique Joiris, Center of Cultural Anthropology.

Why Lefort Matters : A Conceptual Genealogy of Contemporary Normative Issues

Claude Lefort (1924-2010) may be seen today as one of the leading political theorists of the late twentieth century. Yet the secondary literature on his output remains peculiarly sparse, especially outside the French-speaking world. Read more.

Spokesperson: Justine Lacroix, Centre for Political Theory

If you are a researcher at ULB and wish to submit an ARC application, please contact the Research Department:
Updated on September 14, 2020