Flanders’ fully fledged support system for R&D activities in a post-Brexit world

In the corporate jungle, survival requires organisations to be innovative. And what do all innovative companies have in common? Besides a healthy appetite for risk, they tend to look beyond company walls. That’s exactly what Flanders’ cluster policy is all about – will your company join in on the innovation frenzy?

Innovate together with Flanders’ research centres and clusters

Flanders actively promotes and supports long-term R&D collaborations between the public, private and academic sectors. The region’s four strategic research centres perfectly illustrate this policy. Supported by the government and working closely with companies and universities, their research covers niches such as:

  • nanoelectronics and digital technology (imec);
  • life sciences and biotech (VIB);
  • product and process technology (Flanders Make);
  • clean and sustainable technology (VITO).

Leverage R&D tax incentives

It’s no secret that R&D comes with a high price tag. Companies are increasingly seeking cash grants and tax incentives to ease their financial burdens – and Flanders has put itself firmly on the map in this regard.

Some of the region’s most used incentives include:

  • innovation income deduction – up to 85% of your net innovation earnings are exempt from corporate taxation.
  • R&D investment deduction – 13.5 of the investment value or 20.5% of the annual depreciation value can be deducted from corporate taxes.
  • R&D payroll tax inventive – recover up to 80% of the withholding tax on professional income for research personnel.

Visual Flanders' R&D tax incentives

A recent publication by Eurostat indicates just how effective Flanders’ R&D-friendly tax system is at encouraging innovative business projects. According to the most recent figures, 2.7% of Flanders’ GDP is invested in R&D activities. This is well above the European average of 2% and close to the 2020 target of 3%.