Blue Science & Technology Summer Training | Marine@Ugent

Blue Science & Technology Summer Training

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Planet earth’s defining feature is the ocean, covering approximately 70% of the planet’s surface. It is the reason that life exists. It produces oxygen, absorbs carbon dioxide and contributes to freshwater renewal. The ocean provides important goods and services to society. It is a major part of the world economy, with more and more nations looking to the ocean as a way to meet the needs of their people, particularly coastal communities.

In crowded seas such as those around the European Union, including the North Sea, pressures on the environment are building and space is at a premium. In managing these areas, the interests of different economic sectors, including fishing, energy, shipping and tourism, must be considered.

Tomorrow’s generation of marine scientists and engineers, high level technicians, and other trainees will need to be able to work in a multi-disciplinary fashion. Knowledge is required beyond the complex scientific and technical issues, but requires employees to cut across scientific, environmental, economic and social disciplines.

The Blue Science & Technology Summer Training (BlueS&T) introduces key components that build a strong foundation for a sustainable blue economy. Study the smart solutions for marine and maritime challenges with us and you’ll widen your skills and build your grasp on one of the most significant areas of innovation, research and development in the modern world.


Learning objectives

The objective of this Summer Training is to offer an add-on learning opportunity for participants with a mainly scientific background to be prepared for the rapidly evolving demands of the blue economy sector. During the program students will:

  • Obtain insight into business opportunity development and the commercial realities faced by industry, through guest lectures from blue economy entrepreneurs and on-site visits
  • Gain hands-on experience in the field
  • Learn additional soft skills important for your career
  • Be able to communicate with peers, with various stakeholders in blue economy field, and with a general public concerning scientific concepts and research
  • Acquire an advanced scientific problem-solving capacity, design multidisciplinary approaches and collect, analyze and interpret data
  • Be competent to further develop a network in an international and multidisciplinary context and apply this in an integrated problem-solving nature



BlueS&T aims to close the mismatch between knowledge provided by higher educational establishments and the competences requirements of Blue Economy's technical staff by combining ex-cathedra lectures on a specific scientific subject with hands-on practical and multidisciplinary workshops and on-site visits.

BlueS&T is organized as a two-week course with week 1 focusing on marine topics like circular ocean economy, oceans and human health, sustainable seafood, Building with Nature and social innovation. Week 2 focusses on maritime topics covering topics like maritime spatial planning, coastal engineering, renewable energy, robotics and virtual reality. This module is organised by WECANET Cost Action project. This set-up provides students the option to participate for the full duration of the course or one week.

Participants benefit from a blend of project work to encourage independent learning, foster collaborative skills, plenty of teacher time in tailored classes and interactive workshops. BlueS&T maximizes contact time with our experts, and ensures participants get the most enriching educational experience possible. What sets us apart are our partnerships. By partnering with world-leading companies in the field participants will be tackling real-world projects in a range of inspiring settings, guided by our academics and industry professionals.

Students enjoy ex-cathedra lectures (about 50%) where leading academics devote their full attention. A mix is provided of (inter-)national lectures from amongst others Ghent University, VLIZ, KU Leuven, VUB, HZ University of Applied Sciences, NIOZ, Wageningen University and Research, and various international partners of the WECANET consortium like Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Burgas Free University.

The knowledge gathered during the ex-cathedra lectures will be combined during multidisciplinary workshops and lab-activities, panel discussion and various onsite visits.




The themes of Summer Training sessions are mostly related to the 5 priorities of blue economy as relevant for the entire region, i.e. the EU countries as well as non-EU-countries. Themes will include, but are not limited to:

  • Blue economy in the EU (governance and finance)
  • Healthy oceans
  • Ecosystem services
  • Sustainable seafood
  • Coastal engineering and Building with Nature
  • Marine spatial planning
  • Maritime transport
  • Ship building and ship recycling
  • Blue energy
  • Bioprospecting
  • Deep sea exploration and mining
  • Social innovation
  • Entrepreneurship


Participants will be asked to participate actively, including by presenting a group assignments at the end of the Summer Training.


Sea Your Future

BlueS&T wants to play a pioneering role in preparing young people with a solid scientific education for a job within the blue economy. Following previous success, the last day of the Summer Training finishes with an open event for the public where participants will present there final group work, join in a public debate on a innovative topic and get exclusive VIP time with all the companies partaking in the Blue Economy matchmaking lunch and Job Fair. More information about this public event, can be found here.

On-site visits and excursions

The Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) promotes accumulation of marine knowledge and excellence in marine research in Flanders. One of their core activities is to support marine scientific research by providing the research vessel ‘Simon Stevin’ and other research equipment and infrastructure for common use.   

Discover the multidisciplinary marine research community in the broadest sense of the term at the visit to their facilities.

