About the VLIZ-KMFRI collaboration | VLIZ - KMFRI

About the VLIZ-KMFRI collaboration

VLIZ - KMFRI Memorandum of Understanding

VLIZ and KMFRI signed an MoU based upon a long-lasting tradition of collaboration in marine sciences between Belgium and Kenya.

Today, there is still collaboration between Kenyan and Flemish institutes and individual researchers, but the efforts are now fragmented and there is no overview. This MoU will provide a new 'umbrella', under which:

  1. all on-going collaborations can be clustered
  2. new collaborations can be established
  3. the profile and visibility of marine science collaboration in both countries and internationally can be increased.

This VLIZ - KMFRI collaboration will promote partnership in:

The MoU will be a catalyst for joint research projects and will lead to useful exchanges of data, information, expertise, staff and - above all - young people, the Kenyan and Belgian marine professionals of the future.


Belgium and Kenya have a long tradition of collaboration in marine sciences. This has to do with the 'Kenya-Belgium Project in Marine Sciences' or KBP. In the early eighties of the last century, realizing the importance of the world ocean, and the many services it provides to society, and recognizing that marine sciences are an essential enterprise in the development of a better world, the Belgian Government asked Professor Philip Polk to travel to Kenya and to investigate the possibilities of scientific collaboration. This mission resulted in the start of the 'Kenya-Belgium cooperation in Marine Sciences' in 1985.

The KBP knew different successive phases that together ran continuously for more than 15 years, and it knew different simultaneous spin-off projects, with ramifications to many other European and East-African countries. The project was very successful. The scientific output was significant. Many Kenyans were trained in Belgium, obtained MSc and PhD degrees, and many Belgian students and professors visited Kenya for collaborative research. This has resulted in a community of people who know, respect and trust each other, and who have sometimes established long lasting friendships. Many of the people that were active in KBP as young scientists now have important positions in KMFRI, in VLIZ, in the universities or in the Flemish and Kenyan ministries, even in international organizations like IOC. This is the strongest possible foundation to build upon. It's now up to this generation to transfer knowledge to a new generation of young Kenyans and Belgians, to create a new Kenya-Belgium marine science community.