Brilliant Marine Research Idea | Flanders Marine Institute

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Brilliant Marine Research Idea

VLIZ launches yearly a call for ‘Brilliant Marine Research Ideas’ intended to inspire and enable PhD students to execute a brilliant idea during their PhD within the frame of their research. VLIZ invites companies from the Blue Economy to sponsor a BMRI grant.

The grants are awarded to researchers affiliated to a Flemish University or Flemish University College with, at the time of application, less than 6 years of research experience at pre-doc level (i.e. since starting PhD research). With this BMRI grant, we hope to inspire and enable PhD students to explore and pan out a brilliant idea, an out of the box idea, an on the top research topic, but always framed within their ongoing marine research.  Each grant has a maximum fund of EUR 5.000.

For the call 2020, VLIZ philanthropy offered 2 BMRI grants. VLIZ philanthropy seeks to fund a marine research idea that can contribute to solving a hypothesis-based marine research question. Topics of interest are (amongst others) the themes identified in the philanthropy research agenda including pollution, ocean and human health, marine biodiversity, climate change, ocean related disasters and marine explorations.

For the call 2020 VLIZ invited for the first time companies from the Blue Economy to sponsor a BMRI grant. DEME nv was the first company to sponsor a BMRI grant. DEME is a world leader in the highly specialised fields of dredging, marine engineering and environmental remediation. The company can build on more than 140 years of know-how and experience and has fostered a pioneering approach throughout its history, being a front runner in innovation and new technologies. DEME’s vision is to work towards a sustainable future by offering solutions for global challenges: a rising sea level, a growing population, reduction of CO2 emissions, polluted rivers and soils and the scarcity of natural resources. Although DEME’s activities originated with the core dredging business, the portfolio diversified substantially over the decades, including dredging and land reclamation, solutions for the offshore energy market, infra marine solutions and environmental solutions.
Framed within the area of interest of the company, applicants for the DEME BMRI grant had to situate their research topic in engineering & technology, fisheries & aquaculture sciences, economics, or biological sciences. More details about the topics could be read in the call for proposals.

The overall budget available for the grants was (anno 2020) EUR 10.000 financed by VLIZ philanthropy and EUR 5.000 sponsored by DEME nv. Each grant has a maximum fund of EUR 5.000.

The grant can be used to assist PhD students in their lab and/or field work, data acquisition and analysis, visits to other institutes to use specialized facilities, acquisition of equipment or software needed for a certain analysis and so on. The fund cannot be used to reimburse the use of existing lab infrastructure within your university, for personnel costs, to pay for travel costs which amount to more than 50% of the grant or to attend conferences.

Find here the detailed ‘Call for proposals’ for a ‘Brilliant Marine Research Idea’ grant 2020 as well as the ‘BMRI Application form 2020’.

You could apply for the BMRI grants by sending following documents to

  • Application form (fixed format, download application form here)
  • CV (free format)
  • Form of consent from the student’s supervisor affiliated to a Flemish University or Flemish University College (free format)

The deadline for entering the competition was Friday 24 January 2020.

BMRI grant sponsored by companies

VLIZ philanthropy invites companies from the Blue Economy to sponsor a BMRI grant. The grant is an opportunity for the company to give a boost to research performed by young marine scientists.  On top, the company can give direction to the research theme. More detailed information (e.g. call 2020) about BMRI grants sponsored by companies can be read here (in Dutch). 


Winners ‘Brilliant Marine Research Idea’ grants 2020

  • Sarah Maes - Microbiome and diet turnover as a predictor of rapid environmental change in the Arctic Ocean
    KU Leuven - Laboratory of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Genomics
  • Luna van der Loos - Algal microbial interactions: beyond bacteria, let’s go viral
    UGent - Research Group Phycology
  • Bert Teunkens - Tracking marked plastic items on their journey through the Scheldt estuary, using the Permanent Belgian Acoustic Receiver Network (PBARN)
    UAntwerpen - ECOBE  Ecosystem Management Research Group
    This BMRI grant was sponsored by DEME


Winners ‘Brilliant Marine Research Idea’ grants 2019

Winners ‘Brilliant Marine Research Idea’ grants 2018


Winners ‘Brilliant Marine Research Idea’ grants 2017

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