The Flanders Marine Institute is the coordination and information platform for marine and coastal research in Flanders. It also promotes and supports the international image of Flemish marine scientific research and international marine education as a partner in various projects and networks.
The Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) is an autonomous institute with the legal status of a non-profit organisation under Belgian law that receives an annual allowance from the Government of Flanders, in particular from the department of Economy, Science and Innovation (EWI), and from the province of West Flanders.
The highest ruling organ of VLIZ is the General Assembly. The organisation is administered by a Board of Directors, and its daily operations are overseen by the General Director, assisted by the Coordination division. A permanent team of scientists in the Scientific Committee, which advises the Board of Directors on all scientific aspects of the VLIZ operations, is consulted several times a year to define and adjust its scientific support tasks. This committee consists of three interconnected and mutually reinforcing components. The Scientific Board is a compact steering committee giving high-quality and scientifically sound advice to the Board of Directors. The Guidance Committee is convened annually for a plenary meeting open to a wide group of marine scientists to discuss important new and planned activities. Expert Groups are thematic working groups composed of the most relevant experts from Belgium and abroad and are established for a limited or longer period of time.
As a supporting institution for coastal and marine scientific research, VLIZ concludes cooperation agreements with national and international universities, research institutions and individual research groups.
The Government of Flanders has also made VLIZ responsible for a number of particular assignments to support international organisations. These capitalise on the international experience and reputation VLIZ has built up. They also provide the opportunity to embed important European initiatives in Flanders.