13/01/2020

Belgium - Country Profile

Categories: News

Tags: Belgium


Country Outline

  • GDP: 450,506 mil. euros (Eurostat 2018)
  • GDP per Capita: 39,500 euros (Eurostat 2018)
  • Areas of marked S&T specialisations: Chemistry, Pharmaceuticals, Space

Contact Information

  • Organisation: Embassy of Belgium
  • Name / Position: Mrs. Eva Morre / Attache
  • Phone no. / e-mail: (+82) 2 749 0381 / eva.morre@diplobel.fed.be

Belgium is a federal country with a federal government and three different regions and three communities. There is no hierarchy of powers between the federal government and the regional governments. It is the regional entities that are primarily responsible for science, technology, education and economic policies. As such they control the main levers for innovation policy.

Some responsibilities remain at the federal level: space research; polar research; international programmes and institutes; fiscal measures (taxes); scientific research institutes that focus on federal competences; and the access to the labour market, social security, scientific visa, regulatory framework, etc.

The Federal Science Policy office (BelSPO) coordinates science policy at the federal level and runs the bodies where the different Belgian authorities meet in order to agree on international science policy issues of common interest. The regions and communities coordinate their own specific policies through the regional governments and agencies.

1. Policies and Strategies in Science, Technology and Innovation

Research and innovation policy in Belgium is designed and implemented in a multi-level governance framework involving the federal government and autonomous regional and (linguistic) community governments.

Belgium, although not among the innovation leaders in the EU, is the strongest country of the EU in innovation linkages and collaboration according to the European Innovation Scoreboard 2018 (European Commission, 2018) and over time, performance has increased relative to that of the EU in 2010. The country has a strong, internationally competitive research infrastructure (most importantly its universities and a handful of major research facilities) driven by a globally connected and highly productive workforce. At the same time, the business sector in Belgium is more active than the EU28 average in terms of both the financing and performance of research and development (R&D).

A small number of foreign owned companies play a key role in underpinning this strong performance, with the R&D investments of a few large companies in a limited number of sectors and mostly managed overseas, making significant impact on the R&D performance. The country is characterized by a relatively large share of SMEs. Belgian SMEs are highly innovative and have the highest absorptive capacity in the EU in terms of employment of highly skilled labour force.

The Belgian authorities are strongly committed to and participate in European initiatives, especially the EU Framework programme for R&D, or in related initiatives such as ESFRI (on research infrastructures). In a number of cases this commitment matches national challenges or priorities, such as the implementation of the European Partnership for Researchers in both communities, which should contribute to attract and retain qualified human resources. With regard to cross-border cooperation, Belgium is actively engaged in a range of initiatives, which include bilateral agreements, joint-R&D projects and shared research infrastructures.

In Belgium, each region/community has its own multi-annual plan that covers research and innovation (either as a sub-element of an overall plan or as a specific strategy). The multiannual plans that are in place in 2019 are namely: the Flanders in Action initiative (VIA)/PACT 2020; the Brussels-Capital Regional Innovation Plan (PRI 2016-2020); the Walloon “Marshall Plan 4.0” (2015-2019) and the Wallonia-Brussels partnership for researchers.

The key R&I relevant aspects of Belgium’s National Reform Programme 2018 sets out the structural measures taken by the Belgian governments over the last twelve months. These can be summarized as follows:

  1. Continue fiscal consolidation and accelerate the reduction of the general government debt ratio, distribute the corresponding objectives among the levels of governance, remove distortive tax expenditures, and create room for infrastructure investment. Among the measures with a significant effect on economic potential, there are lower corporate tax, an exemption on dividend taxes, and increased flexibility in the labor market. The second phase of the tax shift was implemented with a reduction in employer’s social security contributions, and adjustments to the personal income tax system. The third and final phase will take place in 2019-2020.

  2. Ensure that the most disadvantaged groups have equal opportunities as other people to participate in education and the labor market. The fight against social dumping in the construction industry was stepped up, including with a phased reduction of wage costs for shift work on construction sites. In 2020, this reduction will have reached cruising speed and amount to 604 million euros.

  3. Promote investments in knowledge-based capital by way of measures to increase digital technologies adoption and diffuse innovation diffusion, and increase competition in business services, retail trade and network industries. The national pact on strategic investments is in line with the European Investment Plan. It is intended to be an incentive for public and private investments in strategic sectors, such as transport and communication, as well as education and healthcare.

