Brilliant Marine Research Idea | Flanders Marine Institute

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Brilliant Marine Research Idea

The Sea as a Good Cause, annually awards Brilliant Marine Research Idea grants worth EUR 5.000 to inspire and support PhD students and young postdocs to implement a brilliant idea within the frame of their marine research. VLIZ offers companies from the blue economy the opportunity to sponsor this BMRI grant.

What is a Brilliant Marine Research Idea grant?

The philanthropy program of VLIZ, The Sea as a Good Cause, launches an annual call for Brilliant Marine Research Ideas. With the BMRI grant, worth EUR 5.000, we want to inspire and help young, original thinking marine scientists to explore and develop a brilliant research idea. We seek to fund a marine research idea that can contribute to solving a hypothesis-based marine research question. Topics of interest are (amongst others) the themes identified in the philanthropy research agenda including pollution, ocean and human health, marine biodiversity, climate change, ocean related disasters and marine explorations. The BMRIs are unique in Flanders and distinguish themselves from other funding grants by their focus on out-of-the-box thinking, the elaboration of an additional research topic but always framed within the current personal marine research field of the scientist. The grant can be used to assist researchers with lab and/or fieldwork, data acquisition and analysis, visits to other institutions for the use of specialized facilities, for the acquisition of equipment or software needed for a certain analysis, etc. The fund cannot be used to reimburse the use of existing lab infrastructure within the own research group/department, for personnel costs, to pay for travel costs that amount to more than 50% of the grant or to attend conferences.

Who is eligible for a BMRI grant?

  • PhD students affiliated to a Flemish university or a Flemish university college with, at the time of the application, less than 6 years of research experience at predoc level (i.e. since starting their PhD research).
  • Junior postdocs affiliated to a Flemish university or Flemish university college with, at the time of the application, less than 3 years of research experience at postdoc level (i.e. after obtaining the doctoral degree).
  • PhD students from the South* with, at the time of the application, less than 6 years of research experience at predoc level (i.e. since starting their PhD research), with a strong demonstrable link with a researcher from a Flemish Marine Research Group. An additional condition: the candidate has a diploma obtained from an international marine-related master's program in Flanders** or the candidate carries out research via a sandwich doctoral grant.
  • * South: countries bordering a sea or the ocean in Africa, Asia, Oceania, South or Central America (see: country list)
    ** List of international master's programs with a marine component

Modalities for the BMRI call 2021 (closed, the next call follows end 2021)

For the call 2021, we opened the following positions:

  • three BMRI grants for predocs at the Flemish level
  • one BMRI grant for a junior postdoc at Flemish level
  • one BMRI grant for a predoc from the South

Call for proposals & application BMRI 2021

You could apply for one of the BMRI grants by sending the following to :

  • Application form (fixed format, download the form here)
  • CV (free format)
  • Form of consent from the student his/her supervisor affiliated to a Flemish university or Flemish university college (free format)
  • Letter of recommendation from the researcher of the Flemish Marine Research Group with whom there is a strong demonstrable link (only for the BMRI grant for a predoc from the South)

The deadline for entering the competition was Friday January 29, 2021.

Sponsor a BMRI grant

As marine research is particularly a field where innovation from science and industry reinforce each other, we give companies from the Blue Economy the opportunity to sponsor a BMRI grant. By doing so, a company encourages doctoral students and young postdocs in Flanders, but also in the South, to commit to original research; and the company endorses the importance of innovation.
A sponsoring company decides itself which research area it supports and is also given the opportunity to participate in the jury. The Sea as a Good Cause takes care of the entire organization and administrative handling and, in consultation, ensures the necessary visibility for the sponsoring company.
Detailed information about sponsoring a BMRI grant can be found here.
In 2021, DEME nv and Antea Group sponsored the BMRI grants.


Laureates ‘Brilliant Marine Research Idea’ grants 2021

for the predoc VLIZ BMRI grants

  • Soria Delva - Beyond genetics: exploring the contribution of epigenetics to thermal adaptation in brown seaweeds
    UGent - Phycology lab
  • Alexander Hooyberg - The Nexus10 MKII for holistic insights in the physiological drivers behind mental health restoration from virtual coastal landscapes
    UGent Vakgroep Volksgezondheid & eerstelijnszorg - VLIZ
  • Valérie Mattelin - Integration of taxonomic and phenotypic fingerprints of marine plastic degrading communities
    UGent - CMET

for the junior postdoc BMRI grant

  • Glenn Strypsteen - Building with nature: Aeolian sediment input to engineered dunes
    KU Leuven - Bruges Campus
    This BMRI grant received co-sponsoring by DEME and Antea Group.

Laureates ‘Brilliant Marine Research Idea’ grants 2020

  • Sarah Maes - Microbiome and diet turnover as a predictor of rapid environmental change in the Arctic Ocean
    KU Leuven - Laboratory of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Genomics
  • Luna van der Loos - Algal microbial interactions: beyond bacteria, let’s go viral
    UGent - Research Group Phycology
  • Bert Teunkens - Tracking marked plastic items on their journey through the Scheldt estuary, using the Permanent Belgian Acoustic Receiver Network (PBARN)
    UAntwerpen - ECOBE  Ecosystem Management Research Group
    This BMRI grant was sponsored by DEME

Laureates ‘Brilliant Marine Research Idea’ grants 2019

Laureates ‘Brilliant Marine Research Idea’ grants 2018

Laureates ‘Brilliant Marine Research Idea’ grants 2017

For more information contact