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Research and innovation policy

As part of the multiannual strategic plan Go4Brussels, the government wants to launch a research and innovation policy that is conducive to economic, social, solidarity and climate transition (objective 1.3_Region).

Contributing to regional growth and welfare

The government will direct its policy towards supporting research and innovation (RDI) in sectors and projects with substantial transformation potential to address the pressing climate and social issues in a sustainable manner.

Public funding for innovative projects has the primary goal of promoting regional growth and enhancing the well-being of Brussels residents by facilitating experimentation and encouraging models that serve as exemplars of social and environmental sustainability. By 2030, only projects that align with these principles will be eligible for regional public support. RDI projects that receive support from the Region must actively contribute to the region's resilience and the development of a local, carbon-neutral, circular, innovative, and robust economy, fostering the creation of high-quality, non-outsourced employment opportunities.

Innovation for sustainable economic transition

All regional stakeholders receive support for innovative initiatives. The academic and private sectors, as well as the associative and public non-profit sectors, are also involved as carriers and players in a sustainable economic transition. The application of innovations and the valorization of the obtained results will be further enhanced through the promotion of structural collaboration among the involved parties. The government will position itself as a driver of innovation by providing expertise in innovative government contracts.

The government's involvement as a partner in research projects is expanded, and it will also foster innovation internally. The introduction of innovation clusters in which a large number of stakeholders participate and the support of knowledge transfer centers (KTO), collective centers, and the like, are instruments being established to strengthen the ecosystem as a whole.

New Regional Plan for Innovation

A new Regional Plan for Innovation (RPI) will be drawn up for the period 2021-2025. This will define the Region's strategic areas for action, along with the links and interactions with other regional strategic plans it requires. Coherence between the RPI and the new Regional Plan for Circular Economy, the Nexttech and the Industrial Plan should lead to the operational transition to a circular and regenerative economy. 

Who contributed?

Consulted priority

  • Leading Minister: State Secretary for Economic Transition and Scientific Research
  • Associate Minister: Minister for Climate Transition, Environment, Energy and Participatory Democracy 
  • Partners: Innoviris, RWB-BHG, Brupartners,, Brussels Environment, GAN,, Coopcity, BISA, Bruxeo

Discover the Go4Brussels 2030 strategy

1. Developing the Regional Innovation Plan 2021-2025

The new RIP will be developed on the basis of an updated analysis of the Brussels context, the Government's choices and consultation of the various actors in the ecosystem. This strategic initiative will be developed in close collaboration with the Council for Science Policy (RWB-BHG).  

It should serve as the foundational framework for RDI support throughout the five-year legislative term, clearly illustrating its interlinkages with other regional strategic plans, notably the updated versions of the GPKE and the Industrial Plan, as well as the European programming of the ERDF.  

The RIP 2021-2025 should seek to establish connections with the emerging "Horizon Europe" program initiated by the European Union, wherever feasible. 

Key authorities: State Secretary for Economic Transition and Scientific Research

2. Support for R&D projects that enhance the region's capabilities.

Focusing regional support on research and innovation projects that contribute to strengthening the regional capacity to address the priorities of the Region (resilience, support for initiatives that can serve as examples in terms of social and ecological sustainability) is essential.

To ensure transparency among the various instruments and coherence within the context of this objective, adjustments must be made to the framework for allocating RDI support.

Support for businesses should be granted based on explicit criteria reflecting the government's commitment to directing public support towards models that set an example in the realms of social and environmental responsibility. This approach aims to address the social and environmental urgency facing the Region.

The criteria that projects must meet to qualify for and be selected for regional RDI support should be established, communicated to beneficiaries, and implemented step by step.

For calls and support measures intended for the non-profit sector, new guidelines will be outlined to ensure that these initiatives also contribute to the region's social and environmental urgency, furthering the goal of making Brussels a carbon-neutral and resilient capital city by 2050.

Key authorities: Secretary of State for Economic Transition and Scientific Research, Minister of Environment and Energy.

3. Strengthening the Brussels RDI ecosystems.

Incentives should be provided to increase the involvement of various Brussels stakeholders in the research and innovation dynamics, aiming to enhance the relevance of the results achieved for the transition towards sustainable models.

This should include more support for building a fertile ecosystem (universities, colleges, TTO/KTO, businesses, collective centers, etc.) for artificial intelligence, addressing goals such as economic and social transition, as well as urban resilience.

We will strengthen the three university hospital centers to leverage Brussels' expertise in health and university research. For instance, we will develop an international cancer center on the Erasmus campus, capitalizing on the momentum generated by the relocation of the Bordet Institute and the existing ecosystem of fundamental research, applied research, startups, and hospital activities.

In addition to the private and academic sectors, it is also crucial to involve the associative nonprofit sector and citizens, as well as the government in RDI projects. Public innovation will be promoted through innovative government contracts, work methods, or other programs aligned with the sub-principle.

Tools and expertise should be developed to guide the utilization of these lesser-known resources. It is expected that the number of entities and profiles participating in research and innovation projects will significantly increase.

Key authorities: Secretary of State for Economic Transition and Scientific Research, Minister of Environment, Energy, and Participatory Democracy

4. Enhancing scientific collaboration and exchange

The primary challenge of this policy initiative lies in creating tangible value linked to the outcomes of research, development, and innovation. Mechanisms ensuring effective value creation based on these results will be encouraged, both in the development of innovative products and services and in societal renewal.

Collaboration between sectors (businesses, higher education institutions, the nonprofit sector, incubators, governments, and citizens) is strengthened. Access to these results is improved through the introduction of a regional Open Science policy.

Means and channels for disseminating these results are developed, and their usage is effectively monitored, including mobilization for political decision-making.

This initiative will be achieved with the input of other communities and regions to ensure a coherent approach.

Social and citizen-focused innovation necessitates finding new solutions to new or poorly satisfied needs in current circumstances (housing, food, environment, cohesion, health, mobility, etc.), involving entrepreneurs, citizens, and governments. It also serves as a significant lever for the development of new activities that can bring positive external elements for both society and the environment.

Key authorities: Secretary of State for Economic Transition and Scientific Research, Minister of Environment, Energy, and Participatory Democracy.