The Belgian Climate Centre paid a visit to VLIZ (the Flanders Marine Institute) to meet the institute's scientists, address the topics of climate, biodiversity, technology & innovation, and talk about future collaborations.
VLIZ wants to strengthen science-based knowledge about our coasts, seas and ocean, and share this information as widely as possible. It therefore uses new technologies, such as robotics, and focuses on innovation and valorisation. Research areas include the ocean and seas, coasts and tidal systems as well as all areas where Flemish marine scientists are or were active. Supporting research was one of the first tasks of VLIZ. This is done by providing access to maritime knowledge, marine data or specialised research infrastructure. The marine research capacity in our country is quite large: 1,600 researchers and specialised personnel in 23 research disciplines. 600 to 900 Belgian marine peer-reviewed publications appear annually. Most research is conducted outside the borders of the North Sea and in collaboration with foreign researchers. In recent years, VLIZ has developed a diverse portfolio of innovation projects with companies. These range from strategic basic research, projects in which VLIZ acts as a research partner to European projects. In addition, the institute invests in bilateral contacts with companies. VLIZ has an ongoing collaboration in projects with some 70 companies based in Flanders and Belgium.
Furthermore, VLIZ aims to valorise marine research towards marine and coastal policy. The organisation invests in scientific knowledge building on policy-relevant themes that can be taken up by the marine research community. In this way, the institution wants to contribute to a sustainable and scientifically underpinned policy for marine and coastal areas.
Finally, ocean-related information is shared with the general public. In line with the Flemish Government's science communication policy, VLIZ promotes Flemish marine scientific research through exhibitions, public days, publications, educational teaching materials, lectures, study days, workshops and symposiums.