Advisory report 2: Flanders' Space

A strategy for the Flemish Space Economy

ADVIES 2: Flanders' Space

The VARIO advice ‘Flanders’ Space: a strategy for the Flemish Space Economy' is the answer to a request of Flemish Minister Philippe Muyters (innovation and economy) to develop a long-term strategy for ‘space’ in Flanders. The starting point for VARIO is that the space economy, as also defined by the OECD, goes well beyond the space sector itself and comprises all the possible impacts of space products, services and knowledge, on the global economy and society.

This advisory report consists of two parts. In part I VARIO formulates six recommendations and proposes a number of concrete actions to help shape the Flemish policy for a space economy.

  • VARIO recommends that a triple helix Taskforce ‘Space Economy' is established in order to (further) develop an integrated and coordinated strategy for the Flemish space economy. The Taskforce must also ensure that the strategy is translated into a concrete action plan and that the VARIO recommendations are effectively implemented.
  • VARIO is not in favour of setting up specific new structures and/or instruments for this purpose, but recommends to seek for opportunities within the existing structures and instruments. A study on optimising the existing support instruments however is needed.
  • VARIO sees cooperation - both between space actors and between space actors and ‘earth’ industry – as an opportunity that needs to be promoted. A Flemish cooperative model (cluster), in which both industry and knowledge institutes (academia, research centres, …) are present, comes highly recommended. A ‘space cluster’ should also promote cross-fertilisation with the 'earth' industry. Since space is a theme that can promote meaningful intercluster cooperation, VARIO recommends the space economy to be put forward as one of the priorities throughout intercluster cooperation.
  • Thanks to a better/more/directed use of (services based on) space data, the Flemish government could tackle policy issues better, and at the same time function as an early adopter and enabler.
  • Flanders should make sure that the full potential of space technology and knowledge is used, by setting up a space services economy and by ensuring that knowledge and technologies developed within the space context are actually valorised and anchored in Flanders (Belgium).
  • The Flemish Government should demonstrate its commitment to a Flemish space economy by providing the necessary political and diplomatic support and weigh on the federal, European and international space policy.                            

In formulating his advice, VARIO used the report of a research project supervised by the VARIO working group on space (Part II). This background report includes both an analysis section and an onset for a strategy for Flanders entitled '10 trajectories combined in a clever way'.