Press release New campus for VLIZ and ILVO on east coast of Oostende

Innov Ocean Moureauxlaan
3D of the InnovOcean campus

BRUSSELS, 8 July 2019 – Ministers Muyters and Van den Heuvel today signed the construction project for the new building which will coincide with the VLIZ (Flemish Institute for the Sea) and the Ostend branch of the ILVO (Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) on the east coast of Ostend. The new building will be realized by General Construction Maes (part of Group Roey). The award process was coordinated by the Flemish Investment company PMV.

Under the name InnovOcean Campus, the VLIZ (Flemish Institute for the Sea), its project partners, and the Ostend branch of the ILVO (Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) on the east coast in Ostend will have a new common complex. The competent ministers Muyters and Van den Heuvel signed the agreement today in Brussels. Both Flemish institutes in Ostend were struggling with a housing challenge. The cohousing can create a logical synergy. VLIZ, the focal point for marine and coastal data, information and research, is currently housed in repurposed buildings of the Fish Market (Wandelaarkaai). The ILVO’s marine science unit, housed in buildings dating to the '70s on Anchor Street, was confronted with high energy bills, wear, humidity and unsafe working conditions. The ILVO researchers have specific infrastructure such as physico-chemical laboratories and experimental studio space for wet applications (aquaculture). The solution for a common new construction has been found in the form of a vacant terrain next to the current ILVO research building in Ostend. The program for the joint InnovOcean Campus includes offices, a convention centre, a sea library, physico-chemical laboratories, aquaculture laboratories and a studio space. The new building will be realised on the east coastal area, an area characterised by port activities from a fishing past and SME development, flanked by a dune landscape. InnovOcean Campus promises to be a new landmark in Ostend.

PMV chooses Group Van Roey

The Flemish investment company PMV coordinated the process and ensures alignment with all stakeholders. The negotiation procedure was launched in January 2017, and led to quite a few files submitted. The award and signature of the agreement has been a major step in the process. "Initially, the idea was to look for a new housing for the VLIZ. When it emerged that synergies and efficiency gains were achieved through a common housing with nearby ILVO, it was decided to place a common mission in the market. In addition, both institutions are complementary to the marine environment and research. A common housing will further intensify cooperation. As a project director and contracting authority, we opted for a 'design and build' assignment where the winning party delivers both the design and the building, ' says Steven Adons. The design and construction assignment was entrusted to Group Van Roey who is relying on General Construction Maes for this project. The company has the necessary experience with complex assignments. Carine Drumont, General Manager of General Construction Maes: "The realization is captivating: a part of the project area is protected by nature, there are underground high-voltage lines and especially the so-called wet laboratories with seawater in order to carry out marine experiments under controlled conditions need technically high-quality solutions."

Thematic choice of materials: sea and water

EVR architects draws from Ghent for its architecture. Project Architect Jan Van Den Broeke explains: "InnovOcean Campus becomes the marine building for Flanders, a special project with a unique content and appearance. Our team rose to the challenge to outline an open, functional and contemporary project. The theme of sea and water reflects itself (literally and figuratively) in the material choices. This is how the façade is provided with blue glass mosaic. Not only the colour, but certainly also the reflection, the smoothness and the light refraction of the façade refer to the climatic shades and changeable conditions that are different (more explicit, brighter) on the coast than inland. It becomes a building that will reflect the poetry of wind, water, sun and clouds. The color pallet of floors and carpentry then refers again to the white/yellow/gold of sea sand." InnovOcean Campus is a building tailored to the future. The design encourages maximum cooperation and knowledge exchange. Moreover, the building is circular and modular and the spaces can be rearranged and adapted to changing needs."

Sustainable design

Technical sustainability is ingrained in the design as well. InnovOcean Campus is a compact BEN building (almost energy neutral) with an E-level of maximum 30. Other aspects of sustainable building (such as low-maintenance and healthy materials, water (re) use, integral accessibility, daylight and acoustic comfort) are also applied in the building and monitored via the new tool of the Flemish government: the GRO sustainability meter. The total project budget amounts to approx. € 17 million excl. VAT. The building consists of 7 building layers and a technical floor (8000 m² gross floor area). The commissioning of the InnovOcean Campus is planned by the spring of 2022.


