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Meet flanders.healthTech, Flanders’ 7th spearhead cluster

There’s a new spearhead cluster in Flanders – and it’s all about working toward lifesaving innovations at the intersection of biotech, medtech and digital tech. Meet flanders.healthTech, the seventh innovation cluster to be officially recognized by the government of Flanders as one of the region’s spearhead clusters under the direction of Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO).  

The new cluster aims to help Flanders’ healthtech players work more closely together on four main themes: personalized medicine, digital medicine, efficient healthcare and groundbreaking care innovations. The ambition is to create a leveraging effect for Flanders’ economy with a significant impact on human well-being.

Ever more relevant domain

As a cluster, flanders.healthTech specializes in a vital domain of growing importance. In the past, innovation in the healthcare industry was primarily driven by pharma, biotech and traditional medtech companies. Today, the landscape is much more diverse: in addition to traditional healthcare, therapeutic and medical device innovators, domains such as IT, electronics and photonics are becoming increasingly important in the healthcare innovation ecosystem. This interdisciplinary interaction is creating new healthcare solutions and new business models.

In this regard, Flanders’ knowledge economy – which strongly centers on domains such as biotech, medtech and digital technologies – is among the world’s finest. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that  flanders.healthTech is fully committed to boosting cross-fertilization between these three domains. Even more, by enabling its members to work together more closely, the cluster will give the innovative prowess and competitiveness of Flanders’ entire healthcare ecosystem a boost.

Sherpa on the road to Vision 2050

The cluster’s mission is to develop smart solutions through collaboration and to anchor Flanders’ role as a European hotspot for healthtech. New healthcare innovations also create interesting opportunities for foreign investment and can attract European support. In this way, Flanders’ healthcare sector will become an even stronger lever for the region’s economy and for human welfare at home and abroad.

The government of Flanders therefore sees flanders.healthTech as an essential link on the road to the long-term Vision 2050 strategy.

We are making Flanders the European hotspot for medical technologies and quality care. By working on cooperation around innovation in care, we not only create a lever effect for Flanders’ economy, but we also ensure better care for everyone. The care of the future will be much more individualized, efficient and affordable for people. Innovation in care is a real win-win.

Hilde Crevits
Flanders’ Minister for Economy, Innovation, Employment, Social Economy, Agriculture & Fisheries

70+ committed partners – and counting

Although it is a new spearhead cluster, flanders.healthTech already has an impressive track record. Its roots go back to 2017 when MedTech Flanders (medical devices), flanders.bio (life sciences) and DSP Valley (digital) joined forces in an innovative business network or IBN called ‘flanders.health’. Over the last few months, these industry associations actively approached and intensively surveyed Flanders’ healthcare ecosystem to align the mission and vision of the new spearhead cluster with the needs of start-ups, growth companies and multinationals, hospitals, universities, research centers and other stakeholders.

As a result, more than 70 R&D-intensive partners have already committed themselves to flanders.healthTech. These partners include 45 SMEs, 14 large companies (LEs), 5 of Flanders’ universities, 5 industry associations, 4 university hospitals, 3 of Flanders’ strategic research centers as well as the umbrella organization for healthcare players Zorgnet-Icuro.

Born ready

When it comes to getting its innovative ambitions off the ground, flanders.healthTech takes the bull by the horns. In the coming months, a first call will be launched involving EUR 6.5 million in support funds for R&D projects centered around flanders.healthTech’s focus themes. In 2022, this amount will grow to EUR 8 million.

What’s more, by the end of 2021, flanders.healthTech will submit a cluster pact to the government of Flanders for approval. This pact will seal the commitment between the participating organizations and the government, while providing EUR 1.5 million in operating funds for the first three years of the spearhead cluster’s existence.

More info

flanders.healthTech
Reported by
website flanders.healthTech
28 July 2021

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