MOONSHOT Governance

The governance of the moonshot initiative is embedded in the legal catalisti structure. The management of the moonshot initiative takes place on several levels. Click on the links below to read more. For additional detailed information on the Governance model of the moonshot initiative, please consult the Concept note in the downloads section.

Operational Management

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

Active prospecting of potential project ideas and active involvement of relevant actors and their competencies takes place in collaboration between the operational team and the moonshot core teams. More information in this regard can be found in the Concept note (available in the downloads section). The project selection procedure is based on the one that has been successfully implemented in recent years by the spearhead clusters. This “tollgate” procedure is shown schematically below.

Open innovation is central, aimed at close cooperation between the knowledge partners and a business drive that is based on the commitment of the companies. The procedure guarantees objectivity and openness to all stakeholders.

In consultation with VLAIO and the Cabinet Innovation, is has been decided to start with ‘acceleration projects’, which allow the build-up of critical mass around strategic research topics within the identified moonshot research trajectories (MOTs): short-term, sharply defined cluster SBOs (“sprint” cSBOs) . In addition, a limited budget will be used to accelerate research opportunities that have already proven their feasibility at low TRL. These initiatives are referred to as ‘Later Stage Innovation’ projects. The ‘tollgate’ procedure, respectively for cSBO and ‘Later Stage Innovation’ projects, is shown schematically below.

MOONSHOT core teams

In order to ensure high-quality content of the moonshot research trajectories, a core team with members from Flemish knowledge institutes, is nominated for each respective MOT that will take responsibility for the scientific implementation of the research trajectory. These core team members distinguish themselves on the basis of a number of criteria:

  • Relevant top expertise with regards to the topic
  • (Inter)national recognition
  • Complementarity of the expertise between the core members
  • Institutional balances and size of the parent institute
  • Expertise regarding the moonshot enablers

Within each core team, a spokesperson has been designated who acts as a point of contact. The core team is completed by the addition of a Catalisti-moonshot project manager. For the MOT-procedure, we specifically refer to the Concept note (available in the downloads section) Addendum.

Core team MOT ‘Bio-based 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 (catalisti)

Core team MOT ‘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 (catalisti)

Core team MOT ‘Electrification and radical process transformation’

  • Kevin Van Geem (UGent; expert chemical processing & process intensification)
  • Bert Bouwman (VITO; expert conversion technologies & techno economics)
  • Joeri Denayer (VUB; expert separation processes)
  • Luc Van Ginneken (catalisti)

Core team MOT ‘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 (catalisti)

MOONSHOT Governance Board (MGB)

The MGB is assigned

  • To monitor and support coordination, in first instance, with the Cabinet Innovation and Economy, but also to guarantee the relationship with other relevant cabinets and administrations;
  • To evaluate and stimulate moonshot initiatives within the set objective;
  • To evaluate the government’s compliance with the engagement and to consult with the government in the event of identified or necessary deviations;
  • To 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;
  • To evaluate the applicability in other sectors and to stimulate and initiate consultation with those sectors;
  • To follow up the regulatory framework and to discuss it with the government if necessary.

The moonshot Governance Board consists of a group of experienced business managers with a clear vision on the industry branches involved (initially the chemical, petrochemical, steel and energy producing industry), on the impact of climate objectives and on cross-sectoral importance for the Flemish economy.

Representatives of the industrial sectors:

  • Chemical: Peter Roose, Eastman
  • Petrochemical: Jacques Beuckelaers, Total; Jan Michielsens, Exxon Mobil
  • Steel: Manfred Van Vlierberghe, Arcelor Mittal
  • Energy: Jan Mertens, Engie

Presidents of the Spearhead clusters:

  • catalisti: Wouter De Geest
  • Flux50: Jan Jaeken
  • De Blauwe Cluster: Geert Noels
  • SIM: Karin Vercauteren
  • Flanders Food: Jan Vander Stichele
  • VIL: Danny Van Himste


  • observer of the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO): Mark Andries or Annie Renders
  • observer of 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.

Secretary and organization: catalisti Managing Director, Jan Van Havenbergh (observer)

Scientific Advisory Board (WAR)

Based on the preparatory work of the operational team, and in line with the results of the Context analysis/Roadmap study, projects and initiatives will be set up together with the Flemish knowledge partners and the MOT operational structure. In order to be able to assess both scientific and economic relevance, quality and uniqueness (via a proven procedure within the SPCs), the Governance Board is advised by a Scientific Advisory Board, consisting of a number of permanent renowned experts, ad hoc and if necessary, in line with the VLAIO evaluation procedure, supported with subject-specific experts.

  • It is decided to involve 7 scientific experts, 3 of which with a business background, in the moonshot. Knowledge of the relevant sectors and CO2 issues are a requirement here.
  • The WAR is assisted by ad hoc experts with specific scientific knowledge in the relevant research area of the project proposals.
  • Starting September 15th 2019, the Scientific Advisory Board has the following members:
    • Industrial experts: Rudolf Koopmans, Tony Van Osselaer and Erik Van Praet
    • Flemish academix experts: Guy Marin and Ronnie Belmans
    • International academic experts: Hans Kuipers (TU Eindhoven) and Katrien Bernaerts (U Maastricht)

The evaluation of project proposals is the responsibility of the WAR and is explained in more detail in the moonshot Concept note.



Stakeholder Consultation Group

The moonshot initiative aims to make a significant contribution to the technologies that focus on climate objectives. In view of the broad social importance, it is therefore advisable to set up a consultative body that on the one hand provides an information platform for the activities and ambitions of the moonshot for the Flemish industry and, on the other hand, aims to achieve this through constructive dialogue ensuring broad support for the current moonshot trajectories. Possible members of this Stakeholder Consultation Group may include: BBL, VOKA, VARIO, VLIR, industry federations (such as Agoria, essenscia, Fevia), SOCs, Cabinets (Innovation, Energy, Environment), dept. EWI and VLAIO. This Stakeholder Consultation Group meets once a year.

For additional information on the moonshot initiative, please consult the Concept note in the downloads section.