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2015 was once again a great year for the GIGA Research Center as exemplified by its considerable number of publications in high profile journals,

patents, defended PhD thesis, seminars and number of external visitors. Despite the increasing difficulty to secure research grants in Wallonia, the

GIGA PIs have conducted remarkable scientific activities and they must be congratulated and supported in their continued efforts to pursue scientific

excellence. I sincerely hope that these difficult times will soon be over because our society, which is based on scientific and technological advances,

is in urgent need of competent and innovative young scientists. Spoiling such a potential is just not in our best interest.

Last year, the Walloon region informed us that our Feder grant application would be supported. This news came as a huge relief to the scientists and

technicians working in the technology platforms and animal facilities. For the next five years this grant will support key services for the GIGA research

community, the ULG researchers and our external customers. This major accomplishment is credited to the incredible joint effort of Catherine Sadzot

and Christina Franssen, which was supported by the entire GIGA administration and financial teams. We should all commend them for the count-

less hours spent in preparing the application and negotiating with the Walloon administration. Without well-supported technology platforms and

animal facilities, the future of the GIGA research center would definitely be very dark. It should also be mentioned that the Feder grant application was

prepared with significant input from Eric Salmon and André Luxen from the Cyclotron Research center (CRC). This collaborative effort led us to

negotiate a possible integration of the CRC research team and technologies into the GIGA, which was subsequently accomplished in the beginning

of 2016. We are now very proud to have the GIGA-CRC in vivo imaging as a new thematic unit.

2015 was also my last year of service as Director of GIGA-Research, which I used as an opportunity to review the activities and future prospects

of the eight thematic units of the center. Together with the PIs and the directors, we reached the conclusion that some changes were needed. The

GIGA-Development and GIGA-Systems Biology thematic units were reorganized; and the GIGA-In silico Medicine unit was created. In addition, we

welcomed the arrival of the COMA group in the GIGA. All these changes were done in the frame of a new vision for the GIGA research into the ULg

research landscape that was prepared by our new vice-rector for research. I am convinced that these changes in the GIGA structure will reinforce its

recognition as a biomedical research flagship of the University of Liège.

Therefore, having served as GIGA-Research director for the past nine years, I am very proud of the outstanding development of the research center

and its facilities. The GIGA has secured a leadership role in the field of biomedical research and I am convinced that Michel Georges, who was elected

to be its new Director from 2016, will be the needed propelling force to drive the GIGA to an even brighter future.

Jacques Piette

Vice-Director GIGA-Research

«I am convinced that

these changes in the GIGA

structure will reinforce its

recognition as a

biomedical research

flagship of the University

of Liège»