Opening Session

Prof. Colin R. Janssen

Department Animals Sciences and Aquatic Ecology Ecotoxicology, Ghent University, Belgium

[Keynote Speech] Marine Sciences for a Sustainable Ocean: the UGent Acceleration


Man cannot live without the ocean. Worldwide, the realization of the importance of the ocean for the survival of man and the planet has grown exponentially during the past decade. This sense of urgency is reflected in recent international political calls for action such as the UN World Ocean Assessment (2015), the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals e.g. “Life below water (SDG 14)” and the first IOC-UNESCO Global Ocean Science Report (2017). Fundamental and applied marine sciences are more than ever needed. No time to waste: within this decade the goals is to provide nutritious food, clean energy, medical services and decent living conditions for all people on Earth in a sustainable way: i.e. without overstepping the carrying capacity of the planet. Here we will explore how research and innovation activities in Europe and in Belgium aimed at contributing to these goals are developed. Based on its historical and recognized international research expertise in marine sciences, Ghent University has – in recent years – taken important steps to consolidate and further develop this expertise to become a world leader in fields outlined above. These developments will be illustrated by the new organizational and infrastructure-based strategies adopted towards these goals and further exemplified by some recent and ongoing research case studies.

Introduction of affiliation/ Relation to the Marine Global Project

Prof. Janssen is the chair of the Marine@UGent consortium consolidating marine and maritime expertise of more than 70 research groups of UGent and is promotor of the UGent IOF consortium BLUeGhent coordinating all blue economy valorization research of UGent. He is the vice-chair of the Board of Directors and chair of the scientific committee of the Flanders Marine Institute. He is a top researcher in the field of marine biology, ecology and ecotoxicology, ranked respectively 6th, 4th and 3rd globally within these research fields on google scholar. He has an H-index of 89 and more than 32800 citations on google scholar.