A bright autumn for marine developments at the North Sea | Compendium Coast and Sea

A bright autumn for marine developments at the North Sea

On 29 October, the Government of Flanders approved the Policy Brief on Work, Economy, Science and Innovation. An additional 280 million euros were made available for Research and Development, bringing the total of resources to 1.608 billion euros. The highest figure to date. This strong financial impulse also creates opportunities for the Belgian marine-maritime sector.

On the same day positive news came in from the European Commission. During the Our Ocean conference in Bali, the Commission announced that 300 million euros of extra funds will be made available to tackle plastic pollution, to make the blue economy more sustainable and to improve marine research and monitoring of marine activities. This contribution comes on top of the €550 million pledged last year at the Our Ocean conference in Malta. These funds are spread across 23 commitments. In concrete terms, 100 million euros will go to R&D projects on plastic pollution and 82 million euros for marine and maritime research, such as ecosystem assessments, mapping of the seabed and innovative aquaculture systems.

On 5 November, during the fourth Flemish-Dutch summit in Middelburg, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the University of Ghent and Campus Zeeland with regard to strengthening cooperation in the field of major societal challenges such as climate change. The aim of this new platform is to connect the knowledge available inside and outside the region through joint programming and research into sea level rise, salinisation, drought periods and their influence on nature, safety and prosperity. The platform will consist of educational institutions, researchers as well as entrepreneurs inside and outside the Flemish-Dutch Delta. By coordinating a joint research and education programme, one hopes to achieve good results that can also stimulate business activity.