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New science park to boost R&D in Leuven (Flanders)

In Flanders, the city of Leuven, the university of Leuven (KU Leuven) and the National Railway Company of Belgium (NMBS) are joining forces to create a sustainable science park at the Leuven Noord site. The new science park only adds to Flanders’ reputation as an R&D powerhouse in Europe. As such, the region ranks third in ZEW’s Innovation Indicator and tops the international charts when it comes to number of patents per capita and GDP spending on R&D.

With its university hospital (UZ Leuven), digital and nanotech research center imec, university KU Leuven, a myriad of tech start-ups and many other R&D players, Leuven is a leading city for innovation and knowledge development. Since September 2020, Leuven can even call itself the European Capital of Innovation, a title presented by the European Commission.

Now, the city of Leuven, KU Leuven and NMBS seek to further strengthen Leuven’s position and ambitions as a knowledge city by establishing a new science park at Leuven Noord. This site covers a two-kilometer, banana-shaped strip of 22 hectares alongside the railroad line. In addition to science and business facilities, it also provides space for green public space, bicycle and pedestrian connections, etc. 

Ambitious plans

Mayor Mohamed Ridouani is pleased that the city of Leuven, KU Leuven and NMBS are working on the project together:

The demand for R&D space continues to grow. By developing Leuven Noord, we can create extra employment for everyone, from top researchers to logistics personnel and administrative and technical staff. It’s by working together that we can innovate and move forward in Leuven.

Mohamed Ridouani
mayor of Leuven

“Over the past twenty years, Leuven has fully devoted itself to supporting the local knowledge economy,” adds Carl Devlies, Leuven’s alderman for Spatial Policy. “This dedication has turned the city into a global player.”

Strong partners

Project partners KU Leuven are also happy with the collaboration, putting their shoulders to the wheel to make the new science park a nurturing home for organizations with innovative ambitions.

“The popularity of Leuven’s railway station, one of the largest of its kind in Belgium, is partly due to the attractiveness of the city as a scientific and innovative growth nucleus,” says Sophie Dutordoir, CEO of NMBS. NMBS is keen to participate in this ambitious development project, which will transform an extensive railroad area into a sustainable science park.”

Meanwhile, the university of Leuven (KU Leuven) is bound to add its share of expertise and knowledge when it comes to creating a supportive R&D environment:

KU Leuven has been Europe’s most innovative university for several years in a row, which, to date, has resulted in no fewer than 135 spin-offs.

Stefaan Saeys
director of Technical Services at KU Leuven

The new science park will offer a home to promising local and international research firms in close cooperation with the university and other knowledge institutions,” Stefaan Saeys adds. “This will lead to new research results that can then be further developed into concrete business projects and additional employment.”

More info

Leuven Noord
Reported by
Het Laatste Nieuws
24 December 2020

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