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Flemish Advisory Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

VARIO advises the Flemish Government and the Flemish Parliament on its science, innovation and entrepreneurship policy.

Advisory report 36: ‘The future of Flemish cluster policy – Green Paper’

On 27 March 2024, VARIO received a request for advice from minister Brouns on the green paper ‘The future of Flemish cluster policy’. VARIO states that spearhead clusters are a driver for economic valorization and for addressing societal challenges through R&D&I, and calls for them to be used more explicitly within transformative innovation policy. VARIO also asks to provide the necessary financial support for the renewed assignment of the spearhead clusters and to focus on a partnership role between the spearhead clusters and VLAIO. Finally, VARIO believes the time is right for an open call on new strategic themes and is in favor of a bottom-up approach.

Advisory Report 35: Transformative Innovation Policy: A participatory governance framework for Flanders

The world is facing urgent societal challenges that require fundamental change, such as the climate crisis or the nitrogen crisis. In its Advisory Report 35, VARIO focuses on Transformative Innovation Policy which plays a crucial role in system change or system transitions. Consider, for instance, the transition to a digital and circular agri-food system or to a circular economy. Based on the AWTI-VARIO country review (December 2023) and a background report, VARIO developed a participatory governance framework for Transformative Innovation Policy, with 8 recommendations, that creates proximity with local innovation dynamics. Here, continuous exchange of information between the policy cycle and an external experimental space is essential, e.g. to be able to make targeted adjustments to regulations or other policy levers, in order to create system-level impact and to accelerate (radical) innovations.

VARIO-memorandum 2024-2029: Greater impact through excellence in innovation and entrepreneurship

VARIO again worked on a memorandum for future policy makers in the Flemish Parliament and Government in the context of the Flemish elections in 2024.

VARIO proposes four ambitions to safeguard Flanders' position as one of the most innovative regions in the world and also to capitalize on it through entrepreneurship:

  1. Give innovation policy the leadership it needs
  2. Streamline innovation funding
  3. Secure more innovation talent
  4. Work on a sustainable and prosperous innovation economy

Report in the spotlight: Transformative Innovation Policy. A joint country review by VARIO and AWTI

In 2023, VARIO and the Dutch AWTI (Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation) both worked on an advisory process on Transformative Innovation Policy. This third-generation innovation policy focuses on system innovation or system change. Merely optimizing existing systems based on incremental innovations is insufficient, as the old, unsustainable systems perpetuate the problems. In a joint country review it was investigated how transformative innovation policies are shaped in Sweden, Switzerland and Austria. The aim was to learn from these countries' policy approaches for their own advisory process.

Other recent reports

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Advisory report 33: Amend­ments to the In­du­stri­al Research Fund and Interface Ac­ti­vi­ties Decree

7 November 2023
VARIO interprets the conclusions of the 5-yearly evaluation of the Industrial Research Funds and the interface activities of the…

Advisory report 32: EU draft re­gu­la­ti­on - New gene editing tech­ni­ques

4 October 2023
An adjustment of GMO regulation is urgently needed, according to VARIO. The council therefore welcomes any improvement to the current…

Advisory report 31: Optimal weighing on and res­pon­ding to EU research, in­no­va­ti­on and in­du­stri­al policy

27 September 2023
In this report, VARIO wants to indicate how Flanders can best respond to European policy to get the most benefits from it. Moreover, how…