Being innovative & adaptive by nature, IMDC has thrived by projecting the global trends and facing its challenges for about 40 years. By combining its body of knowledge and expertise with creative thinking and state-of-the-art technology, IMDC converts applied research to innovative and site-specific solutions. IMDC not only offers new and innovative solutions to the clients, but also invests in its innovation portfolio to be ready for the challenges of the uncertain future.

From applied research to solutions on the ground 

The socio-economic development of the world, which is threatened by anthropogenic climate change, is governed for the most part by three main guidelines: IPCC reports, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Sendai Disaster Risk Reduction Framework. The intersection of these three guidelines is Water: the core Business of IMDC. 

IMDC has identified the following areas of expertise to be crucial to face the challenges of the future and has developed an innovation road map for them: 

  • Data Science: The amount data collected around the world in different projects are overwhelming and IMDC is making them understandable by pushing the boundaries of data science. IMDC has a strong track record in offering Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence solutions to the clients by managing big datasets and all information that can be extracted from them. 
  • Nature Based Solutions: Where ecology meets engineering. Building with Nature and Ecosystem Services are part of the IMDC portfolio. Nature is the largest and longest running R&D lab, so it can serve as the best guideline to provide solutions that make the services that nature provides an integral part of the design of (hydraulic) infrastructures, creating benefit for nature and society. From rehabilitation of floodplains, Room for the River management to coastal management for Climate Resilient Coast, IMDC keeps looking to find holistic, ecosystem based approaches and gets awarded for doing so. 
  • Offshore Renewable energy: The offshore renewable energy market is innovation-driven and combines a challenging environment with a cost-driven industry. IMDC is part of the Offshore Energy Cluster in Flanders, and has challenged standards of cable burial depth definitions and scour protection designs for monopile wind turbine foundations. Our third European project with a consortium of European research institutes, Se@Ports, deals with a feasibility study for small Wave Energy Convertors in port infrastructure. 
  • Integrated efficient modelling: The combination of climate change impacts, degradation of ecosystem services, and heavy human utilization of the low elevation coastal zones (LECZ’s), will very likely lead to massive socio-economic and environmental losses in the coming decades. Effective integrated planning/management strategies that can help circumvent such losses require reliable local scale (<~ 10 km) projections resulting from the integrated effect of climate change impact drivers, ecosystem evolution and anthropological interventions. Presently models are unable to adequately fulfil this need. A new generation of multi-scale, aggregated, probabilistic models is urgently needed to comprehensively assess and optimise risk at local scale, enabling risk informed, climate proof adaptation measures that strike a good balance between risk and reward. 
  • Hydro-Informatics for decision making and public engagement: IMDC develops online web services with open-source technology and standards so we can serve our customers in real-time, online with the most recent information using the latest technology. The Synapps architecture of IMDC and its micro-services approach allow for quick setup of tailor-made apps and tools, from dynamic reports, calculation apps and online data viewers to complex forecasting and decision support systems like Ecopam. The same tools can be used to engage communities in a multiway communication and empower them in being part of the decision making aiming at solving the upcoming problems.

IMDC is active in multiple Specialist Committees, Innovation Clusters and professional organisations like CEDA, PIANC, ICE, Blue Cluster, IBN-OE & OWI LAB. Several staff members are affiliated to knowledge institutes around the world and multiple MSc, and PhD students are doing their research in IMDC exploring new horizons, and have won awards from Tractebel, CEDA, IAHR and PIANC. 

IMDC continuously supports innovation through internal and joint research and innovative commercial projects that are supported by the management as one of the key features of the company strategy.