Secretariat | European Marine Board


The EMB Secretariat supports the day-to-day operations of the European Marine Board, and promotes the Board’s activities and outputs. The Secretariat staff members are based in Ostend, Belgium (contact). The team is periodically strengthened by interns.

   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


 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. As Science Officer, she engages in a variety of EMB activities including working groups, events and external projects. Find Paula on Google Scholar,  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.


Britt Alexander
Science Officer

Phone: +32 (0)59 34 01 56

Brittany Alexander (PhD 2015) holds a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Bristol, UK, a MSc in Biotechnology from McGill University, Canada, and a PhD in Marine Biology from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Her PhD work explored the cellular mechanisms underlying the sponge loop pathway by which sponges recycle nutrients in the ocean, and has applications in advancing sustainable sponge aquaculture for biotechnology. After her PhD Britt worked at the Swiss-based publisher Frontiers (2016-2019) contributing to the development and management of the open-access journal Frontiers in Marine Science.


Former secretariat members

Kate Larkin (2012 - 2018) - Senior Science Officer - Currently at EMODnet secretariat and Seascape Belgium

Claudia Viegas (2018) - Intern Junior Science Officer - Currently at University of the Azores

Christine Rundt (2018) - Intern Junior Science Officer - Currently at Free University Brussels

Charlotte Simon (2017) - Intern Junior Science Officer - Currently at Natagora

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

Karen Donaldson (2015 - 2017) - Scientific Administrator - Currently at Environment and Climate Change Canada

Audrey Legat (2014) - Intern Junior Science Officer - Currently at Deltares

Veronica French (2014 - 2016) - Science Officer

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

Dina Eparkhina (2006 - 2015) - Administration and Coordination Officer - Currently at EuroGOOS secretariat

Doris Abele (2013 - 2014) - 6-month secondment - Currently at Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research

Noemie Wouters (2014 - 2015) Currently at GreenBridge

Jan-Bart Calewaert (2007 – 2013) - Science Officer - Currently at EMODnet secretariat and Seascape Belgium

Maud Evrard (2006 - 2012) - Science Officer - Currently at Science Europe

Aurelien Carbonniere (2004 - 2011) - Science Officer - Currently at CNES - French National Centre for Space Studies

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

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

Laurent d'Ozouville (1994 - 2001) - Executive Director