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Blue energy


Howest Energy management searches for creative solutions on energy efficiency and optimization of electrical and  thermal energy flows via smart innovative control strategies. The main focus  is the integration of advanced metering, reliable data capture systems, automated data processing, integration of (smart/IoT) sensor technologies, data storage (via cloud or local), analysing and visualization via dashboards and the integration of renewable systems  with or without storage both for big companies, SME’s, office buildings or residential homes.


The research group Coastal and Geotechnical Engineering at KU Leuven, Bruges Campus, focusses on the interaction between environmental loads (wind, wave, current) on floating devices, including its foundation on the seabed. Numerical models are deployed on realistic floating structures such as floating wind turbines, offshore installation vessels, etc. in a CFD based numerical basin. In addition, experimental modelling will be carried out using the coastal and offshore basin (COB) in Ostend, of which KU Leuven is partner (together with UGent and Flanders Hydraulics Research). The M-Group (Mechatronics Group) at KU Leuven Bruges Campus can bring expertise on the optimal control and the overall dependability of mechanical, electrical, electronic and programmable electronic components in Blue Energy Systems.


The Coastal Engineering Research Group (CERG-UGent) is an international player in the field of Blue Energy with its pioneering research tools. CERG-UGent focuses on the research topics of wave and tidal energy, and offshore floating wind turbines and other floating structures, and is pioneer in investigating parks of energy devices. Our integrated approach is based on numerical and experimental modelling, and field measurements. For this purpose we develop a range of numerical models and instrumentation, while our access to infrastructure includes the ‘wave & current flume’ at the Technologiepark Campus Ghent, the ‘Blue Accelerator test site’ in the Ostend harbour, and the ‘Coastal & Ocean wave & current Basin’ at the UGent Campus Ostend.


The Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) is a centre for marine and coastal research. Its mission is to promote the accumulation of marine knowledge and excellence in marine research in Flanders. The marine research areas are the ocean and seas, the coast and the tidal systems. The target groups for knowledge accumulation are the marine research community as well as educational institutions, the general public, policymakers and the industry (within the scope of the blue economy). VLIZ disposes of a dedicated research vessel and large-scale (sea-going) research infrastructure (marine robotics, sampling equipment, sensor networks, etc.).


With its expertise centre on Smart Technologies, VIVES can tackle the various aspects related to blue energy in a multidisciplinary way with a focus on smart, sustainable and resilient technologies. By implementing applied research with expertise in sustainable technologies, IoT, AI and eco-design, we try to find the most environmentally friendly solutions. Management skills to analyse and balance products and solutions, not only from a technological point of view, but also from an ecological, economic, legal and social ethical perspective are present. Particular focus at Blue Energy are practice-oriented research on the inspection and maintenance of offshore installations by means of drones and the possibility of energy storage by means of hydrogen.

Healthcare Economy

KU Leuven

The academic research at KU Leuven campus Kulak Kortrijk and campus Bruges takes place at an international level, closely linked to KU Leuven centers and embedded in (inter)national networks. Spearheads in healthcare are healthy high-fat food products, thrombosis and bleeding, disorders of the nervous system and musculoskeletal system, in vivo dosimetry for radiation therapy, data mining for medicine and epidemiology, and forms of cooperation between profit and social profit.


Healthcare at Howest focuses on 3 spearheads:

  • Prevention and healthy lifestyle: exercise and health coaching, vital aging (eg prevention of social isolation in the elderly), vital cities, schools and workplaces, technology for health (health tech, data), nutrition and allergies.
  • The person behind the professional: moral stress and ethics in healthcare, moral resilience to prevent burnout.
  • Healthcare enriched with technology and data: co-creation, frugal innovation, maker health, D4E1 (Design for everyone), innovative training in healthcare (including simulation education and virtual clients).

Research at UGent in the field of health care focuses on 3 spearheads:

  • Methodological user research and user-centered design for the detection of needs and wishes and designs of (digital) product interfaces.
  • Design and digital (customized) production of personalized products (based on individual parameters of the users).
  • Designing new devices within the hospital context that meet the ergonomic, medical and technological requirements of the stakeholders.

