Flanders to the top of knowledge and innovation regions

Read VARIO's new triptych advisory report now

Flanders to the top of knowledge and innovation regions

In line with the VARIO Memorandum, the Flemish Government has set itself the goal to acquire a top five position among the most innovative knowledge regions and countries in Europe. In this context, VARIO presented a triptych advisory report to Minister-President of the Government of Flanders Jan Jambon and Flemish Minister for Economy and Innovation Hilde Crevits.

The first advisory report formulates a strategy to join the top innovation regions by 2030. A second advisory report selects five countries and 17 regions with which Flanders must benchmark itself in the coming years on its way to the top.

Despite the high R&D expenditure (2.9% of the GDP), Flanders is in 40th place in the Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS-2019). This means that Flanders remains in the Strong Innovator category. The bar must be raised. In order to connect with the European innovation leaders, Flanders must focus over the next ten years on seven weak links in the innovation system: (1) the shortages in STEM, (2) lifelong learning, (3) ambitious entrepreneurship, (4) the regional impact of R&D investments, (5) an integrated vision of innovation, (6) high-tech exports, (7) an efficient and effective innovation policy, etc. With a view to the relaunch, VARIO also formulates short-term measures.

The third advisory report offers a high-quality set of 20 key indicators to monitor the progress of Flanders. The indicator exercise also reveals a number of gaps that require further development work. To measure impact, VARIO recommends that more work be done on additional impact analyzes, with a focus on standardization of the methodology and a more systemic approach.