VARIO advisory processes 2020

Following the official receipt of a coordinated request for advice from Minister-president Jan Jambon and Deputy minister and Innovation minister Hilde Crevits in January and two additional requests for advice from vice-minister president Hilde Crevits in March, VARIO has now set out its work programme for 2020 in more detail. You will find a brief overview of the various advisory processes below. A detailed overview can be found in the VARIO work programme 2020.  

VARIO decided at its meeting of April 30th to maintain the work programme even after the outbreak of the corona crisis. However, all ongoing advisory processes will be screened against the rapidly changing circumstances.

Since then, two more advisory projects have been added to the programme, one at the request of Minister Crevits and one at the request of Minister Weyts.

As the advisory process progresses, you will find out more about it here and elsewhere on our website. Be sure to keep an eye on our newsletter, the VARIO update, as well as our social media channels for news.  

You will find a short overview of the different advisory projects for 2020 below.

1) Advisory process 'Towards the top of knowledge- and innovation-driven regions in Europe'.

In the context of its memorandum, VARIO already started last year with the creation of 'a roadmap to the top 5 innovative knowledge regions'. Also in 2019 VARIO started developing 'a quality set of indicators for science and innovation'. Minister-president Jan Jambon and vice-minister president Hilde Crevits, responsible for innovation, took good note of this and subsequently formulated a number of questions for advice (see request for advice 'Ambition top 5'). This has led to the setting up of the following three sub-advice trajectories:

1.1) Relevant benchmark countries/regions

This advisory process was completed in March 2020 with the publication of VARIO advice 10: Innovative benchmark countries and regions for Flanders.

1.2) A quality set of indicators for science and innovation

The aim of this advisory project is to develop a qualitative and 'smart' set of indicators allowing to monitor in an objective and transparent way how Flanders performs in the field of science and innovation, and to map the position of Flanders on an international scale.

Timing: Delivered to both Ministers on 17 July 2020 but not publicly available for the time being 

1.3) To the top group of knowledge and innovation-driven regions

In 2019, VARIO prepared a background report with a strength-weakness analysis of Flanders in terms of innovation and competitiveness using indicators, and an in-depth analysis of the R&D&I systems of top regions such as Switzerland and Singapore. In 2020, this will be complemented by qualitative research based on interviews with experts. Based on this, VARIO will then formulate concrete recommendations for a roadmap for Flanders in order to connect to the top regions.

Timing: Delivered to both Ministers on 17 July 2020 but not publicly available for the time being 

2) Advisory process 'The learning society'

On June 17th VARIO received a request from Minister Hilde Crevits for advice on the concept paper 'The learning society'. This paper contains the policy vision on the establishment of a lifelong learning platform within the policy domains Work, Education and Economy and Innovation and of an expertise centre for innovative learning paths, both provided for in the Flemish Coalition Agreement 2019-2024. "The aim of this platform is to strengthen synergies and cooperation within the framework of lifelong learning within the Flemish government and to further develop the necessary ambitions and objectives through a shared vision".

This advisory process was completed on July 7th 2020 with the publication of VARIO advice 11: 'The learning society'.

3) Advisory process 'IPCEIs - important projects of common European interest’

VARIO was asked by Minister Hilde Crevits to carry out a strategic exploration of the strengths and opportunities for Flanders with regard to the possible IPCEIs - Important Projects of Common European Interest (see request for advice 'IPCEI'). As the process in Europe for an IPCEI on hydrogen is getting underway, VARIO does not want to wait until the full strategic exploration of all six value chains has been completed, but does a pre-assessment for hydrogen, so that the right decisions can be taken within this value chain.  The remaining five IPCEIs will then follow together in a second part.

Timing: Advice on the IPCEI hydrogen delivered to Minister Crevits on 17 July 2020 but not publicly available for the time being; other IPCEIs by the end of 2020

4) Advisory process 'Educational tax units of colleges of higher education: evaluation and growth path in a multi-annual perspective'.

On 13 July VARIO received a request for advice from Vice Minister-President Ben Weyts, responsible for education, on the concept paper 'Educational Tax Units of the Colleges of Higher Education: Evaluation and Growth Path in a Multi-Annual Perspective'. The roadmap in the paper implements the provisions of the coalition agreement and the Education Policy Memorandum which state that the education tax units will be reviewed and the funding of the colleges of higher education will be increased in a targeted and phased manner.  

Timing: end August 2020

5) Advisory process 'Quadruple helix - involving citizens and civil society: what possible scenarios'.

In a mission-driven innovation policy, you have to give society a place and also create support. In concrete terms, Minister Hilde Crevits asked VARIO for a starting script with possible scenarios for the optimal involvement of citizens, civil society, but also small businesses (see request for advice 'Quadruple helix'). On this basis, the minister will start a dialogue to arrive at a supported vision on a structural approach.

Timing: September - October 2020

6) Advisory process 'Attracting foreign R&D centres’

In Flanders, 66.44% of companies' R&D expenditure takes place in branches under foreign control (2017[1]). Therefore, according to VARIO, it is relevant to look in more detail at the specific added value of incoming foreign investments in R&D for Flanders.

Timing: Start autumn 2020

7) Advisory process 'Sustainable Development Goals and mission-oriented innovation policy'.

VARIO will investigate how the Flemish science, innovation and entrepreneurship policy should deal with and focus on the SDGs. In the context of innovation, we will quickly come to a mission-oriented policy via the SDGs. To this end, the new Flemish Government wants to evolve from ad hoc initiatives to a more structural approach. VARIO will give its vision on this.

Timing: Start autumn 2020




VARIO adviestrajecten voor 2021