The Dhooge family specialise in the growing of crustaceans and shellfish since 1906. Their business “de Oesterij” is established in Yerseke in the Dutch Province of Zeeland. They are committed to deliver the highest quality products in a sustainable way. Long-term cooperation with customers and chefs is an essential component of this. The Dhooge family is pleased to welcome our Summer Training participants for a tour on land and on water, and to have you taste their range of fresh oysters and mussels.

The gaming industry offers a wide range of interesting and mature technologies that can be deployed in an industrial context. Find out which immersive technologies are on the eve of a new technological wave. Let’s find out and experiment yourself in the workshop of Howest DAE. The best gaming school in the world.

Ship and visit the first Belgian offshore wind farm at sea! During the trip guides immerses you in coastal shipping and port management, international shipping, technical operations of the ship, environmental monitoring and offshore licensing procedures to exploration of marine birds and mammals. The ultimate goal the wind farm on the Thornton Bank, some 30km outside the coastline.


Do you like to explore areas of untouched nature? Breathing in the pure air as you hike through a beautiful, rugged landscape. Ever visited an international bird airport?

The Zwin Nature Reserve or Zwin Plain straddles the border between Flanders and the Netherlands. Dunes enclose the area. A channel called the Zwin Channel connects the area to the sea, making it an 'intertidal area'. Thanks to the daily influence of the salty seawater, the nature reserve boasts extraordinary fauna and flora which can hardly be found elsewhere along the Belgian coast.

When you say Belgium, you say Bruges. There are places that get under your skin, although you can never fully fathom them. Bruges is such a special place, not to be left off your to-do list. From the Rozenhoedkaai and the Market Square with the Belfry, through the Lake of Love and the canals, to the Beguinage, the almshouses and much more. Iconic sites that give the city its look and charm you instantly. A city on a human scale, whose history made it great, resulting in a well-deserved classification as a Unesco World Heritage site.

To build an academic community to support the Blue Economy sector, we need to form a strong and reliable network . The participants of the BlueS&T will be the starting point of this network.

Ostend is a bustling city by the sea with new developments moving forward at breakneck speed. But its maritime character remains proudly intact. Step along the most remarkable spots of the fishing culture, the dazzling port life and the unique maritime heritage. The maritime character that moulds and shapes Ostend into the city by the sea.

UGent Directors

Prof Jana Asselman

Prof. Jana Asselman is head of the Blue Growth Research Lab (BGRL) at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering of Ghent University. She coordinates the multidisciplinary marine and maritime UGent research facilities located at Ostend Science Park. She teaches courses in human health risk assessment, Oceans & Human Health and Blue Economy at Msc level in both Flemish and international Msc programs at UGent. Her research topics are related to marine biotechnology, biopolymers in the marine environment, bioprospecting and human health risks of ocean pollution, including micro- and nanoplastics.

Dr Sara Vandamme

Dr Sara Vandamme obtained a Doctorate degree in Biology in 2014. After a career in academic research and working for a European stakeholder origination, she currently works as the coordinator of the Marine@UGent, an interfaculty research consortium which unites and supports all marine and maritime expertise of Ghent University. Dr Vandamme has a broad knowledge of the blue economy sector and research, stakeholder participation and science communication. Other research interest include EU fisheries management, CFP reform, population and seascape genetics analysis. One of her activities is the coordination of the Blue Science and Technology Summer Training.

Prof Colin Janssen

Prof. Colin Janssen is professor of Ecotoxicology and Applied Marine Ecology at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering of Ghent University. He is chair/promotor of the Marine@Ugent - an interfaculty research consortium which unites and supports marine and maritime expertise of Ghent University. He is also chair/promotor of the Business Development Center BLUEGent, a world leading research partnership in the field of Blue Life Sciences and Aquaculture, coordinating and promoting innovation and valorization initiatives and projects in the field of Blue Economy.  Furthermore, Prof Janssen is vice–chair of the Board of Directors and chair of the scientific committee of the Flanders Marine Institute. He teaches courses in aquatic ecology, and environmental health & toxicology and risk assessment to graduate and undergraduate students. His research activities cover a wide range on applied ecological topics which include: the study of the ecological risks of chemicals and other stressors in freshwater and marine systems, stress ecology, marine litter and the fate and effects of microplastics, oceans and human health and various marine applications of innovative research and technologies.

Dr Eveline Diopere

Dr. Eveline Diopere obtained a Doctorate degree in Biology in 2014. She is a marine biologist, specialised in population genomics of marine fish, evolutionary adaptation, transcriptomics, linkage and comparative mapping and genetic marker development. After her PhD she worked for the Flemish Government, where she was in charge of a team granting environmental permits. Currently, Dr. Diopere works at the Blue Growth Research Lab and focusses on bioprospecting research. She also coordinates the new marine and maritime multidicipliciplinary research facilities of Ghent Univeristy at Ostend Science Park, together with Prof Asselman. Additionally, she co-organises this Summer Training.

