Research units


Astrobiology combines multidisciplinary approaches to study the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe, including the Earth, the only biological planet known so far. The ASTROBIOLOGY Research Unit studies the habitability of rocky planets and the detection and characterization of biosignatures, from early life traces and evolution on the early Earth, to the detection of possible extraterrestrial biosignatures in the solar system and in potentially habitable exoplanets.

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FOCUS (Freshwater and OCeanic science Unit of reSearch) is a research unit which integrates fundamental and applied research in the aquatic domain. Its general theme is to carry out studies on the characterisation, understanding and modelling of the physical environment of aquatic ecosystems to maintain and/or restore their good environmental status and promote the goods and services provided by these ecosystems to businesses. In particular, the goal is to understand the dynamics of the ocean and inland waters and the interactions between organisms and their habitat.



The research unit brings together expertise in several specific research topics covering most aspects of the field of geology: planetary processes internal to external planetary processes, from the nano-scale to the macroscopic scale, from very deep layers to the modern era, and even beyond the Earth. The six existing research laboratories included in the unit propose to develop existing and new interdisciplinary research on four priority research themes within the unit: the evolution of the Earth and life, terrestrial materials, Earth processes and planetary geology.



The interdisciplinary research unit SPHERES, which covers both the exact, applied, social and economic sciences, seeks to research the different spheres that make up the Earth: the atmosphere (climate, composition, traffic, ambient air), the hydrosphere (rivers, the polar cap, aquifer), the biosphere (biocenosis, ecosystem, agriculture, biodiversity), the geosphere (geomorphology, geo-risk, surface processes), the technosphere (geomatics, satellite positioning, remote sensing, smart cities, energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable construction) and the anthroposphere (habitat, territory, economic geography, governance and citizen participation). The SPHERES unit has a threefold mission: to study their operation and interaction on the fundamental and applied levels, to consider the dynamic relationship between humankind and its environment and to contribute to the sustainable and intelligent development of Society.



The research activities of the Urban and Environmental Engineering Research Unit are all related to urban and environmental engineering. They are structured around 4 interrelated axes, based on a dynamic understanding of the urban environment. These 4 axes are transversal to the department and to the different sectors that make it up: Design of buildings, structures and transport networks, Materials and effective management of resources, Risk and environmental engineering, human activities and built environment.

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Facilities and equipment


Research at the University of Liège on fish and the aquatic environment dates back to the middle of the 19th century, the creation of the public aquarium to the early 1960s, followed by the creation of the marine research station STARESO (Corsica) and the research and training centre in aquaculture, which launched fundamental and applied research in several fields belonging to ichthyology and marine biology: eco-ethology, morphology, biochemistry, physiology, embryology, eco-toxicology, virology and genetics. In an attempt to increasingly unite their expertise around the international research and education station of Tihange and one of the most representative showcases - the Aquarium-Museum of Zoology museums - the fish laboratories have joined a single official operational structure. In that respect, in its December 2012 meeting, the Board of Directors of the University of Liège ratified the creation of a thematic entity for fundamental and applied research on fish, AFFISH-RC.



This research platform, which depends on the TERRA research unit (Gembloux), promotes projects that consider agroecosystems as entities and stimulates the development of tools, techniques and knowledge to improve the overall performance of agroecosystems in terms of ecosystemic services.


CART - Center for Analytical Research and Technology

The CART's mission is to develop new concepts in analytical chemistry and data analysis, to lead research in the field of organic and inorganic compound analysis in foodstuffs, in animal products and in other biological and environmental materials, to carry out, on behalf of third parties, studies and analyses on organic and inorganic pollutants in foodstuffs, in animal products and in other biological and environmental materials, and to lead research on the effects of compounds and on their interactions with biological systems.


CARE - Forest is life

The CARE Forest is life aims to study forest ecosystems and, more generally, landscape structures with a low degree of anthropisation, whether in temperate or tropical regions.




The ICOS project (European infrastructure project) has as objectives, among others, to establish an integrated infrastructure of longer-term observation of CO2 and greenhouse gases on a global scale, and to determine the flow of these gases from observations and to link them to emissions processes. In Wallonia, the ICOS project includes three ground-based observatories in which will be carried out continuous measurements of these gases between ecosystems and the atmosphere, including one on the Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech campus. The measurements taken will allow for a monitoring of the dynamics of these flows on a daily, seasonal and interannual scale. In addition to CO2, other gases (water vapour, methane, ozone, volatile organic compounds, nitrous oxide, isotopic compounds) can be studied.



The University of Liège's Submarine and Oceanographic Research Station is located in the Mediterranean Sea. It is situated at the tip of Revellata, in Calvi, Corsica.

For more than 45 years, STARESO develops and welcomes numerous thematic marine and terrestrial research through national, international, and multi-disciplinary projects.

Among them, studies in biodiversity, structure and functioning of benthic and pelagic ecosystems on various scales of space and time, the study of temporal evolution of primary producers (planktons, algae, seagrass...) for the last half a century in relation to climate variations, the characterisation and prediction of responses by the marine system to climate variations and anthropic disturbances with a view to better managing the coastal environment, the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycle, and the continuum between continental and oceanic waters.



STARESO: A unique research station

For 50 years now, STARESO - the oceanographic research station of the University of Liège - has offered a unique environment conducive to research and teaching.

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updated on 4/4/24

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