Wetenschappelijk Instituut Volksgezondheid - L’Institut Scientifique de Santé Publique - EPIET

acknowledged by EPIET available for next EPIET cohort
Wetenschappelijk Instituut Volksgezondheid - L’Institut Scientifique de Santé Publique (WIV-ISP)
Juliette Wytsmanstreet 14
BE-1050 Brussels

Available as a training site for Cohort 2018: YES

Contact Person:

Els Duysburgh

Wetenschappelijk Instituut Volksgezondheid - L’Institut Scientifique de Santé Publique (WIV-ISP)
Juliette Wytsmanstreet 14

Healthcare-associated infections & antimicrobial resistance
BE-1050 Brussels

Tel. + 32 2 642 57 44


Description of the institute

The WIV-ISP is the scientific institute for public health of the federal Belgian State (staff of more than 700 people, half of them with an academic degree). Our main mission is scientific research to support health policy.

We formulate recommendations and solutions for health policy at the Belgian, European and international level.

We assess the status of health and health indicators on the basis of scientific methods, which we approve, develop and analyse within a certified quality framework. We develop advanced solutions for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of current and emerging diseases, as well as the identification and prevention of health risks, including those resulting from the environment.


Major activities of the WIV-ISP are:


  • Surveillance of communicable and non-communicable diseases
  • Analysis of health data
  • National reference centres/laboratories for a number of microbiological agents
  • Control of federal product norms (e.g. food, pharmaceuticals, vaccines)
  • Risk assessment (e.g. chemical products, genetically modified organisms)
  • Environment and health
  • Management of biological resources (collections of strains of microorganisms)
  • National and international representation of the Belgian health authorities
    The WIV-ISP is in the process of merging with the national institute for animal health (CODA-CERVA). In the nearby future, our new institute will cover the entire chain from animal health, food safety to human disease, following the ‘One Health’ vision. Aside from the Federal Ministry of Public Health, we collaborates closely with the regional health departments of the three communities (Flemish, French, German-speaking) and the Brussels region, which are responsible to implement prevention campaigns and field interventions, including outbreak control.
    The Operational Directorate Public Health and Surveillance counts about 80 people. We conduct surveillance on communicable and chronic diseases, population surveys, preparedness plans, epidemiological support to public health crisis, analysis of health data, health service research and assessment of environmental health risks. We are  involved in several ECDC activities and programmes.

Training opportunities

The trainee will be based in the Operational Directorate Public Health and Surveillance and will be fully integrated in one of the teams belonging to this directorate. He/She will be able to gain experience in different areas of communicable disease epidemiology through involvement in the following projects:

  • Surveillance of infectious disease, 
  • Surveillance of health care associated infections and microbiological resistance,
  • Evaluation of impact of infectious diseases and impact of preventive measures,
  • Risk assessment, preparedness plans and outbreak investigations

    The trainee will have access to all relevant information and databases.

    Training at a regional health department as well as at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), Antwerp, is possible in order to offer the opportunity to work on more specific activities e.g.  outbreak investigation, teaching tasks and research projects,  including missions abroad. The regional health authorities and  ITM cooperation also offer the possibility for a trainee to spend some days at their offices to get familiar with the team, the work and their way of working.

    Through collaboration with these institutions and units of our institute, the trainee may be involved in following projects or activities:

  • Outbreak investigations
  • Developing new components for existing surveillance systems
  • Evaluation of surveillance systems
  • Conducting time series analysis and developing early warning tools
  • Developing research projects on a relevant public health issue (e.g. healthcare-associated infections)
  • Participate in international surveillance networks and studies
  • All necessary support, including up-to-date computer equipment, communication and library facilities are available.

Training supervision

The EPIET fellow will be supervised by the main supervisor (Els Duysburgh) and co-supervisors (Javiera Rebolledo and Amber Litzroth) but also by other senior experts of the department. Depending of the project  a trained epidemiologist will always supervise the trainee who will work as a member of a team. A statistician is available for technical support.

Language requirements

Most activities can be performed in English. Conversational ability in either French or Dutch is an added value especially to be able to be involved in outbreak investigations or research with national partners.

Training history

Number of EPIET fellows trained at institute: Ten (1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016)
Number of EPIET alumni working at institute: Two