VLIZ and FMC hold Marine Science meets Maritime Industry event on innovation | Compendium Coast and Sea

VLIZ and FMC hold Marine Science meets Maritime Industry event on innovation

At the InnovOcean site in Ostend, VLIZ and FMC held their fourth edition of Marine Science meets Maritime Industry. As is customary, it provided an excellent opportunity for marine/maritime scientists and Belgian maritime companies and entrepreneurs to get to know each other better. The theme throughout this edition were the challenges, successes and opportunities presented by the blue innovation landscape.

The event was kicked off by Mr. Eric Van den Eede (chairman FMC) and Mrs. Tina Mertens (deputy director of VLIZ), who explained the role of both organizations within the blue innovation landscape. This was followed by a first inspiring presentation by Mr. Piet Verhoeve (Hangar K) who, with his strong plea for cooperation and the potential of rapid 'switching' as the key to successful innovation, set a stimulating tone for the rest of the meeting. This message, of being willing to get to know each other and to have the courage for an open-mind approach from both the scientific world and the business world was concretized in a series of interesting pitch presentations that demonstrated some of the great achievements when scientific knowledge and industrial know how are combined. The pitch presentations followed upon an interesting presentation on state support by Caroline Buts (VUB).

After a short break, Mrs. Caroline Ven (the Blue Cluster) discussed how innovation and entrepreneurship can be a source of prosperity. She highlighted that prosperity does not necessarily guarantee well-being, and that the right breeding ground must be provided for this. Mrs. Ven pointed to the human urge for innovation as a tool to enable this creation of well-being. In other words, a fertile climate for innovation can prove highly beneficial. Applied to the marine ecosystem and the Belgian situation, she emphasized the importance of an ecosystem approach in this respect. By working together with the ecosystems in a limited space, we can create win-win situations when we cleverly combine and apply ecosystem services, according Ven. Concrete examples are the combination of aquaculture and offshore wind energy production and coastal defense with water purification. The speakers' section was concluded by Mr. Jozef Ghijselen (Vlaio), who once again emphasized the importance of cooperation in creating growth through innovation and the fact that the government stands positive to financial support of more and better innovative business ideas.

After the speakers' section, an extensive speed dating session gave further opportunity to exchange innovative ideas and explore potential collaborations between scientists and entrepreneurs.

The Compendium for the Coast and Sea also made its appearance at Marine Science Meets Maritime Industry. Those present at the event were able to participate in the current user survey and results from the Compendium were also used to highlight the strong position of marine research in Belgium.

A next edition of HSMMI is planned for 2019.

(c) picture: Randy Glasbergen / glasbergen.com