The governance model of the Moonshot initiative guarantees optimal cooperation with all relevant actors across the Flemish innovation and industry landscapes. It is embedded in the legal structure of Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for the chemical and plastics industry in Flanders.

In practice, the governance model and operational management of the Moonshot initiative takes place on several levels. Click on the governance levels below to learn more.

Operational Management

Catalisti is responsible for the operational management of the Moonshot initiative. In a Memorandum of Understanding signed on March 23rd 2019, the Flemish government mandated Catalisti to act as its driving force and develop the Moonshot initiative organisationally, substantively, strategically and operationally.

As the host organization, Catalisti has set up a ‘Moonshot operational team’ and extended the project procedure it successfully uses today to include Moonshot projects. Based on the general objectives, the high-level ambitions and – at a later stage – the input from the context analysis/roadmap, concrete project ideas are identified and brokered by the Moonshot operational team in close collaboration with knowledge institutes, MOT core teams and other partners. This approach guarantees objectivity and openness to all stakeholders. The Catalisti Board of Directors is responsible for selecting promising project ideas that can be further developed into concrete project proposals. For energy-related project ideas (MOT4), the Flux50 Board of Directors takes up this responsibility.

Governance facilitation and the follow-up of approved projects is also one of the primary tasks of the Moonshot operational team. This team ensures that the projects are carried out in a high-quality manner and that research results find their way into applications across the Flemish industry.

Within the Moonshot initiative, an operational budget is allocated to Catalisti to guarantee follow-up, evaluation, benchmarking and communication.

Learn more about Catalisti’s role in the Moonshot initiative

Moonshot Core Teams & Pools

To ensure high-quality research within the MOONSHOT research trajectories (MOTs), each MOT is supported by a MOT core team. This core team is responsible for the scientific implementation of its respective research trajectory.

Furthermore, each MOT core team:

  • actively prospects potential project ideas and engages all players with relevant experience and expertise in the broad innovation landscape;
  • inventorises and documents all project ideas in a comprehensive format (so-called four-liners);
  • assesses how project ideas might contribute to reaching the main Moonshot objectives and the MOT-specific goals;
  • formulates, in consensus and based on the above assessment, a short appreciation of each project idea as input for the Catalisti and Flux50 Boards of Directors.

Each MOT core team consists of 3 to 4 experts from Flemish universities and other knowledge institutes. These experts are (inter)nationally recognized by their fellow researchers for their expertise with regards to the Moonshot enablers and the relevant research trajectory. In composing the core teams, complementarity of expertise between the core members and institutional balances were also taken into account.

Within each core team, a spokesperson has been designated who acts as a point of contact. The MOT spokesperson communicates the vision and views of his or her MOT to external parties and stakeholders or to other Moonshot governance levels. In the overview below, spokespersons are listed in bold.

Additionally, each core team is supported by a dedicated representative of the Moonshot operational team. Together with the spokesperson, this representative provides guidance in the activities and deliverables of his or her MOT.

Currently, the four MOT core teams consist of the following members:

MOT1 Biobased Chemistry

  • Bert Sels (KU Leuven; expert heterogeneous catalysis & biomass conversion)
  • Karolien Vanbroekhoven (VITO; expert separation & TEA)
  • Wim Soetaert (UGent/BBEUPP; expert biocatalysis & fermentation)
  • Bert Maes (UAntwerpen; expert homogeneous catalysis & biomass conversion)
  • Isabelle Monnaie (Moonshot operational team)

MOT2 Circularity of Carbon in Materials

  • Filip Du Prez (UGent; expert polymer chemistry & ‘design for recycling’)
  • Isabel De Schrijver (Centexbel; expert plastics)
  • Louis Pitet (UHasselt; expert bio-based polymers)
  • Dirk De Vos (KU Leuven; expert chemical recycling)
  • Wannes Libbrecht (Moonshot operational team)

MOT3 Electrification and Radical Process Transformation

  • Kevin Van Geem (UGent; expert chemical processing & process intensification)
  • Bert Bouwman (VITO; expert conversion technologies & technoeconomics)
  • Joeri Denayer (VUB; expert separation processes)
  • Luc Van Ginneken (Moonshot operational team)

MOT4 Energy Innovation

  • Johan Martens (KU Leuven; expert solar fuels)
  • Lieve Helsen (KU Leuven; expert thermal networks)
  • Michel De Paepe (UGent; expert heat and combustion dynamics)
  • Jan Vaes (VITO; expert P-2-X)
  • Jeroen van Walsem (Moonshot operational team)

Each MOT core team is complemented by a MOT pool. This pool is an active network of mostly Flemish academic experts in the field of the respective MOT. It connects the MOT core team to all other academic players with relevant experience and expertise. MOT pools meet regularly to network, brainstorm and pitch project ideas. In short, MOT pools are the basis for new project proposals under the umbrella of the Moonshot initiative.

