VLIZ – Flanders Marine Institute



VLIZ serves as the primary hub for marine and coastal research in Flanders. Its mission is to advance science-based comprehension of our coasts, seas, and oceans, disseminating knowledge widely and collaboratively within the entire quadruple helix. Established in 1999 to strengthen the Flemish marine science community, VLIZ has experienced substantial growth and expansion. In 2017, it established a dedicated research department, followed by the inauguration of the Marine Robotics Centre in 2018.

Located in Ostend, VLIZ houses a team of >180 professionals, including researchers, marine technicians, engineers, and dedicated support staff. It shares the Innovocean Campus with   regional, national and international organizations in marine science, contributing to the local knowledge hub. The Marine Station Ostend, situated directly on the North Sea Coast with its own scientific harbour, provides laboratories and research spaces. VLIZ's research vessel, Simon Stevin, conducts multidisciplinary research in the Southern Bight of the North Sea and the eastern part of the English Channel. 

Operating as a national and international focal point, VLIZ's Marine Data Centre offers high-quality and reliable marine and estuarine data, along with services, technologies, tools, training, and support to various stakeholders. Long-term observations conducted by VLIZ  Marine Observation Centre enhance understanding of marine biodiversity and coastal ecosystem dynamics, utilizing bio-sensors and multidisciplinary measurement campaigns.  VLIZ researchers possess extensive expertise and a proven track record in advanced geophysical observations, including the detection and management of dumped and buried munitions. The VLIZ Marine Robotics Centre (MRC) leads in Marine Autonomous Systems (MAS), facilitating comprehensive observations in remote ocean environments. Equipped with a state-of-the-art Marine Robotics Lab, the MRC manages robotic platforms for use by the marine research and innovation community. 

Within the MCM lab context, VLIZ primary focus is on dual use topics related to data management, marine observation, and marine robotics, along with research expertise in geophysical and toxicological aspects associated with the detection and management of dumped and buried munitions.


Proven sectors of activity:

  • Development and deployment of innovative marine observation technologies, for example in detailed subbottom profiling and underwater sounds, as well as smart mooring solutions. 
  • IOC recognized Data Centre, for data management, including full pipeline from offshore observation to dashboard and extensive oceanographic data sets. 
  • Expertise on the Policy-Science interface, e.g. management of dumped munitions, unmanned shipping. 
  • Marine Robotics: expertise in planning, deploying and processing unmanned (scientific) surveys in challenging, both with gliders, AUV, USV and fixed stations. 


VLIZ website: https://www.vliz.be/en