Ghent University to open maritime research centre in South Korea

The South Korean government will pay the University of Ghent (UGent) 5 million euros to open a maritime research centre in the port city of Incheon. The Asian country wants to gather more scientific knowledge about biodiversity along its thousands of kilometres of coastline, islands and the sea.

Local industry is interested in building wind farms and harnessing tidal energy, and South Korea has important nature reserves comparable to the Wadden Sea. "They also have a huge algae aquaculture," says UGent professor Jana Asselman. "That's a research topic that is also booming here."

"These young researchers will be supervised by top experts at UGent"

UGent is sending 15 scientists to its first "branch institute", who the university will recruit locally and internationally. "These young researchers will be supervised by top experts at UGent," Asselman said.

The new campus, fully funded by the South Korean government, will research everything marine. "What fish live there? What medicines do we get from the sea? Where do we put wind turbines? What are the rights of ships at sea?" said Asselman. The aim is for UGent scientists to benefit from South Korean research and to have easy access to the surrounding area.

The South Korean ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy approved the project and funding before the summer. The new offices and laboratories of UGent's South Korean subsidiary will be set up early next year.

South Korea was impressed by the results of Marine@UGent, an interfaculty consortium set up 10 years ago, when the university brought together all the disciplines related to maritime sciences, uniting 40 research groups. This knowledge cluster has grown to 72 research groups, spread over 10 faculties, with more than 500 researchers.


#FlandersNewsService | South Korea, Muuido Island, Muui, near Incheon © PHOTO BELPRESS

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