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The Flemish Advisory Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VARIO) provides strategic advice to the Flemish minister responsible for science and innovation policy, and by extension to the Flemish Government, and the Flemish Parliament.

VARIO offers advice on the complete innovation chain, from fundamental scientific research at universities, to applied research aiming at valorisation and the transformation of industry, the services sector and Flemish entrepreneurship.

Mission and vision


Excellent, ambitious and successful research, innovation, and entrepreneurship determine prosperity and well-being in Flanders. This requires efficient and targeted policy.


VARIO aims to use strategic advice to impact policy to stimulate research, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Who is VARIO?

Council members

Lieven Danneels, CEO Televic Group, is the chairman of VARIO. The eight other council members are Katrin Geyskens, Wim Haegeman, Johan…

Staff members

The VARIO staff supports the council in carrying out its tasks in terms of content, process and facilities. Danielle Raspoet is director of…


The advisory council was established by the Flemish Government by decree on 14 October 2016. Its mandate was renewed in November 2020. On 31 January 2017, VARIO approved its by-laws.

VARIO is administratively embedded in the Department of Economy, Science and Innovation of the Flemish Government.

Report Evaluation Committee VARIO

After its first five years of operation, VARIO thought it was time for a critical reflection to optimize its operation and impact. To this end, VARIO commissioned an evaluation of its operation and impact in 2022 by an external evaluation committee led by Prof. Luc Soete. The evaluation report of the Evaluation Committee was handed over to Flemish Minister for Innovation Jo Brouns on December 16, 2022.

VARIO is known, visible, well embedded in the Flemish Innovation Landscape and is appreciated. The Evaluation Committee appreciates VARIO's independence as its main strength, as well as the high-quality, evidence-based advisory reports. The focus on long-term, systemic advisory reports was also appreciated. The Evaluation Committee formulates six recommendations:

  1. Expand the scope of VARIO to innovation across all policy domains;
  2. Open the debate on the optimal positioning of VARIO;
  3. Activate the consultation platform with open lines to other players in the innovation landscape;
  4. Attention to international developments and their relevance for Flanders;
  5. To preserve VARIO's independence (transparent appointment procedure);
  6. In case of urgent requests for advice, to limit itself to existing scientific evidence.

Activities of the current year and past years

Work program 2024

VARIO advises the Flemish Government and the Flemish Parliament on science, innovation and entrepreneurship policy. At the beginning of…

Annual reports

Every year, VARIO reports about its activities of the past year.

Col­lo­qui­um 2023

At the VARIO-colloquium, VARIO launched four ambitions to safeguard Flanders' position as one of the most innovative regions in the world…


VARIO has live meetings about once a month. In between, there are regular online consultations and VARIO members can also provide input in writing.

20 VARIO key indicators

In 2020, VARIO developed a qualitative set of indicators for science and innovation. The result is a set of 50 indicators classified according to a number of broad categories of objectives, covering the broad spectrum of the science and innovation system. From these, a selection of 20 core indicators was made. These core indicators allow to monitor structural evolutions in the Flemish S&I landscape. Four of the proposed (sub)indicators cannot yet be monitored; these indicators still need to be developed. The core indicators are reported biannually in the Flemish indicator book