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Flanders’ ecosystem for network technology

In choosing to set up your network technology company in Flanders, you gain access to a tightly-knit business and knowledge center ecosystem that will enhance the success of your wireless, smart systems, informatics, big data, energy or smart cities innovation efforts.

Strategic research centers


Imec, Flanders’ strategic research center for digital and nanotech, is dedicated to innovating across a wide range of ICT-centered industries relevant to network modeling, innovation and development. It supports entrepreneurship by offering training, financing, state-of-the-art facilities and networking opportunities related to:

  • wireless communication and network development;
  • CMOS development and scaling;
  • the Internet of Things;
  • data processing and encryption;
  • and more.

Flanders Make

Flanders Make is the region’s strategic research center for innovation in manufacturing and industrial sectors. Closely associated with Flanders’ 5 universities, Flanders Make strives to enable the advent of Industry 4.0 and factories of the future by focusing its research on:

  • clean, energy-efficient motion systems;
  • smart monitoring systems;
  • high-performance autonomous mechatronic systems;
  • intelligent product design methods;
  • design and manufacturing of smart and lightweight structures;
  • additive manufacturing for serial production;
  • manufacturing of high-precision products;
  • agile and human-centered production and robotics systems.

Network tech incubators

There are a number of incubators responsible for helping ICT and network development newcomers thrive in Flanders, providing them with affordable office space, administrative services and even development tools:

  • iCubes & Startup Garage (Ghent) – Provides office space and ready-to-use ICT infrastructure to start-ups in ICT areas.
  • Corda (Hasselt) – Space, events, workshops, this extensive tech campus fosters fruitful relationships and knowledge sharing between tech companies.
  • Startit@KBC – Provides workspace, training and advice to ICT entrepreneurs in sustainable growth.
  • Flanders Smart Hub – A network of tech clusters that offers incubation to start-ups and established companies in many fields of digital technologies. 
  • Darwin Incubator – Provides office space, laboratory infrastructure and expertise to entrepreneurs offering innovative solutions in information systems, tech sciences and more.
  • 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.

Research groups

Flanders is home to research groups that focus on network technology and innovation in applications as diverse as healthcare, transport, logistics, media, energy and smart systems. Here are several of these groups:

  • UGent Data Science Lab – Boasts top expertise in machine learning, data mining, data modeling and many other aspects of big data and networking along the entire data value chain;
  • IDLAB (UGent) – The Internet Technology and Data Science Lab focuses on advancements in state-of-the-art, high-speed circuit design for optical and wireless communication, electromagnetics and fiberoptics.
  • IBCN (UGent) – Internet-based Communication Networks and Services research group take a multidisciplinary approach to studying network modeling, design and evaluation, mobile & wireless networking, autonomic computing & networking and more.
  • WAVES (UGent) – The Wireless, Acoustics, Environment & Expert Systems group performs cutting-edge research in wireless networking, smart cities, sensing, factories of the future and more. 
  • STADIUS (KU Leuven) – Contributes to the development of improved digital systems through the use of advanced modeling techniques.

Key organizations

These groups, coalitions and organizations help foster promising innovation and encourage knowledge-sharing across the broad network tech sector:

  • VLAIO – Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship provides funding, advice, support and networking services to innovative companies in network tech areas.
  • Sirris – A research group, network driver and incubator covering various fields of industry-related ICT, Sirris explores the applications of new networking solutions to enable Industry 4.0.
  • Agoria – An innovation-focused federation that strives to drive the technological industry forward.

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