On Wednesday 13th September 2017, Belgium’s Vias institute and the Dutch Institute for Technology, Safety & Security (DITSS) signed a collaborative agreement to guarantee the long-term exchange of knowledge on safety. The signature of this agreement was scheduled symbolically to coincide with the same day that the Belgian Institute for Road Safety (BIRS) announced that it was expanding its knowledge and expertise in the area of road safety to include both mobility and public safety. This new scope and ambition of BIRS are also reflected in a new name for the organisation: the BIRS will from now on operate under the name of Vias institute.

The social challenges in the area of safety are significant ones, but at the moment, knowledge about safety as a whole is very fragmented between various government departments, research institutions and private partners. The aim of the new Vias institute is to bring this wealth of information together and make it available as a centre of expertise focusing on creating a safer society and environment. In addition to their own research and awareness campaigns, the new scope created by the collaborative agreement between Vias institute and DITSS will also contribute towards forging intensive new cooperative links. This new Belgian-Dutch network provides an excellent first example of what the future holds.

This agreement means that two leading research institutions from Belgium and the Netherlands will be combining their strengths to achieve innovative solutions for the challenges facing both countries. This collaboration also enhances the international image of our region.

- Arne Dormaels, Research manager Security and Innovation

Just like Vias institute, DITSS is a non-profit organisation that plays an initiating role in technological and social innovations in safety. This cross-border collaboration delivers additional opportunities for introducing new ideas and programmes successfully, while enabling us to learn from each other’s knowledge and qualities. I am confident that this will result in a safer environment.

- Jan Otten, Strategic Advisor DITTS