Interested in sharing your expertise and joining the pool of a particular MOT? Please contact the dedicated representative of the Moonshot operational team.

Moonshot Governance Board

The Moonshot Governance Board (MGB) independently monitors the strategy and vision of the Moonshot initiative. It also approves finalized Moonshot project proposals for submission to the relevant decision-making bodies.

Furthermore, the MGB is assigned to:

  • monitor and support coordination, in first instance, with the Cabinet Innovation and Economy, but also guarantee the relationship with other relevant cabinets and administrations;
  • evaluate and stimulate Moonshot initiatives within the set objective;
  • evaluate the government’s compliance with the engagement and consult with the government in the event of identified or necessary deviations;
  • safeguard the pursuit of fundamental breakthroughs in basic research, the accelerated upscaling of promising technologies and the transfer to economic actors, via the regular (spearhead cluster) channels to achieve implementation in industry in the short term;
  • evaluate the applicability in other sectors and stimulate and initiate consultation with those sectors;
  • follow up the regulatory framework and discuss it with the government if necessary.

The MGB consists of a broad group of business managers, CEOs and other executives. Members of the MGB have expertise in the three industry sectors involved in the Moonshot initiative and/or experience with cross-sectoral cooperation within the Flemish industrial landscape.

Representatives of the industrial sectors

  • Chemicals: Peter Roose, Eastman
  • Petrochemicals: Jacques Beuckelaers, Total; Jan Michielsen, ExxonMobil
  • Steel and iron: Manfred Van Vlierberghe, ArcelorMittal
  • Energy: Jan Mertens, Engie

Presidents of the Flemish spearhead clusters

  • Catalisti: Wouter De Geest
  • Flux50: Jan Jaeken
  • De Blauwe Cluster: Jos Smits
  • SIM: Karin Vercauteren
  • Flanders FOOD: Jan Vander Stichele
  • VIL: Danny Van Himste

Representatives of the Flemish government

  • observer for the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO): Mark Andries or Annie Renders
  • observer for the Department of Economy, Science and Innovation (EWI): Johan Hanssens

Representatives of the sector federations

  • essenscia: Frank Beckx
  • Representatives of other sector federations are invited ad hoc.

The MGB meets at least twice a year. Meetings of the MGB are moderated by Jan Van Havenbergh, Catalisti’s managing director and manager of the Moonshot operational team, who acts as observing member and secretary to the MGB.

Learn more about the MGB’s role in the Moonshot project evaluation procedure

Scientific Advisory Board

The Scientific Advisory Board (Wetenschappelijke AdviesRaad or WAR) provides independent, scientific evaluations of Moonshot project proposals. In practice, the WAR advises the MGB so its members can assess both the scientific and economic relevance, quality and uniqueness of Moonshot project proposals.

The WAR consists of a number of renowned experts with knowledge of CO2-related issues and of the three industry sectors involved in the Moonshot initiative.

From September 15th 2019 onwards, the following experts constitute the WAR:

  • Rudolf Koopmans, Tony Van Osselaer and Erik Van Praet as industrial experts
  • Guy Marin and Ronnie Belmans as Flemish academic experts
  • Hans Kuipers (Technische Universiteit Eindhoven) and Katrien Bernaerts (Universiteit Maastricht) as international academic experts

In evaluating Moonshot project proposals, the WAR is assisted by ad hoc experts with specific scientific knowledge in the relevant research area of a particular project proposal.

Learn more about the WAR’s role in the Moonshot project evaluation procedure

Stakeholder Consultation Group

As the Moonshot initiative is a collaborative and community-wide programme that includes governmental, industrial and academic players, support from all stakeholders is key.

Therefore, a Stakeholder Consultation Group will be assembled. This consultative body will meet once a year, will provide an information platform to highlight the activities and ambitions of the Moonshot initiative, and will ensure, through constructive dialogue, broad support for the current Moonshot research trajectories (MOTs).

Possible members of this Stakeholder Consultation Group may include Bond Beter Leefmilieu, VOKA, VARIO, VLIR, industry federations (such as Agoria, essenscia and Fevia), SOCs, governmental departments and agencies (such as EWI and VLAIO), as well as ministerial cabinets (such as Innovation, Energy and Environment).

For more information on the governance model of the Moonshot initiative, please consult the Moonshot Concept Note in the Documents & Downloads section.