Published on 18 March 2019

Transforming offshore infrastructures into ecological hubs

We started developing the idea of a tailor-made nature inclusive design within the Plus+ Innovation programme. A year on, and we already have one finished project on nature inclusive design, a happy client and a several potential follow-ups!  

However, a year ago the product was still only roughly outlined. Together with my colleagues, I was just finishing a spatial study for the offshore wind development, and the idea to use offshore projects to aid the ecology sprung out naturally. We knew what the pains of our potential clients are and what their gains could be. The only thing we were still doubting was how to offer our knowledge to them. We thought of the supermarket catalogues - well not literally, obviously, but the idea that you can choose what you like and can afford. How cool would it be to have something similar for the offshore infrastructure, where one can pick and choose the best-fitted nature inclusive design for the project? 

Long story short, the idea for the nature inclusive design for offshore development came to life. It was not an easy start. We had to work hard to define our idea and adjust it to the market. But we were also lucky (or skilful) to get our first real project on nature inclusive design and test our idea in practice. 

A team like ours, with a lot of different experience and knowledge, helps to create a robust product. We learned that innovation is about connecting, not inventing. Now we can say that our innovation is in offering an expert advice on the process of getting from an ecological design intent to the results in the field. There is still work to do, this is also a learning by doing process. But we are on the right track. And as an ecologist, I am happy that my work can contribute to the regeneration of the North Sea ecosystem.

Team Nature Inclusive Design: Annemiek Hermans, Wouter Gotjé, Elisabeth Ruijgrok, Emiel van Druten, Ivana Prusina

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Ivana Prusina

Marine ecologist and biologist