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Flanders’ digital innovation ecosystem

By setting up your company in Flanders, you gain access to a close-knit business and knowledge ecosystem that is ideal for your digital activities. 

Know-how and research

Strategic research centers

  • imec – Flanders’ nanotechnology, nanoelectronics and digital technology research center studies smart electronics and safer transport, among other nanotech-related topics.
  • Flanders Make – Flanders’ strategic research center for the manufacturing industry also aims to drive digitization in the sector, focusing on the development of power electronics and energy storage, mechatronics and design methods, production processes, and people-driven system development. One of the research center’s goals is to achieve smart vehicles, machines and factories.

Universities and university colleges

KU Leuven: The University of Leuven

  • COSIC research group – KU Leuven’s COSIC research group possesses broad expertise in digital security and develops new security solutions.
  • DistriNet research group – imec’s DistriNet research group, part of the Department of Computer Science and of imec's Security Department, investigates the development of open, distributed object support platforms for advanced applications, in close collaboration with the industry.
  • LICT – The Leuven Center on Information and Communication Technology (LICT) combines the complimentary expertise and experiences of electronics engineers, computer scientists and sociologists in the ICT field.

UGent: Ghent University

  • i-KNOW – i-KNOW is UGent’s academic innovation center, which fosters state-of-the-art research in ICT with multidisciplinary teams of experts in the technology field, on both industrial and consumer scales.
  • MICT - The research group for Media and ICT (MICT) at the Ghent University’s Department of Communication Studies is part of imec, the institute for nano-, micro- and digital technology. MICT focuses its research on today’s digital society and economy, and more specifically on the related changes and challenges for the industry, policy makers and consumers.

UHasselt: Hasselt University

  • EDM – The Expertise Center for Digital Media (EDM) is the ICT research institute of Hasselt University.  

VUB: Vrije Universiteit Brussel

  • Applied Physics and Photonics (B-PHOT) – As Brussels’ research and innovation team, B-PHOT masters optical modeling and design, advanced optical prototyping and manufacturing, optical characterization and precision metrology, and proof-of-concept demonstration.
  • Big Data research (overview) – Several of the VUB’s departments, backed by an incubation center, are conducting groundbreaking research on big data.
  • ETRO – The Department of Electronics and Informatics (ETRO), part of the VUB’s Faculty of Engineering Sciences, explores engineering bottlenecks at the interfaces of various application domains. 

Research centers

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.

Cluster and key organizations

  • Agoria – Serving as the sector federation for the technological industry, Agoria has a dedicated Digital Industries team that represents numerous IT-oriented businesses. These companies offer products, software, systems or solutions for the transmission, processing and management of various types of information –image, sound and data in particular.
  • Sirris – Sirris helps companies develop, test and implement technological innovation. One of its four expertise domains is ICT. As such, the innovation center helps you harness the full potential of and commercialize novel software and IT applications, including cloud computing and (big) data storage.
  • DSP Valley – DSP Valley is a European cluster of excellence in smart electronic systems and embedded technology solutions. DSP Valley unites more than 100 universities, research institutes and companies – from start-ups and SMEs to large international groups with local R&D activities.
  • Flega – Flanders’ official games association, which supports the Flanders-based games industry as a whole.
  • VIGC – Flanders’ innovation center for graphic communication.

Business incubators

  • iCUBES – iCUBES, a full-service facility for innovative ICT companies that is backed by imec, provides professional reception services as well as a ready-to-use IT and telecom infrastructure.
  • Start-up Garage Ghent – imec’s own co-working space that follows in the footsteps of similar initiatives by Google, Apple and Microsoft. It’s an appealing and vibrant spot where start-ups meet, exchange knowledge and share networks with other tech entrepreneurs.
  • Corda Campus – Flanders’ leading tech campus in the heart of the EUREGIO and motivating business community for innovative businesses and start-ups. 
  • C-mine crib – Short for ‘creative innovative business’, this service center supports young creative companies by offering guidance, coaching and accommodation. The incubator is also home to several research groups and organizations that support creative entrepreneurship.
  • Roularta Mediatech – Business acceleration program for start-up companies active in creative media and digital technology.
  • StartupVillage – With StartupVillage, Antwerp provides affordable office space for innovative start-ups. This, in the city center near Antwerp’s main incubators and other start-up initiatives. In addition to the BlueHealth Innovation Center and a base of the imec research center for nano- and digital technology, StartupVillage is also home to CoFoundry – an incubator of the Cronos Groups that helps start-ups with a minimum viable product find growth financing. What’s more, accelerator Netwerk Ondernemen offers promising growth companies networking opportunities and access to specific expertise through its extensive network of company leaders.

Join these companies that already settled in Flanders

  • Alcatel-Lucent Entreprise
  • Barco
  • Scientific Atlanta (Cisco)
  • Agfa
  • LMS International (Siemens PLM Software)
  • Metris (Nikon Metrology)
  • Vasco Data Security
  • Philips
  • Option
  • Transics (WABCO)
  • Newtec

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