Cleantech Flanders spoke with Pieter Embo, business developer of Ostend Science Park
Ostend Science Park is a science park in the marine and maritime business. OSP is a knowledge and technology hub in the blue economy, at the crossroads of science, business and government.
On OSP, you will only find companies working in blue growth: sustainable economic activities on, in or by the sea such as wind, tidal and wave energy or blue biotechnology.
Besides the West Flanders Development Agency (POM West-Flanders) and the Port of Ostend, UGent is the main shareholder of OSP.
What is 'hot' in the blue growth?
Trending topics in the blue economy are projects concerning hydrogen, tidal energy, deep sea mining and projects to breed fish in a sustainable way. Big data and data traffic from the sea are becoming increasingly important.
What is unique about OSP?
What is unique about OSP is that companies get the chance to develop their R&D together with scientists of UGent. Companies can test their innovative ideas together with the researchers. Because all companies at OSP are active in blue growth, they can inspire and support each other. All companies at OSP also have their R&D activities there. From October 2021, UGent will build new, unique labs on OSP where multidisciplinary research lines will be further developed e.g. building-with-nature.
How is OSP positioned in the Flemish economic landscape?
Ostend is the epicentre of the Blue Economy and wants to be a gateway for companies looking for their way in the blue ecosystem. Bluebridge, an incubator/innovation centre and also the headquarters of OSP, is very valuable in this regard. In Bluebridge we organise events that connect companies and researchers in blue growth. Bluebridge is also a training centre where UGent develops 'lifelong learning' in various domains of the blue growth.
What does the future hold for OSP?
The construction of the science park will start in February. This should be completed around October 2021. When the park is full, we will start up phase 2. OSP welcomes companies that are active in the blue economy, that want to develop R&D activities on our site and want to collaborate with knowledge centres, including UGent. Start-ups and scale-ups can also find a home at Bluebridge. There is room for new and established companies.
How do you support blue growth?
We are currently a partner in two European projects. Funded by Horizon2020, in the COASTAL project we not only want to offer guidelines for an integrated land-sea policy based on various studies and interactions with stakeholders.
A permanent online knowledge platform will also be developed. Within the framework of the Interreg North Sea Region programme, NON-STOP is aimed at making small and medium-sized ports at the North Sea more sustainable. The application of specific technologies must facilitate the further eco-innovative digitalisation of these ports.