VIVES responds to the challenges and new dynamics in the healthcare landscape. In its expertise center for healthcare innovation, VIVES develops practical knowledge about the application of new technologies in healthcare. In collaboration with companies and the social profit, tailor-made solutions are developed and implemented. VIVES' research in the field of healthcare is situated in the following areas: health, patient participation, seniors, simulation education, care, care in education and care technology.


Flanders' FOOD

Flanders’ FOOD is a unique, strategy-driven platform for the facilitation of innovation. Thereby contributing to a more competitive, innovative and sustainable agro-food industry. Flanders’ FOOD levers the innovation capacity of the agro-food companies by enhancing their scientific and technological knowledge by means of an integrated approach of knowledge creation and dissemination, and partner matching.


The cluster Biomedical Laboratory Technology of Howest transfers a lot of knowledge to the food sector. The study programme focuses on allergen research in food in collaboration with (international) partners. In addition, routine analyses in food and/or small projects are carried out in collaboration with industrial partners.


Inagro is an important knowledge partner for the West Flemish agrofood industry. In its research, Inagro focuses in its research on quality, sustainability and safety of primary products as raw material for food, both in conventional and organic production. A second pilar of expertise focuses on the production of new, innovative raw materials for food (new crops, insects, aquaculture) and the development of the related production chains. Inagro is well equipped in its ISO 17025 accredited lab to analyse heavy metals in a wide range of food products, as a specific service for the food industry.


Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) conducts multidisciplinary and independent research towards sustainable agriculture, fisheries and food. ILVO research builds the fundamental and applied knowledge required, among others, for improving production methods and for monitoring the quality and safety of finished products. In Ostend, ILVO has a research group dedicated to fisheries, aquaculture and the aquatic ecosystem. This includes monitoring of the safety, quality and sustainability of the maritime environment as well as fish, crustaceans and shellfish destined for human consumption. In the Food Pilot, ILVO offers food companies the possibility to test new technologies or new recipes on a semi-industrial scale before proceeding with full-scale industrial production.

KU Leuven

The Food & Lipids research group at KU Leuven campus Kulak Kortrijk is a member of LForce. The research group concentrates its research on the lipid fraction of food stuff, with the aim to contribute to the production of healthier fat rich  foods without compromising the taste or the technological functionality. On the one hand, lipids are often under pressure from a health conscious point of view but on the other hand they are essential for the sensory, nutritional and technological properties of fat rich food products. A first research line focuses on new sources of nutritionally interesting lipids with a focus on omega-3 fatty acids from microalgae. Special attention is being paid to the oxidative and lipolytic stability of the lipids. A second research line deals with fat crystallisation. We study alternative crystallisation monitoring techniques, the influence of crystallization on the technological properties of fat rich food products and the effects of changing to composition to healthier lipids.


The research group VEG-i-TEC at UGent Campus Kortrijk is a member of Food2Know. The research group focuses on 3 research lines: 1/ Fermentation 2/ Valorisation and characterisation of by-products 3/ Sustainable design of (bio)chemical and plant-based processing processes; and process water treatment to maintain or improve the chemical, microbiological and nutritional quality and safety. To enable analysis on a pilot scale, UGent Campus Kortrijk is constructing the research and expertise center VEG-i-TEC. VEG-i-TEC provides test facilities for applied research, training and demonstrations for the vegetable and potato processing industry (from harvested product to packaged product) and water treatment. Through this living lab UGent Campus Kortrijk wants to stimulate, realise and implement innovation in this way.


With its practical, problem-solving research, expert advice and specific training, VIVES aims to be a driving force for innovation in the food sector. VIVES’ Expertise Center for Agro and Biotechnology focuses on:

  • Product development: for specific target groups (including seniors, people with swallowing problems, …); with insects as an alternative protein source; with sidestreams for the agro-food industry.
  • Use of microwave technology for industrial applications.

New materials


As a collective center of and for the technology industry, Sirris has years of experience in designing, processing and process optimisation of (thermoplastic) polymers, composites and hybrid structures, 3D printing and circular economy, in combination with a high-tech test infrastructure. Sirris supports companies from the concept phase of a (smart) product to a proof of concept and a working prototype, ready to continue industrialisation.


