On 16 January 2024, the ‘Rustpunt’ in Ghent served as a historic, green site to host the three-day kick-off meeting of the new project 'DuneFront'. This innovative project is funded through the European Commission's Horizon Europe Programme and coordinated by Ghent University.
Group picture of the DuneFront consortium.
The project aims to enhance coastal protection and safety by optimizing solutions that make use of a combination of natural elements (dunes) and man-made hard structures (seawalls). These so-called hybrid Dune-by-Dike Nature-based solutions (DD-hybrid NbS) will constitute the new generation of sustainable, inclusive, and aesthetic coastal protection.
Within this multidisciplinary project, scientists from various research disciplines, companies and public services join forces to get a holistic view on the DD-hybrid NbS.
In a first step, twelve demonstrator sites, spread across Europe, will pool and evaluate the necessary data input and experiences to make practical and usable recommendations for designing and installing dune-by-dike nature-based solutions in the future.
Left: Graphical representation of the DuneFront concept; Right: Overview of the 12 demonstrator sites along the European coast indicated with green pinpoints.
In a second step, the gathered multidisciplinary knowledge will be integrated into digital twins, which in turn will pilot the development of a Decision-Support-System, coastal and marine infrastructure Blueprints, and the installation of new prototypes along one of the most recreated coasts of Belgium. DuneFront will provide a wide range of stakeholders with design, installation, and market-ripe business plans for DD-hybrid NbS. Translation of new research and innovations into the DuneFront targeted actions will occur within a full co-creation-procedure.
The consortium brings together 17 partners from seven different countries, including universities (UGent, KULeuven, UPORTO, UBx, UPVD, ULCO, TU Delft, UU, TUB, LU, TAMU), research institutes (VLIZ, EVFH), dredging companies (DEME, Jan De Nul Group), knowledge institutes (Stichting Deltares) and agencies (MDK).
VLIZ provides the data management and, in cooperation with the project partners, is responsible for the communication and dissemination of the project results. VLIZ also looks for connectivity between stakeholders and other relevant projects at European and global level to create possible synergies.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.