SERV report aims to enhance innovation leadership in Flanders

The Social and Economic Council of Flanders (SERV) has put forward a series of proposals to strengthen Flanders' position in the EU when it comes to innovation.

With a score of 125.8 on the European Innovation Scoreboard, Belgium is in fifth place in the EU's leading group of innovation leaders. Only the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Denmark score better. Flanders also ranks as an innovation leader, ranking 23rd among the 239 European regions with an index score of 130.3. In 2021, 3.65 per cent of Flanders' GDP went to innovation research.

"Research and innovation are increasingly used as a means of pressure for strategic and geopolitical goals. It is therefore important that within the European context, we become more technologically independent of powers such as China and the US," says SERV chair Danny Van Assche.

"This Flemish government, and certainly also the next one, must focus not only on developing new technologies and innovation but also on their valorisation and dissemination."

"It is important that within the European context, we become more technologically independent of powers such as China and the US"

SERV advocates for alliances throughout Flanders, following the example of European industrial partnerships. "This reduces strategic dependencies and increases competitiveness," Van Assche says. "Despite its solid research base, Flanders lags behind when it comes to actually applying and commercialising new knowledge."

The council believes a mission-driven innovation policy can remedy market failures or gaps in knowledge development and innovation activities.

It intends to make venture capital more attractive and accessible, to strengthen the role of tech start-ups and scale-ups, noting the contrast in available venture capital financing in the EU compared to economic giants such as China and the US.


#FlandersNewsService | A game developer pictured during the official launch of Flanders Game Hub © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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