Innovation clusters in Flanders

Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship has selected 6 spearhead clusters and 20 Innovative Business Networks that will design the cluster policy of the Flemish Government. The focus of the cluster policy is on increasing the competitiveness of the companies and on improving active collaboration.

The spearhead clusters connect to important strategical domains in Flanders and are large-scale triple helix initiatives that receive financing for up to ten years to develop and implement their competitiveness programme. The Innovative Business Networks are usually smaller, bottom-up initiatives, receiving support for a period of three years to organise a collaboration dynamic in a specific domain that could lead to the increased competitiveness of companies.

Both spearhead clusters and Innovative Business Networks focus on Flemish companies that have growth ambitions, innovation awareness, and an international attitude, and that are open to collaborations with other companies and knowledge centres.

If this appeals to you, check the various initiatives and discover which cluster best suits your interests. 

Cluster policy in Flanders

On 4 March 2016, the Flemish government approved the resolution that defines the support for the innovation clusters in Flanders. The goal of the cluster policy is to unlock unused economic potential and to realise competitiveness growth among Flemish companies through active and sustainable collaboration between actors.

This cluster policy concentrates on collaboration agreements of Flemish companies with growth ambitions, innovation awareness, an international attitude and a willingness to collaborate with other companies and knowledge centres, both for the realisation of their individual company targets and to contribute to competitiveness growth among a large group of Flemish companies.

The Flemish cluster policy distinguishes two types of clusters, namely the spearhead clusters and the Innovative Business Networks.

Regardless of the initiatives’ scales, ambition levels and time horizons, the following features are deemed essential for the envisioned clusters:

  • Active commitment and management by the companies;
  • Active and sustainable collaboration as a central thread in the operations of the cluster;
  • Supported vision and custom action plan of and drawn up by cluster members; 
  • Performing cluster organisation that acts as a facilitator and representative of cluster members;
  • Clusters focus on removing common thresholds and unused common business opportunities;
  • Clusters establish a link between knowledge creation and marketing and implementing new knowledge;
  • Clusters have an international attitude.