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Life sciences and health in Flanders

Smart financing options, a cutting-edge innovation ecosystem, decades of expertise, a broad talent pool of academics and entrepreneurs, and a strategic location with global reach… These are the five main ingredients of Flanders’ highly developed life sciences industry. Discover how you can benefit from this unique cluster in the heart of Europe.
clinical approval in EU - 15 days
in Europe for number of trials per capita
of EU biotech market cap was generated in Belgium in 2016

Innovative life sciences ecosystem

Research at Thrombogenics

In Flanders, your life sciences business gains access to an innovative ecosystem of top-class universities, academic hospitals, research centers and (bio-)incubators. The region also opens up a dense network of pharmaceutical, biotech and other major industry players to your company.

Embedded in a European network for life sciences

Map of Flanders in Europe

Flanders is ideally situated between the UK (more specifically, the London-Oxford-Cambridge triangle), France, Germany and Switzerland. Each of these four nations has significant strengths in life sciences.

In addition, four cities in Flanders – Ghent, Leuven, Antwerp and Hasselt – are home to life sciences research parks that offer highly specialized services and resources.

Learn more about Flanders’ strategic location.

All the talent at hand

Flanders is a hotspot for life sciences talent and connects your business with top managers, scientists and technicians. Apart from dedicated life sciences education at its five universities, the region also enables access to:

  • the MBI Life Sciences & Health academy, an entrepreneurial training course in both the Netherlands and Flanders;
  • life sciences internships at biotechnology SMEs, as part of the OPINNO program;
  • the Flanders Training Network Life Sciences (FTNLS) – an initiative of Flanders’ universities and the VIB life sciences institute; 
  • a broad range of training programs at VIB for life sciences researchers that cover emerging research domains and technologies.

Specific incentives

Flanders offers several incentives that are particularly relevant to research-intensive sectors like the life sciences industry. Examples include:

  • 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;
  • innovation income deduction – up to 85% of a firm’s net earnings from innovation is tax exempt.

R&D tax incentives in Flanders

Did you know…

  • … Flanders is home to the largest R&D hub for plant biotech and emerging industrial biotechnology, and boasts the biggest integrated bio-energy production complex in Europe?
  • … Belgium (Flanders) is #2 in Europe when it comes to clinical trials per capita, and boasts one of the world’s fastest approval time for clinical trials?
  • … In Flanders, biotechnology ranks 3rd when it comes to R&D investments?

Interested in doing business in Flanders?

Let us help you!

  • We can introduce you to other companies, banks and regulators
  • We organize site visits to real estate locations
  • We assist with all legal aspects of setting up a business
  • We're an official government agency
  • Our services are completely free
  • We are a team of international experts

Receive our handbook to growing your business in Flanders

  • It's completely free.
  • Get an overview of all incentives relevant to your company.
  • Tax system explained in-depth.
  • Learn how to set up your business quickly.
  • Discover the benefits of Flanders (in addition to the chocolate).

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