Dr Vicky Stratigaki

Dr. Vicky Stratigaki is the Management Committee Chair of the European COST Action CA17105 entitled “WECANet: A pan-European Network for Marine Renewable Energy”. She obtained her PhD degree from Ghent University in 2014 as “FWO PhD Aspirant Fundamental Research” of the Research Foundation Flanders, and has joined UGent 13 years ago. She also has a “Master-after-Master” degree in Environmental Studies (2007), as well as a Civil Engineering degree (2006), both obtained at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. In 2020 she has been awarded an FWO Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship for experimental and numerical research in offshore floating and moored constructions and offshore renewable energy infrastructure. Before that, she was a post-doctoral assistant at the Coastal Engineering Research Group of the Civil Engineering department of Ghent University, where she does research on blue energy, hydraulic and coastal engineering and offshore infrastructure.

Dr Tim Deprez

Dr Tim Deprez obtained a Doctorate degree in Marine Biology in 2006. Currently he coordinates the EMBRC unit at Ghent University. This unit focusses on several aspects of blue training and education. One of his major activities is the coordination of the International Master in Marine Biological Resources, globally the largest joint international marine master programme. Tim has been involved in joint educational programmes since 2008. He coordinated the EMBC and EMBC+ Master programme  as well as the Joint Doctoral Programme MARES. Besides coordination of formal degree programmes he has a strong interest in education innovation, online learning and digital skills development.

Prof Peter Troch

Prof. Peter Troch is Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering and Director of the Coastal Engineering Laboratory at Ghent University. He is coordinator of the design and construction of the new "Coastal and Ocean wave Basin" at Ostend Science Park. He has 25 years of academic experience in the field of coastal engineering and open channel flow hydraulics. His research is focusing on wave induced response of coastal structures (wave overtopping, pore pressure propagation, scour protection), on wave propagation and harbour penetration modelling, on wave energy converters (modelling of wake effects) and on eco‐hydraulics of vegetated lowland rivers. For his research, he is developing and using physical and numerical modelling and field monitoring at a wide range of locations. Together with Dr Vicky Stratigaki, they are organisers of the WECANet COST Action project (CA17105).

Participating institutes

PROF Eva Loukogeorgaki

Dr. Eva Loukogeorgaki is Associate Professor of Marine Structures in the Civil Engineering Department of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh), Greece. She holds a Civil Engineering degree and a PhD both from AUTh. She has continuous research activity for more than 15 years in the field of marine structures. Her main research interests, lying within the field of ocean engineering, include fluid-structure interaction, moored floating structures, numerical modelling and spatial planning of offshore renewable energy technologies (e.g. offshore wind turbines, wave energy converters), hydroelasticity, risk assessment and structural health monitoring of marine structures. She has received fellowships for conducting experimental and numerical research on floating structures in Turkey (2012) and Japan (2017). Since June 2019, she is the Chair of the International Renewable Energy & Environment Committee of the International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers (ISOPE), while, recently, she has been elected as the ISOPE President for 2021-2023. She is a core member of the WECANet Cost Action Project (CA17105).

Prof Jaak Monbaliu

Prof. Jaak Monbaliu is chair of the department of civil engineering of the KU Leuven and Chair of the Marine@KU Leuven consortium together with Prof Filip Volckaert.

His main research topics are (1) Coastal and Estuarine Hydrodynamics: which focusses on numerical modelling of currents in shelf seas and estuaries, wave generation and propagation in the coastal zone, interaction of waves and currents, and statistical properties of waves, (2) Sediment Mechanics: focuses on the behavior and fate of non-cohesive sediments (sand) and cohesive sediments (mud) in coastal areas, estuaries, rivers, reservoirs and sewer systems and (3) Remote Sensing: which offers the opportunity to gather data simultaneously over large, sometimes inaccessible areas, such as tidal flats.

Prof Milen Baltov

Prof. Milen Baltov, PhD is himself an example of a transition from a business consultant to the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups to an academic and researcher in the field. He is a member of the Regional Development Council and the Regional Coordination Committee of the South East Region (Bulgaria) and the Council to the Minister of Tourism. He is a Deputy Chair of a Working group in the COST EU Action CA17105 "A pan-European Network for Marine Renewable Energy". Member of the Assembly supporting the activities of the mission “Starfish” - Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters, structured by DG “Research & Innovation” at the European Commission. National coordination and a co-chair for the Black Sea Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, launched by the DG RTD at the EC, and incorporating the senoiur stakeholder of the BS countries. For the moment, Prof. Baltov is a Vice Rector of the Burgas Free University and a member of the Programme Committee in the configuration “SMEs and Access to Risk Finance” – now European Innovation Council, under the EU Horizon Europe programme.


