Scientific committee
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The University & the city

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Aquaculture - Perch


Namur (Belgium) 23 - 24 January 2008

The University and the City

Namur, a regional capital of capital importance.

Since 11 December 1986, Namur has been the capital of Wallonia and of its 3.3 million inhabitants, in the heart of Europe of Regions. The Walloon Government set up its ministerial offices on the banks of the river and the Parliament has been established just opposite, on that confluence of the Sambre and Meuse rivers which has been attracting human settlements since Prehistoric times.

Since Prehistoric times, men have been eyeing the confluence site, the Grognon, where the Walloon Parliament today holds its sessions.

There has been a succession of building and renovation work, over the past years, to make room for 3,500 officials working in Namur without spoiling the centre or creating an administrative ghetto for all that.The city has bet and won: Namur today has changed its face without losing its smile. Captivated by its charm, the regional authorities opted for the renovation of old buildings whenever it was possible.

Mansion houses, a former convent, a medieval hospital or abandoned industrial mills: so much evidence of the past that a rejuvenating treatment has harnessed once again to the future.

While all that was going on, the citizens of Namur have inherited new squares, redesigned boulevards, remodelled city gates, newly laid out walkways along the riverbanks. Before the very eyes of the Walloons, Namur has become to look attractive. It has increased its pedestrian area, welcomed businesses with quality as their target, developed its cultural life, found the lights to highlight its lines.

Yet Namur is not a showcase merely to be admired as you go by. Drawing strength from its quality environment, it also wants to take up the challenges of housing, mobility and accessibility which will avoid it being deserted like so many urban centres in Europe.

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The University of Namur (FUNDP)

The Jesuits first established at Namur in 1610. In 1831 they set up Notre-Dame de la Paix University, one of the largest Jesuit universities in Europe today, member of the International Federation of Catholic Universities.

It is based on the Belgian model of University training which combines instruction and research to ensure that University plays its full role in society.

University studies remain the area most favouring the transmission and creation of knowledge. In Namur these studies are organized within six faculties. Those of Law, Medicine and Arts provide basic training for a period of two or three years and devote their efforts to ensuring maximum chances of success in the subsequent years of undergraduate study when the student transfers to another university. In the three other faculties - Informatics, Science and Economic, Social Sciences & Business Administration - a full programme leading to a first degree is provided.
Each of the six faculties offers postgraduate or doctoral programmes in specific areas that are closely linked to the up-to-date research that is being carried out there.

Conventional or special means are made available to promote success : preparatory summer courses, work in small groups, regular testing, appropriate levels of language teaching, an educational service, teacher/student contact sessions, etc. Two hundred academics and as many assistant scientific staff are thus at the disposal of the four thousand students at the university.Scientific research brings joy and renown to a university.

Those who practise it have the impression of being closely involved in the progress of the whole of humanity. Moreover, when they come from their laboratories, their libraries or their archeological excavations, researchers bring with them the enthusiasm that their profession requires and thereby enrich their teaching. They also know how uncertain knowledge can be and how questionable the methods employed : this necessarily transforms their teaching, even at the basic level.

In the six faculties, research thus has priority status. It is present in the most varied domains : information technology, physics and chemistry of interfacial materials, economics and development, financial management, biotechnology, ecotechnology, philosophical and sociological analysis of scientific practices, etc. Fundamental research, in particular, can also be oriented towards specific applications especially when it is carried out in partnership with private companies or public regional, federal or supranational institutions.

The Unit of Organismic Biology

The Research Unit of Organismic Biology (URBO) develops fundamental and applied research related to freshwater ecology, comparative physiology, biochemistry, and aquaculture since the early 80’s.
The research unit currently has a staff of 4 academics, 20 research scientists and 6 technicians.

Within this unit, the fish physiology and aquaculture team has gained a wide expertise in the assessment of nutritional status of freshwater fish reared under various conditions of feeding, both at the larval and juvenile stages.

The research team has been and is currently involved in several research projects in aquaculture, at the regional, national or European levels (FAIR-96-1572, FAIR-98-9241, QoL-lucioperca), as co-ordinator or research partner, with a special emphasis on feeding and nutrition of percid fishes.

URBO has at its disposal all research facilities and analytical equipment to conduct nutrition experiments in recirculating systems and biochemical analysis of fish and feeds.