Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA)



RMCA is a leading multidisciplinary research institute and knowledge centre on the cultural and natural heritage in Africa, particularly in Central Africa. It develops interest and understanding for African heritage in the scientific communities and the public. The researchers carry out studies in the natural and urban environments, including historical-socio-economical aspects. Natural History manages about 10 million specimens of animals, 60,000 wood specimens, 16,000 minerals, 300,000 rocks and 21,500 fossils. The institution has about 1.2 km of archives of unique interest like the over 10,000 letters and photographs, 88 diaries and notes of the Henry Morton Stanley collection. Human Sciences collections count about 200 000 cultural objects, more than one million of photographs, 700 movies and more than 6000 hours of traditional music and Voice recordings and 8,000 musical instruments. The geological paper and digital maps collections contain 20,000 maps and 400,000 areal photographs. The MRAC maintains an  xtensive library, including 300 scientific journals and about 130,000 monographs and serials, of which many are unique collection of rare old colonial publications. Scientific staff masters ten languages; consequently, the library and reprints are unusually multilingual. 


RMCA is active in the organisation for Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG), the Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities, and collaborates in GTI (Global Taxonomy Initiative) capacity building activities with developing countries. It was and is involved in Biodiversity Informatics initiatives like GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility), ENBI (European Network of Biodiversity Information), EDIT (European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy), SYNTHESYS (Synthesis of Systematic Resources), FishBase, BHL-Europe (Biodiversity Heritage Library), STERNA (Semantic Web-based Thematic European Reference Network Application), EOL (Encyclopaedia of Life), CBOL (Consortium Barcode of Life), CABIN (Central African Biodiversity Information Facility) and LifeWatch (ESFRI). RMCA is particularly involved in Biogeography Spatial Data Infrastructure and taxonomy training initiatives in the above mentioned projects. MRCA is using the BioCASE services for data providing on Biogical Collections.


  • RMCA is deputy work package leader for WP2 and assisting the WP leadership
  • Main tasks are in the domain of data integration and interoperability
  • Task leadership in the organisation of the helpdesk and training activities
  • Coordinate the activities of the Associated Belgian partners RBINS and NBGB
  • Assist in other work packages to IT related tasks and web services
  • Networking and dissemination with various stakeholders and specifically liaise wit African Associated partners


WP 2 Data integration and interoperability WP 8 Dissemination and outreach


  • TDWG
  • Open UP!
  • AGORA 3D
  • RBZS
  • FishBase
  • UniversiTIC


Dr. Patricia Mergen 
  • Local coordinator and liaison for the EU BON project
  • Head of the Biodiversity Information and Cyber Taxonomy Services
  • Research interests: biodiversity information standards; numerical ecology and statistics
  • PhD was on distribution of fresh water fish in reservoir lakes
Dr. Larissa Smirnova 
  • Coordination of the helpdesk and training activities for EU BON and follow up of Belgian activities
  • Experienced in digitalisation projects (BHL-Europe, OpenUp!, etc.) and organisation of trainings in SYNTHESYS and CABIN
  • Research interest: background and PhD in Geology
Franck Theeten 
  • IT specialists who will contribute to the project
  • Experienced in databasing, web services, GIS and data providing systems used in GBIF such as BioCASE and IPT tool
  • Research Interests: follows state of the art of many IT technologies and has also a degree in Philosophy



Photo: Jo Van de Vijver, © RMCA

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flag big This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 308454.