Early March 2018 Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) approved The Blue Cluster vzw’s application to become a spearhead cluster. This is a partnership between companies, knowledge institutions and the government. Next to the previously awarded clusters Catalisti (chemistry), Flux50 (energy), VIL (logistics), Flanders’ Food (agri-food) and SIM (materials), the Blue Cluster thus becomes the sixth spearhead cluster in Flanders. The Blue Cluster is an initiative of Colruyt, DEME, Jan De Nul, SIBELCO, Sioen Industries, Tractebel and several other companies.
“The Blue Cluster aims to establish innovative research and development projects that will contribute to sustainable, promising economic activities and investments in the North Sea ánd beyond,” states the cabinet of Flemish Minister-President Geert Bourgeois. The members will actively work on topics such as ocean pollution, climate change, healthy food, energy, maritime accessibility and blue, eco-educational tourism. This can be translated into projects such as seaweed culture in the North Sea, floating solar panels, the clearing of the ammunition dump at the Paardenmarkt, coastal protection, etc.
By the end of 2018, the Blue Cluster initiators will submit a cluster pact to VLAIO for approval, but they can already start applying for innovation projects. In June 2018 the Blue Cluster will present its first projects during a kick-off in Ostend. These actions will go hand in hand with the long-term policy for Flanders, as summarized in ‘Vision 2050’ (in Dutch).