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Big data in Flanders

The success of enterprises and institutes around the world now hinges on the insights that can be derived from the smart collection and analysis of big data. Big data is the foundation of many innovations in Flanders applicable to a whole range of digital industries.

As the home of numerous organizations, companies and universities with critical roles in this industry, Flanders offers the ideal intersection of expertise, commerce and infrastructure for business insights – and growth – enabled by big data. Find out why.

A foundation for data, big and small

Big data is the starting point of business insights, basic research, digitization and more. With Flanders’ premier position in technology, life sciences, entrepreneurship and R&D, the region’s big data expertise is well-developed. Explore Flanders’ assets relevant to big data:

Dedicated research and development at imec

Imec, Flanders’ strategic research center for nano- and digital technology, is dedicated to help organizations reap the benefits of the digital revolution. In the dawning era of digital business, new technologies and approaches developed at imec enable the hyper-connection of companies, consumers and objects to generate data through interaction.

Intelligent data science is the key to success in today’s digital ecosystem, and imec is the ideal environment for the prototyping, development and testing of new big data applications in real-life environments.

Smart wearables for better healthcare outcomes

With the help of the researchers at imec/Holst Centre, the Kempenhaeghe sleep and epilepsy clinic is developing a sensor bracelet for its epilepsy patients.

Imec is involved in pioneering R&D in the field of sensors-on-chip, flexible electronics and biomedical devices capable of monitoring a variety of biometrics.

Combined with data analytics and machine learning, these innovations have resulted in data processing techniques, intelligent wearables and other medical devices that ‘learn’ from the data they generate, empowering users, preventing disease, enabling faster and more accurate diagnoses and boosting health outcomes.

Bioinformatics at VIB

Headquartered in Ghent, VIB works closely with Flanders’ universities to unite the strengths of various research teams into a single institute for life sciences and biotechnology. Bioinformatics is one of VIB’s key areas of expertise, where scientists from universities around Flanders use big data to gain insights into:

  • genomics and genetics;
  • embryonic development and stem cells;
  • cancer growth and tumor environments;
  • neurodegenerative diseases;
  • developing bioinformatic toolkits for disease therapy;
  • protein dynamics;
  • and more. 

Big data as a pillar of a digital society

The development of smart sensors, chips and networks leads to the generation of unbelievable amounts of data and the ability to process it, resulting in huge advancements in a wide range of domains. Vital to healthcare, genomics and agriculture to connected companies, big data is changing lives in Flanders and around the world. Discover how to take your innovation efforts to the next level by benefitting from Flanders’ expertise in industries heavily influencing and impacted by advancements in big data, such as:

All the talent at hand

Flanders’ five universities are internationally-renowned institutes that provide access to all aspects of big data and data sciences talent by offering dedicated education programs. Some of these include:

  • Master of Statistical Data Analysis at Ghent University – a one-year advanced program in modern data analysis across all domains;
  • Master of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics at KU Leuven – an extensive program covering machine learning, data modeling, privacy and big data analytics programming;
  • Master in Computer Science: Data Science at University of Antwerp – a one-year master’s degree program covering all aspects of data science within the framework of computer science;
  • Master of Bioinformatics at KU Leuven – a two-year program that hones students’ abilities in managing and analyzing vast quantities of biological data and interpret the results;
  • Master in Bioinformatics, at Ghent University – students gain a better understanding of ‘omics’ big data through this one-year program, which is fundamental for biological research, medicine, drug development and agriculture.

Research institutes

Flanders is home to research institutes that focus on data sciences and analytics in various domains, from life sciences and computer science to economics and business. Some of them include:

  • Ghent University Data Science Lab boasts top expertise in machine learning, data mining, data modelling and many other aspects of big data along the entire data value chain.
  • Sizing Servers Lab (Howest) – Located at the university college of Howest in Kortrijk, this independent research lab provides training and concrete recommendations for ICT administrators and managers. In doing so, the Sizing Servers Lab primarily conducts research on new media and novel communication technologies.

Specific incentives

Flanders offers incentives that are relevant to research-intensive domains like encryption, computer science and data security. Examples include:

  • innovation income deduction – up to 85% of a firm’s net earnings from innovation is tax exempt;
  • investment deduction for R&D – 13.5% of acquisition value/qualifying asset or 20.5% of the depreciated amount;
  • exemption of payment of 80% – of the personal income withholding tax of researchers in certain scientific fields.

R&D tax incentives in Flanders

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