Ghent University was founded in 1817. It is one of the major universities in the Dutch-speaking region of Europe and distinguishes itself as a socially committed and pluralistic institution in a broad international perspective. The University offers high-quality, research-based education in all academic disciplines, and attracts over 32,000 students in its eleven faculties, including a large international student population. Since many years, Ghent University has strived to be a pioneer in the implementation of European educational and research projects, and the eight Erasmus Mundus Master Courses it offers in 2010 are proof to the university’s experience in intensive international collaboration.
Ghent University is well known for its marine benthic ecology laboratory and use of biodiversity measurements for policy (EU-ENCORA, MarBEF Themes 3, …); for its taxonomic expertise of benthic organisms and biology of protists, and for a strong European research collaboration in deep-sea research and extreme environments. Since 2001 it is organizing an international Master programme on Marine and Lacustrine sciences (MARELAC), since 2008 it is coordinating the Erasmus Mundus MSc programme in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (EMBC). UGent has a variety of research facilities and modern methodologies, and offers at regular times also specialized trainings on PhD level. Ghent was chosen by the MARES network to coordinate this new programme.