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Flanders’ ecosystem for smart devices

Flanders has a broad range of knowledge centers, incubators and industry leaders supporting the development of new smart technologies. Rely on the close proximity of resources available to take your smart devices initiative to a higher level in Flanders. 

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 smart devices including wireless technologies, flexible electronics, CMOS development and much more. 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.

 Find out more about imec.
Discover Flanders’ strategic research centers.

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 intelligent systems by focusing its research on:

  • clean, energy-efficient motion systems;
  • smart monitoring devices and systems;
  • agile and human-centered production and robotics systems;
  • and more.

 Find out more about Flanders Make.


This key strategic research center – and one of the largest multidisciplinary research centers in the world – is involved in tech research that covers cleantech, materials innovation, environmental and process technology, smart grids and more. It actively develops smart solutions in the areas of:

  • energy;
  • materials;
  • chemistry;
  • health;
  • land use.

 Find out more about VITO.

ICT incubators supporting smart innovation

There are a number of incubators responsible for assisting ICT-focused smart technology start-ups 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.
  • Smart Grids Flanders – a membership organization made up of industry, research and public players to support smart grid projects.

Research groups

Flanders is home to research groups and knowledge centers that revolve around network technologies, materials development and ICT innovation. Here are several of these groups:

  • 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.
  • 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 communication, smart technologies, energy and more.
  • BDE (UHasselt) – develops smart sensor devices for environmental and healthcare applications.
  • Smart Engineering (VUB) – a research group investigating light, metals, robots, separation techniques, labs-on-chips and other technologies relevant to smart devices.
  • STADIUS (KU Leuven) – investigates complex systems, neural networks algorithm design to improve digital systems.

Key organizations

These groups, coalitions and organizations help foster promising innovation and encourage knowledge-sharing and collaboration in ICT areas relevant to smart devices:

  • VLAIO – Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship provides funding, advice, support and networking services to innovative tech companies.
  • Sirris – A research group, network driver and incubator covering various fields of ICT, Sirris explores the applications of new networking solutions to enable smart cities, intelligent transport and IoT applications.
  • Agoria – An innovation-focused support and research group that provides business development services to entrepreneurs in a wide range of tech fields.
  • SIM-Flanders – Aims to support research and build scientific knowledge and technology platforms centered around new materials and fostering collaboration between public and private players.

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