About us

About us

A type-A public interest organisation (OIP) created in 1990, the Public Service Scientific Institute (Institut Scientifique de Service Public, ISSeP) is the worthy successor to the Mining Institute (1902), the National Institute of Coal Industries (INICHar-1947), and the National Institute of Extraction Industries (INUEx-1967). Consequently, it benefits from over 100 years of recognised research and expertise.

The Public Service Scientific Institute (Institut Scientifique de Service Public, ISSeP) is subject to the authority of the Walloon government, which holds the management powers therefor. Its operational ministry is the Ministry of the Environment.

It has a workforce of approx. 300 people distributed over two sites: Liège, where its head office is located, and Colfontaine.

The ISSeP exercises its scientific and technical activities in the environmental sector; it is also recognised as a reference laboratory in Wallonia.

Environmental metrology is of vital importance for understanding changes to the earth and its climate. The well-being and safety of future generations depends on the decisions made concerned environmental policies. To define the best actions, decision-makers, companies, and citizens must receive reliable and regular information. Thanks to its experience and efficiency in the environmental sector and in risk management, the ISSeP contributes to improving our environment.
The institute is organised around three main competencies:

Environmental metrology

The institute is responsible for numerous study programmes for characterising environments (air, water, soil, waste, sediment, non-ionising radiation) aiming to diagnose the chemical, physical, ecological, and sanitary status of these environments. In this context, it performs specific missions such as the use of Wallonia environmental networks via:

  • the monitoring of the quality of surface waters;
  • the monitoring of the quality of underground waters;
  • the monitoring of the quality of bathing waters;
  • the monitoring of the quality of pool waters;
  • the monitoring of the quality of the air;
  • the study and characterisation of emissions from industrial chimneys in Wallonia;
  • the continuous control of dioxin emissions from public waste incinerators;
  • the monitoring of landfill sites;
  • the characterisation of sediment from navigable and non-navigable waterways;

The evaluation and prevention of accidental and chronic risks

The institute evaluates and prevents the risks that economic activities have on humans and the environment in areas as varied as:

    • the consequences of the use of soil and subsoil in Wallonia;
    • technical support for the administration for the rehabilitation of derelict sites;
    • the restoration of architectural heritage;
    • the evaluation of material risks such as the inventory and analysis of asbestos and dangerous products;
    • control of the exposure to electromagnetic fields;
    • technical support for the implementation of global and coherent management of oil tanks;
    • analysis of risks for the population related to diffuse pollution;
    • standardisation and safety techniques in relation to industrial risks in places accessible to the public;
    • the evaluation of risks in explosive atmospheres and the analysis of the safety of household appliances;
    • energy audits and EPC certification;

Technological research and development.

The institute manages research programmes allowing it to keep its expertise at the forefront of scientific know-how.
The ISSeP’s research policy is managed so as to comply with the main requirements of the customer. These requirements relate to the maintenance of competitiveness, deployment and redeployment of activities, the desire to comply with various European directives, Walloon directives and the validation of new technologies.