Flemish and Dutch ministers agree on collaborative research in the Scheldt Delta

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The Flemish and Dutch Ministers Crevits (FL) and Van Engelshoven (NL) discussed science and research policy at the Digital Flemish-Dutch Summit last Wednesday 4th November. This was an important topic on the agenda, considering the recent developments on both sides of the border. A new Delta Knowledge Centre for water, food and energy will be created in Vlissingen and Flanders is pushing forward with initiatives such as Marine[at]UGent, the inter-university platform for resource recovery CAPTURE and the Blue economy research campus on Ostend Science Park

At the 2018 Summit in Middelburg, Campus Zeeland and Ghent University signed a declaration of intent, together with the Ministers of Education in Flanders and the Netherlands and the Ministers of Mobility and Public Works and Infrastructure and Water Management. This declaration officially launched the development of the “Delta collaboration platform”. As a result of climate change, the Flemish-Dutch Delta region will have to adapt to a changing environment. The Delta platform will unite researchers, governmental bodies and stakeholders to develop climate-proof solutions which tackle major global challenges affecting the region in terms of:

  • The production of sustainable, safe and healthy food from the sea;
  • The sustainable production of renewable energy (offshore wind, tidal energy);
  • Optimal water management and water safety.

Much has been achieved since 2018. Ministers Crevits and Van Engelshoven noted with satisfaction the joint research agenda as agreed upon between all knowledge institutes involved. This research agenda focuses on three iconic projects:

  1. innovative flood defence landscapes,
  2. circular process industry with the North Sea Port Area as a pilot area
  3. sustainable development of offshore infrastructure.

According to the ministers these projects have an excellent fit with the further development of the Delta Knowledge Centre and various trajectories in Flanders.

The Ministers are committed to examine ways of implementing the proposals. They confirm the involvement of policy areas from Flanders and the Netherlands, which will be brought together with all relevant stakeholders and knowledge institutions at the initiative of UGent and Campus Zeeland.

The research director of Ghent University, Ignace Lemahieu, looks forward to further collaboration with Campus Zeeland and all parties in both Flanders and the Netherlands that can strengthen the knowledge infrastructure in the Delta region and can help develop a sustainable and robust future society.

More information about the Flemish-Dutch cooperation on Delta issues can be found here.

Several consortia have supported this effort and are looking forward to develop the plans with other stakeholders: