Last year, the brand-new innovation hub Campus@Sea was introduced to the city of The Hague. It focuses on ocean-related innovation. The campus was brought to life by the Municipality of The Hague and the Province of Zuid-Holland. Together, they observe the opportunities the ocean has to offer to contribute to facing today’s societal questions, such as the need for sustainable energy and food security. They make a point out of creating the conditions to facilitate innovative parties in the business, research, and educational realms to focus on ocean-related innovation for a better world.
The Scheveningen-based innovation hub is entering a new phase soon as it will start scaling its activities. On April 1st, its online presence and community will be launched. Additionally, the number of partners and projects is being expanded in order to turn the public-private collaboration into a successful one. “The Hague, and the surrounding coastal area, has the potential to grow into a national hotspot for innovation in and around the sea. Access to a space in which entrepreneurs and researchers can come together and experiment is a precondition for success. Campus@Sea catalyzes this process,” says Adri Bom-Lemstra, Deputy of the Province of Zuid-Holland.
In the framework of Campus@Sea, the Municipality of The Hague and the Province of Zuid-Holland bring together networks that are working on innovations in the ocean and its surrounding coastal area. Campus@Sea is not just a physical space; more so, it represents a network of networks that boosts sustainable innovation in and around the ocean. What’s more, it offers space for much needed practical experimentation.
While climate adaptation, energy transition and the conservation of biodiversity receive ever more attention, the ocean is increasingly looked at as a way to face these societal challenges. “The ocean is increasingly becoming part of the puzzle in the societal transitions that are required of us. Think of wind parks, but much more is possible. At the same time, there is an increased need to protect the ocean. In the Province of Zuid-Holland, with its extended coastline, it’s only logical to look at the opportunities the ocean offers and think of ways to use them in our best interest,” according to Bom-Lemstra.
The Netherlands sports no less than sixteen seaports. The Scheveningen port is one of the smaller ones, which appears to be of added value in the context of innovative experimentation. It is unable to house largescale logistical operations, but offers the ideal size for knowledge intensive activities. The ocean imposes entirely different requirements. That’s why technologies that are functional on land need intensive review to make them suitable for use in the ocean. What’s more, the ocean offers entirely different opportunities, such as water-based energy generation by making use of waves, tides, and water flow. “The Scheveningen port offers the perfect starting point. It is big enough for proper research and experimentation. Also, it offers an open connection to the sea, without locks in between, which makes it easy and quick to enter open sea for experimentation,” says Saskia Bruines, Alderman at the City of The Hague.
“The ocean right by The Hague offers two test areas. One of them has been entirely closed off for shipping traffic in order to protect vulnerable experimentation, for example related to seaweed cultivation. The second test area is used to collect data. Both test areas are located right in front of the city and can be reached by boat in 75 minutes,” emphasizes Bruines.
Also, The Hague’s position vis-à-vis the overall ecosystem is of much added value. The Hague is close to the city of Delft and its renowned technical university, TNO, and other relevant knowledge institutes. Also, the presence of the central government makes for much dynamism. “The region offers everything needed. It allows for relevant parties to locate each other at an early stage. Due to physical proximity, policy makers and entrepreneurs are able to connect easily. As our multiple use of the ocean increases over time, governmental direction at sea will have to increase alongside. All responsible parties are available within short distance,” Bom-Lemstra says.
“The ocean will play an important part in the energy, climate, and food transitions that are required of us,” Bruines concludes. “There is no other city in The Netherlands that offers the opportunities that the internationally oriented city of The Hague offers. Campus@Sea carries a promise that is unmatched in the world.”
Take a look at the new website of Campus@Sea: www.campusatsea.nl.