Centexbel-VKC supports the industry by providing specialised tests, error analyses, technological and environmental advice, innovation support and research projects. End-of life is an important theme. Attention is paid to the characterisation of polymers, the recycling of thermoplastic polymers and thermoset composites, and the upgrading of polymer mixtures via compatibilisation.


The Howest Industrial Design Center (IDC) focuses - amongst other things - on the optimal use of recyclates in production. Setting up test series, 3D printing of molds and researching new production possibilities lead to design guidelines for circular product designs and economics. In addition, the research at Howest IDC strongly focuses on Hybrid Prototyping, small series production and the use of AR/VR in the design process.

KU Leuven

ProPoliS research group at KU Leuven Campus Brugge focuses on the employability of new sustainable materials, taking into account the interaction between material properties, processing parameters and mechanical performance. Numerical simulations allows a reduced time-to-market. The Renewable Materials and Nanotechnology Research Group at KU Leuven Campus Kulak Kortrijk carries out fundamental and applied research in the development of (nano)materials from renewable sources. Its interdisciplinary research combines and applies knowledge from the molecular level (chemistry), over processing (chemical engineering) to characterisation of the obtained materials (materials science) with constant feedback between the different levels. This allows a thorough raw material and material optimisation for existing and innovative products.


The Department Green Chemistry and Technology of UGent Campus Kortrijk focuses on the implementation of more sustainable technologies in industry with a strong emphasis on resource recovery. The department works on separation processes with focussing on up-scaling and optimization of waste to resource technologies. The Center for Polymer and Materials Technology at UGent investigates different aspects of mechanical recycling, such as processing of mixed plastics, influence of pollution and degradation, modeling the quality of a complex plastic recycled material and Design from Recycling. The other departments from MaTCh also hold expertise on composites, textiles and polymers More information: /


The VIVES plastics processing research group specialises in the latest production techniques, and converts them optimally into practice. VIVES helps companies to design, start up, optimise and test plastic products and their processing processes.


Catalisti stimulates sustainable innovations in chemistry and plastics by setting up intensive and cross-sectoral partnerships between small and large companies, knowledge institutions and government organisations.

Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics

Flanders' Make

Flanders Make is a strategic research center for the manufacturing industry that stimulates open innovation through high-quality research. By bringing together companies and research institutions, Flanders Make helps to realize concrete product and production innovations in the vehicle industry, in machine building and in production environments. In 2018, Flanders Make opened a satellite office in Kortrijk, with a focus on supporting manufacturing companies in production-related research and innovation in order to improve and strengthen their production processes.



Howest’s Technology lab ‘Augmented & virtual reality’ focuses on the implementation of  Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) within Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics. Among other things, concepts such as operator training in VR, or maintenance applications in AR are being built. In this lab, researchers investigate together with companies what these new technologies mean in het value chain of a company or which prototypes can be developed.

KU Leuven

KU Leuven has 2 innovation labs within the Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics Competence Center: ‘The Industry 4.0 Machine’ and ‘The Ultimate Factory’.  ‘The Industry 4.0 Machine’ focuses on cyber physical systems and reliability, with the aim of converting machines and vehicles into connected and (semi-) autonomous cyber physical systems. ‘The Ultimate Factory’ focuses on innovation in Industry 4.0 oriented production. This concept factory consists of a number of self-configurable plug and run systems and functions as a testing ground to implement radically new disruptive innovations from Industry 4.0 in a simple way.


In the Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics Competence Center, Sirris focuses on flexible automation concepts and self-learning systems for flexible and adaptive workplaces. In the  flexible assembly lab, researchers investigate how new technologies can support the operator to optimize assembly and how they can reduce the operator’s cognitive and ergonomic burden.


In the Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics Competence Center, the smart production organization lab of UGent focuses on the simplification of logistics and a drastic reduction of the lead time within a production environment with small series and high complexity and / or variety.


VIVES’ Make Lab is an industrially relevant production environment to use the metadata of a 3D-CAD model (MBD) on a limited scale and to demonstrate and validate them in a production process. This lab focuses on the introduction of new technologies for the manufacturing industry in West Flanders, and offers research and services for additive manufacturing activities.