PMV is a do-and-dare company that will shape the future of the Flemish economy. PMV finances promising companies from the very start, to growth and internationalization. PMV offers tailor-made financial solutions to all entrepreneurs with a good business plan and a strong management team. It does so via capital, loans and safeguards. In addition, it realizes with and for the government and other partners projects that are important for prosperity and well-being in Flanders. PMV has a portfolio of € 1.2 billion in managed funds.

General Construction Maes

General Construction Maes is a Class 8 company, active in the general construction sector, based in Ghent. The company realizes projects such as offices, industrial buildings, healthcare institutions, hotels and shopping centers. Typical for general construction, Maes works collaboratively within in the construction team, where all partners are sitting around the table from the start of the construction process. The pooling of all complementary (creative and technical) knowledge and practical experience results in the most sustainable and affordable total solutions. General Construction Maes has a mixed shareholding since 2007: 60% Group Van Roey, 40% Group Maes.


EVR-Architects is a design team for sustainable architecture and urbanism. The team always approaches sustainability from a broad vision: Starting with the project process itself, about correct implantation, controlled mobility, minimum energy and water use, responsible material use, maximum flexibility and accessibility , circular and change-oriented building, up to and including anticipating a later minimal management. For EVR Architects, sustainability is anything but restrictive, but just a source of inspiration and meaning. EVR-Architects is also involved in the basis of various sustainability meters (objectifying methods and design tools) that are currently used in Flanders. The office is located in Ghent, has 23 people on staff, and is active in both the private and public sector.


The VLIZ (Flemish Institute for the Sea) is a hub for marine and coastal research. As a partner in various projects and networks, VLIZ supports and promotes the international appearance of Flemish marine science research and international marine education. Within its role as a coordination and information platform, it supports a thousand marine scientists in Flanders by displaying their knowledge to policy-makers, educators, the general public and scientists.

Project Partners of VLIZ

The VLIZ partner organisations are the following:

  • European Marine Board Secretariat
    The European Marine Board offers a pan-European platform to its naval scientific members' organisations with the aim of developing common research priorities, promoting marine research and bridging the gap between science and policy.
  • IOC Project Office for IODE
    The VLIZ is a special assignment for housing and supporting the secretariat of the 'International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange Programme' (IODE) of the ' Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission' (IOC) of UNESCO. The 'UNESCO/IOC Project Office for IODE' is the most important training center of the IODE program worldwide.
  • EMODnet Secretariat
    EMODnet, the European Marine Observation and Data network, aims to bring together the richness of marine observations in Europe and make them optimally accessible for use by governments, scientists and maritime companies, in the first place to support sustainable economic growth and employment.
  • Coastal Area House
    With the regional Coastal Area House in Ostend, the province of West Flanders strengthens its operation on the coast: a meeting place for governments and regional partners, area-oriented cooperation, working on current coastal themes, nature and environmental education, 3 provincial domains with visitor centers on the coast (the Zwin, the Nachtegaal and Raversyde), sustainable fishing, coastal tourism and sustainability, seagulls on the coast.


ILVO is Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, which has teams that produce multidisciplinary knowledge for the entire agri-food chain and policy in Merelbeke, Melle and Ostend. ILVO employs around 600 scientists and technicians with the ambition to make the marine sector, farmers and the horticulture industry, the food companies and their social entourage, more sustainable and increase liveability. There are knowledge hubs for, among other things, fisheries technology, aquaculture, marine impact studies, precision agriculture, spraying technology, agriculture/fisheries & climate, bio-economy, emission & odour and rural development. Many marine ILVO researchers in Ostend are internationally reputed or work on internationally structured science projects. The ILVO values are to be collaborative, exemplary and positive, proactive and professional.


Contact us

Filip Clarisse

communicatiemanager bij PMV

Inge Lauwers

marketingverantwoordelijke groep Van Roey

See also