Dr. Jasper van Houcke is head of the Aquaculture in Delta Areas research group at HZ University of Applied Sciences. The applied research of the group is focused on sustainable production of low trophic marine organisms such as microalgae, seaweed and shellfish. Dr. Jasper van Houcke is the Dutch national representative in the West European Fish Technologists’ Association (WEFTA). WEFTA aims to be an important platform in Europe for institutions engaged in fish processing, applied food science, aquaculture, seafood technology, health effects of seafood consumption and consumer studies. He is board member of the Shellfish conference foundation (Stichting Schelpdierconferenties), a foundation aiming at knowledge transfer between industry and research partners within the shellfish sector. Dr. Jasper van Houcke is involved in several courses regarding aquaculture, shellfish cultivation and seafood quality. His research activities cover aspects such as production strategies and prediction, quality and quality improvement strategies and bioactive molecules.

Prof Patrick Meire

Prof. Patrick Meire is head of the Ecosystem Management Research Group and chairman of the Department of Biology of the University of Antwerp. His research concentrates on the ecology of aquatic ecosystems and wetlands and the processes in the land-water interaction along the whole river continuum and the river-coastal sea interaction. The studied systems vary from small streams with riparian margins over larger rivers and floodplains to estuaries. These studies, both descriptive and experimental in nature, are integrated to predict the impact of different management options on the functioning and the biodiversity of the system.

Dr Karolien Vanpuyvelde

Dr. Karolien Van Puyvelde obtained her PhD in Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2013. Currently she is coordinator of the 2-year master programme “Master of Science in Marine and Lacustrine Science and Management” (Oceans & Lakes) organized at three Flemish universities. This multidisciplinary programme puts strong emphasis on acquiring skills, both in marine and lacustrine research and management. It requires full-time attendance and active participation in lectures and practical exercises, visits to marine and lacustrine research centers, field courses, seminars and a professional internship. Oceans & Lakes is recognised as an ICP (International Course Programme) which is supported by the Flemish Interuniversity Council – University Development Cooperation (VLIR-UOS). This means that there are targeted and well-developed trajectories possible to university development cooperation with South partners: the application of science and management skills to global and local challenges, aligning with the UN's sustainable development goals.

Practical info

1. Dates: 30 August – 10 September 2021
     • Week 1 Marine module: 30 August - 3 September
     • Week 2 Maritime module: 6 - 10 September

The face to face sessions will consist of 33 teaching hours per week, which will include ex-cathedra lectures, hands-on practical and multidisciplinary workshops and on-site visits. Two days of the summer school will be hosted in Zeeland, the Netherlands. Week 2 is coordinated by the WECANET Cost Action project.

Students who complete the 2-week programme will be provided a certificate of Ghent University stating that the course has the equivalent of 5 ECTS-credits. For the acceptance of these credits in to your curriculum, please consult with your own university.

2. Location: Ostend Science Park, Ostend, Belgium

3. Tuition Fee:
     • UGent and KUL Doctoral School members (see 5. Participants): free
     • Non-members: €850.00 for 2-weeks; €500.00 for 1-week

This includes:
     • Tuition and all course material
     • On-site visits and excursions
     • Certification
     • Lunch, coffee breaks and two social dinners
     • Transport from/to Zeeland and two nights in hotel, breakfast included

Not included:
     • Personal expenses
     • Transport from/to home location to Belgium
     • Other meals than listed above
     • Other overnight stays than listed above, 10 in total
     • Insurance

4. Registration Deadline: 1 July 2021

5. Participants from diverse disciplinary backgrounds will be admitted:
     • Passionate about exploring the challenging role of oceans and seas in our future society
     • Excited about marine and maritime sciences, business development and entrepreneurship

The Summer School is recognized as specialist course by (Bioscience) Engineering and Natural Sciences Doctoral Schools of Ghent University. As such, for PhD students of Ghent University the course is free and will be added to the curriculum by the Doctoral Schools administration after successful completion.

6. Scholarships: at UGent we're determined to attract the very best talent from all corners of the world. WECANET Cost Action offers a limited number of partial scholarships to applicants with an outstanding profile. More information can be found in this folder.

NEW 2021: Thanks to the partners, BlueS&T 2021 is pleased to allow a limited number of participants (master and PhD students) without paying the tuition fee, simply apply as described in this folder.

Other participants need to fund this short training programme by their own financial means. Please do not apply if you have not yet managed to secure funding.


7. Personal data: In accordance with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR 2018), personal data provided by candidates in the application form will be processed only for the purpose of the assignment of the grant and the ensuing relevant procedures. No data of any kind will be transmitted to third party. For privacy reasons we would like to inform all participants that photo- and film material can be taken at the Blue S&T summer school. The obtained visual material may be used as internal archive material or external promotional material.


Register here!

Blue Science & Technology Summer Training (BlueS&T) is made possible with the support of the Flemish Government and partners: