On Friday 15 February, the Blue Cluster (De Blauwe Cluster) signed a cluster pact with the Flemish Government. The pact establishes the engagement of the spearhead cluster, the cluster members and the Flemish Government.
The Flemish Government sees the potential of a blue economy and therefore wants to engage more in innovative initiatives in and around the North Sea. It sees innovation as key to future prosperity and jobs. In order to use the full potential of the North Sea in a sustainable way, close cooperation and sharing of knowledge is needed between knowledge centres and companies from different disciplines.
The Blue Cluster was initiated at the end of 2017 by a group of companies; Colruyt, DEME, Econopolis, INVE, Jan De Nul, Sioen Industries, Tractebel Engineering, Vanbreda Risk & Benefits, Vyncke and ZERI. It aims to establish innovative R&D projects that will contribute to sustainable, economic activities and investments in the North Sea and beyond. Currently it counts 137 members, including knowledge centres and companies, ranging from small to the larger companies. In March 2018, The Blue Cluster became a spearhead cluster, a partnership between companies, knowledge institutions and the government.
With the support of the Flemish Government, they will be looking to explore the potential of a blue economy and develop innovative projects within several domains, such as ocean pollution, climate change, healthy food, energy, maritime accessibility and blue, eco-educational tourism, all with respect for the ecosystem. The cooperation of the cluster could lead to international cooperation and investment. As a result from the first call for projects, 12 projects will now, under guidance from the Blue Cluster, be submitted to the agency Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO). Source: Blauwecluster.be