Mission of the VLIZ
The VLIZ is an autonomous institute with the legal status of a non-profit organisation and has the following strategic objectives:
- Promoting Flemish marine scientific research.
- Serving as an international contact point in the marine scientific field.
- Promoting the international impact of Flemish marine scientific research.
- Promoting the visibility of Flemish marine scientific research to the public at large by means of popularisation and sensitisation.
- Providing scientific information on the sea to policy makers, whether or not upon request, so that they can use this information to develop their policy with regard to marine affairs.
To realise these strategic objectives the VLIZ gives priority to the following activities
Principles and preconditions:
- Supporting marine scientific research by making use of research vessel 'Simon Stevin' and other research equipment and infrastructure for common use. The VLIZ also contributes to the (inter)national planning, management and efficient use of marine research infrastructure.
- Managing and further developing the Flanders Marine Data and Information Centre (VMDC). The centre collects different kinds of data, implements international standards and distributes data in Belgium and abroad. Within this scope the centre processes and provides access to external data and collects its own data, whether or not on its own initiative. The VMDC is an integral part of international networks (IOC of UNESCO, OBIS, ESF Marine Board, MarinERA, EurOcean and other European networks) and contributes to the development of international standards for managing and exchanging data and information.
- Managing a multimedia centre that is developing a collection of marine scientific and coast-related literature and multimedia.
- Promoting a network of marine scientists and other persons concerned by offering a platform, organising meetings, congresses and conferences and releasing publications. A core task of the VLIZ is to map expertise in Flanders on a permanent basis and to present this expertise both in Belgium and abroad.
- Managing an information desk that provides objective scientific information to scientists and policymakers in Flanders and abroad as well as to teachers, students and interested citizens in Flanders. The information desk answers all questions and furthermore provides information of its own accord by responding to current events and promoting Flemish marine scientific research through exhibitions and open house days, through publications and the website and by organising and co-organising seminars, workshops and symposia.
- The VLIZ is an institute with a clearly scientific character, but does not undertake any research activities itself (to avoid competition with the research groups).
- The VLIZ has a multidisciplinary character and supports all marine research disciplines.
- The VLIZ supports marine scientific research in the broadest sense, which means that ‘sea’ not only refers to the open water and the sea bottom but also to all tidal and coastal systems.
- All areas where Flemish marine scientists are or were active are part of the field of activity of the VLIZ.
- The information provided by the VLIZ is scientifically founded (usually reference to experts or through consultation of the network of experts; great care is always taken to quote their input).
- The VLIZ promotes an integrated approach (integration of research disciplines, sectors, land-sea, international cooperation).
- The VLIZ is completely autonomous en neutral.
- The VLIZ departs from administrative openness and public consultation.
- The VLIZ promotes sustainability (the three pillars of sustainable management are environment, economy and social atmosphere).
Within its scope as supporting research infrastructure for marine sciences the VLIZ fulfils a special role. The cooperation with Belgian and foreign universities, research institutes and individual research groups will be further extended thanks to the conclusion of
A special task of the VLIZ is its responsibility for the accommodation and support of the IOC Project Office for IODE. This task means that the VLIZ accepts the project office as a close neighbour at the location of the fish auction hall of Oostende and that an annual amount of 500.000 EUR is spent on the support of training programmes for foreign students and experts in oceanographic data management, with special attention paid to the development and implementation of early warning systems for tsunamis and other coastal-related environmental disasters.