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RIO Country Report Belgium 2017

The R&I Observatory country report 2017 provides a brief analysis of the R&I system covering the economic context, main actors, funding trends & human resources, policies to address R&I challenges, and R&I in national and regional smart specialisation strategies. Data is from Eurostat, unless otherwise referenced and is correct as at January 2018. Data used from other international sources is also correct to that date. The report provides a state-of-play and analysis of the national level R&I system and its challenges, to support the European Semester.



Challenges for R&I policy-making in Belgium

The Belgian R&D intensity reached 2.49% (2016) with most of R&D investments being made by private business reaching a research intensity of 1.73% in 2016. Private R&D is concentrated in a few large companies notably in the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. The main innovation challenges in Belgium are:

  • Promote fast growing enterprises in innovative and less innovative sectors: A long-standing issue in Belgium’s innovation performance is to make innovation more widespread ensuring a higher economic impact. Promoting more innovative high growth firms (HGIEs) in all sectors is a deficit and challenge.
  • Addressing the shortage and mismatch of human resources for R&I: demand for STEM students exceeds the number of graduates, and is exacerbated by a skill mismatch.

Smart Specialisation Strategies

  • In Wallonia, the regional innovation strategy is a core component of the "Marshall Plan 4.0", which foresees a budget of €642m for the innovation component (2015-2019), mainly in the context of the Competitive Poles Policy. 
  • Flanders is updating its Smart Specialisation Strategy. The priority themes of focus will broadly remain similar to those from the S3-note from December 2014. Its S3 strategy is closely aligned with its cluster policy (through the creation of 5 ‘spearhead’ clusters) and the 4 strategic research centres in Flanders.
Geo coverage
Report year
Official publication date
Thursday, 22 March, 2018
National expert name
Stijn Kelchtermans
Last update: 22/01/2020 | Top | Legal notice | Contact | Search