Secretariat | European Marine Board


The EMB Secretariat supports the day-to-day operations of the European Marine Board, advance EMB objectives and promote the Board’s activities and outputs. The five full-time staff members are based on the coast, in the Belgian city of Ostend (contact). The team is strengthened periodically by interns and also accepts ad hoc applications.

   Sheila Heymans
   Executive Director

   Phone: +32 (0) 59 34 01 53

Sheila Heymans (PhD 1997) has a background in Zoology, marine ecosystem modelling and the environmental impacts of fisheries and ecosystem change. She joined the European Marine Board from the Scottish Association for Marine Science where she was the Head of the Science Department (2007-2017). She became Professor in Ecosystem Modelling at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) in 2017. She obtained her degrees from the University of Port Elizabeth (now Nelson Mandela University) in South Africa working on food-web models of South African estuaries and the Northern Benguela ecosystem, before moving to the USA (University of Maryland) to complete a Post-Doctoral study at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory (1999-2000) on the changes in the Everglades. She then moved to the Fisheries Centre of the University of British Columbia where she was a research fellow (2000-2006) working on the Newfoundland fisheries and the decline of Steller sea lions before moving to Scotland. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology in the UK and has a publication record spanning the past 3 decades. Find Sheila on Google Scholar, Research Gate, Linkedin and Twitter: @sheilaheymans


Kate LarkinKate Larkin
Senior Science Officer

Phone: +32 (0) 59 34 01 56

Kate Larkin (PhD 2006) has a multidisciplinary background, gaining a degree in Natural Sciences (University of Birmingham, UK) before training as a marine biogeochemist at the University of Southampton, UK. She continued her scientific research at the National Oceanography Centre, UK with research interests including benthic carbon cycling and ocean time-series. She later held project management roles for National and European ocean observation projects. As Deputy Head of the EMB Secretariat, Kate provides management support to the Executive Director on all aspects of the EMB work programme in addition to scientific activities. Find Kate on Research Gate , LinkedIn  and Twitter: @larkin_kate.


 Joke Coopman
Executive and Finance Officer

Phone: +32 (0) 59 34 01 63

Joke Coopman joined the European Marine Board in January 2017. She holds a Masters in Economic Sciences from Ghent University and an Advanced Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy from the University of Antwerp. She has worked several years as a policy advisor on energy security and implementation of EU energy directives for the Belgian Energy Administration. Before joining EMB, she worked as a financial analyst for a major energy utility company. As Executive and Finance Officer Joke coordinates a number of core Secretariat activities and day-to-day Secretariat operations.


Paula Kellett
Science Officer

Phone: +32 (0) 59 34 01 54

Paula Kellett (PhD 2014) joined the European Marine Board in 2016. She originally gained an MEng degree in Naval Architecture and Small Craft Engineering from University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Her PhD research, also carried out at University of Strathclyde, focused on the underwater noise emitted by ships, its impact on marine life and potential means of control. As a Research Associate, she was also involved in a multi-disciplinary collaborative project between marine science and engineering related to underwater noise, as well as research into marine biofouling, energy efficiency and ship maneuvering. Find Paula on Research Gate  and LinkedIn.


Ángel E. Muñiz Piniella
Science Officer

Phone: +32 (0)59 34 01 70

Ángel E. Muñiz Piniella obtained his marine science degree from the University of Vigo, Spain with specialization on biogeochemistry and marine pollution. He has, in addition, a Masters in Marine and Lacustrine Science and Management with specialization on environmental impacts and remediation from the Free University of Brussels, University of Ghent and University of Antwerp in Belgium. After conducting an internship at EMB in 2012, he has held positions at the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), the Research Council of Norway (RCN) and the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO), as member of the secretariats of the Joint Programing Initiatives on Oceans (JPI Oceans) and Climate Knowledge (JPI Climate). Find Ángel on Research Gate and LinkedIn.

Former secretariat members

Kate Larkin (2012 - 2018) Currently at Seascape Belgium

Claudia Viegas (2018) Currently at University of the Azores

Christine Rundt (2018) Currently at Free University Brussels

Charlotte Simon (2017) Currently at Natagora

Niall McDonough (2009 - 2017) Currently at Marine Institute Ireland

Karen Donaldson (2015 - 2017) Currently at Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) of Canada

Veronica French (2014 - 2016)

Nan-Chin Chu (2012 - 2016) Currently at Ifremer

Dina Eparkhina (2006 - 2015) Currently at EuroGOOS secretariat

Doris Abele (2013 - 2014) Currently at Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research

Noemie Wouters (2014 - 2015) Currently at GreenBridge

Jan-Bart Calewaert (2007 – 2013) Currently at EMODnet secretariat

Maud Evrard (2007 - 2012) Currently at Science Europe

Aurelien Carbonniere (2007 - 2011) Currently at CNES - French National Centre for Space Studies

Niamh Connolly (2002 - 2009) Currently at University College Cork

Nicolas Walter (2002 – 2007) Currently at European Science Foundation