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Micro- and nanotechnology in Flanders
Micro- and nanoelectronics is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. This comes as no surprise, since they enable the development of novel technologies that make products, services and manufacturing processes smarter and more productive.
Flanders boasts expert know-how in the nanotech field, centered around its five universities as well as its nanotech research center imec. A broad pool of start-ups and other innovative players serves as a bridge between this know-how and a range of novel applications, such as smart textiles, revolutionary medical devices, biotechnological breakthroughs, digital innovations, and more.
From academic and research institutions and centers of knowledge and expertise to leading industry players: Flanders has all the buildings blocks for your micro- and nanotechnology innovations and applications.
Innovation in action: imec builds self-learning microchip that composes music
In a world first, imec (Flanders) developed a self-learning microchip. Not only does it interpret and respond to data following programmed patterns, it also improves those patterns based on its own experiences.
Imec researchers taught the microchip how to write new pieces of music on its own. To achieve that, they first programmed classical minuets into the chip, after which the chip learns how to recognize musical patterns and rhythms from those existing scores and use them to compose its own creations.
In Flanders, nearly all nanotechnology-related and strategic basic research is conducted at one of the region’s five universities. These internationally-renowned institutes also grant access to a strong pool of nanotech talent by offering dedicated courses of study. Some of these include:
- Master of Physics at Antwerp University – a two-year program with an in-depth specialization in nanophysics;
- Master of Nanoscience, Nanotechnology and Nanoengineering at Leuven University – a highly-integrated program with a strong research backbone and an international outreach focus;
- European Master of Science in Photonics at Ghent University and Vrije Universiteit Brussel – a two-year program leading to a joint degree from both universities;
- Master in Bioelectronics and Nanotechnology at Hasselt University – a comprehensive program focusing on a novel domain at the intersection of physics, chemistry, electronics, and biomedical sciences;
- Erasmus Mundus Master in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology – a multidisciplinary course of study organized by several European research and education institutions, including KU Leuven and imec in Flanders;
- an annual series of expert lectures, organized by research center imec under the heading ‘Capita Selecta of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology’.
Companies with or deciding to set up their activities or headquarters in Flanders can reap the rewards of:
- various government grants and subsidies for transformation, ecological, R&D and growth investments;
- unique tax incentives for various types of business activities and investments;
- a set of employment subsidies to further reduce your salary costs as well as fiscal remuneration advantages;
- a number of funding options to help you get off the ground.
Flanders offers incentives that are particularly relevant to a research-intensive domain like micro- and nanotechnology. 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.