The COLUMBUS Consortium is made up of 25 Partners across 14 countries and has been specifically designed to address the call topic and achieve the intended impacts. The Consortium is a balanced, multidisciplinary partnership, containing Pan-European organisations which represent a broad constituency of stakeholders in the marine and maritime areas.

COLUMBUS brings together a new extended multi-stakeholder, multidisciplinary, transnational partnership with the experience, strategic positioning and track record in the marine and maritime sectors to achieve the ambitious impacts of the call topic. Understanding that strategic changes are needed in how the marine and maritime community interact and collaborate for mutual benefit, the partnership has been constructed to represent all aspects of the research lifecycle (funding bodies, researchers, communications experts and end-users) and all regional sea basins in Europe.

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The Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) was established in 1999 and has the legal status of a non-profit organisation under Belgian law that receives an annual allowance from the Government of Flanders and from the province of West Flanders. VLIZ has evolved into the central coordination and information platform for marine and coastal scientific research in Flanders. As a partner in various national and international projects and networks, VLIZ also promotes and supports the international image of Flemish marine scientific research and international marine education. The institute has extensive expertise in the field of data management and disposes of its own library. It supports scientists by providing the research vessel 'Simon Stevin' and other research equipment and infrastructure. Furthermore, VLIZ disseminates scientific information about the coast and sea to various end-users such as education and the public at large (ocean literacy) as well as experts from policy and industry.

Contact person: Hans Pirlet



Providing support to Competence Node for Monitoring and Observation. Participating across the project in Work Packages 2 to 8. 

Profile of staff engaged in the project:

ann katrienDr Ann-Katrien Lescrauwaet studied zoology (Ghent University, Belgium), Management of Protected Landscapes (University of Wales, UK) and holds a PhD degree in Marine Sciences (Ghent University) on Marine Historical Ecology and Fisheries. In her early career she was engaged in marine conservation projects in Azores and South America. In 2004, she joined the Flanders Marine Institute, where she is employed as Manager of the Policy Information Division since 2007. This team focuses on strengthening the marine Science-Policy Interface. Mrs. Lescrauwaet is responsible for the production and coordination of the Compendium for Coast and Sea, a process integrating the available knowledge on the socio-economic, environmental and institutional aspects of the Coast and Sea in Flanders and Belgium. Ann-Katrien was also actively involved in EU research projects oriented on the Science-Policy interface in Coastal and Marine Management (SAIL (INTERREG), DEDUCE (FP6), MARBEF (FP6), and PEGASO (FP7)).


hans pirletDr Hans Pirlet studied marine geology (Ghent University, Belgium) and holds a PhD on cold-water coral mounds in the Atlantic Ocean (PhD defence September 2010, Ghent University). Since October 2010, Hans has works at the policy information division of VLIZ, where he is mainly involved in the production and coordination of the Compendium for Coast and Sea. In this context, he was responsible for the mapping of the marine scientific landscape in Belgium and the elaboration of texts with a synthesis of the scientific knowledge on the different user functions in the Belgian part of the North Sea. Furthermore, Hans is active in other projects such as the Sea-arch project on underwater cultural heritage (national project) and the MERMAID project (EU-FP7) on innovative multi-purpose offshore platforms.


nathalievlizxNathalie Keersebilck is Administrative assistant Coordination – projects at VLIZ. She has a BBA in Communication Management, Business Communication. Her professional background has been always linked to project management, particularly under FP6, FP7, Interreg and other structural funds. Since 2006 she has been responsible for project administration at VLIZ.


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Call us at:
+353 1 644 9008

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Send an email to:

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AquaTT UETP Ltd., PO Box 8989
Dublin 2, Ireland

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