The Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) supports marine scientific research in Flanders. VLIZ offers logistic support, promotes expertise internationally, and serves as an interface between the scientific community, governmental bodies, and the public at large. VLIZ wants to give exposure to marine, coastal and estuarine research in Flanders, whereby coordination and dissemination of information play key roles. Marine research in Flanders is carried out by the six Flemish universities, research institutes and departments of the Flemish and federal authorities, and to a lesser extent by private enterprises. The major broad disciplines covered are: biology, earth sciences, chemistry, physics, aquaculture and fisheries, engineering, and maritime affairs. Annually, VLIZ bundles the scientific contributions of the Flemish marine researchers in the ‘VLIZ Collected Reprints’. VLIZ increases the visibility of marine research in Flanders by producing publications, organizing symposia and granting scientific awards. On Friday, 25 February 2005, the fifth ‘VLIZ Young Scientists’ Day’ (161 pre-registered participants) was organized in Provinciehuis Boeverbos, Sint-Andries (Brugge), Belgium.This ‘VLIZ Special Publication 20’ comprises the abstracts of the oral, poster and demo presentations as well as the summaries submitted by the laureates and applicants of the VLIZ aanmoedigingsprijzen mariene wetenschappen 2004’ and ‘Annual VLIZ North Sea Award 2004’.