  4. Meet the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy in the fields of work, R&D and innovation, education and training, energy and climate, and social inclusion.

Basic indicators for R&D investments

  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

GDP per capita (euro per capita)

32,300

33,500 34,500 35,000 35,300 35,800 36,500 37,500    

Value added of services  as share of the total value added (% of total)

76.39

75.97 76.27 76.67 77

77.26

77.07 77.16    

Value added of manufacturingas share of the total value added (%)

14.28

14.72 14.25 14.08 13.98 14.05 14.33 14.26    

Employment in manufacturing as share of total employment (%)

12.6

12.11

11.97

11.75

11.52

11.18

10.84

10.71

   

Employment in services as share of total employment (%)

78.7

79.27 79.43 79.67 79.98 80.46 80.91 81.1    

Share of Foreign controlled enterprises in the total nb of enterprises (%)

 

0.28

0.27 0.26 0.24 0.23 0.22      

Labour productivity (Index, 2010=100)

97.8

100 99.5 99.3 100 101.1 102.3 102.4    

New doctorate graduates (ISCED 6) per 1000 population aged 25-34

1.04

1.18 0.77 1.27 1.31 1.36 1.37      

Summary Innovation Index (rank)

8 6 7 7 7 7 7 9    

Innovative enterprises as a share of total number of enterprises (CIS data) (%)

     

55.9

 

64.2

       

Innovative enterprises as a share of total number of enterprises (CIS data) (%)

     

55.9

 

64.2

       

Innovation output indicator (Rank, Intra-EU Comparison)

      10 10 11 12      

Turnover from innovation as % of total turnover (Eurostat)

 

12.4

 

11.2

           

Country position in Doing Business (Ease of doing business index WB) 1=most business-friendly regulations)

         

41

43 42 42 52

Ease of getting credit (WB GII) (Rank)

         

80

81 84    

Venture capital investment as % of GDP (seed, start-up and later stage)

0.053

0.025 0.03 0.033 0.026 0.032 0.015      

EC Digital Economy & Society Index (DESI) (Rank)

 

 

   

 

5 5 5 6  

E-Government Development Index Rank

  16   24   25   19    

Online availability of public services-Percentage of individuals having interactions with public authorities via Internet (last 12 months)

41

45 47 50 50 55 52 55 55  

GERD (as % of GDP)

1.99

2.05 2.16 2.27 2.33 2.39 2.47 2.49    

GBAORD (as % of GDP)

0.66

0.65 0.63 0.64 0.64 0.68 0.62 0.64    

R&D funded by GOV (% of GDP)

0.5

0.52 0.5 0.56 0.57  

0.55

     

BERD (% of GDP)

1.31

1.38 1.48 1.59 1.62 1.67 1.72 1.73    

Research excellence composite indicator (Rank)

7 8 8 8 8 8        

Percentage of scientific publications among the top 10% most cited publications worldwide as % of total scientific publications of the country

 

12.36

12.43 12.65 12.88 12.55        

Public-private co-publications per million population

63.7

68.17 74.63 70.39 76.24 71.73 61.05      

World Shate of PCT applications

0.73

0.72 0.69 0.67 0.57 0.61 0.64      

Global Innovation Index

     

21

23 25 23 27    
source: Kelchtermans, S, and Robledo-Bottcher N, RIO Country Report 2017: Belgium, EUR 29152 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2018, ISBN 978-92-79-81195-1, doi:10.2760/066103, JRC111253.)

2. National STI Programmes and Initiatives

International Cooperation Programmes/Initiatives

Programme Title

Contents

Grants Programme ASEM DUO –

Belgium/Wallonia-Brussels

https://www.ares-ac.be/en/
relationsinternationales/
asem-duo-grant

  •    Cooperation Type: Mobility
  •    Funding Organisation: Wallonia-Brussels-International (WBI)
  •    Call Opening/Closing Date: April 30th – October 31st
  •    Participation Qualification: Lecturers/professors from a higher education institution recognised by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation whose institution already has a cooperation agreement with an education institution in Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New-Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam or intends to have one within the next 2 years.
  •    Project Duration: 1 to 3 months
  •    Funding Scale and Funding Scheme: 5,000€ per month for the two professors (or a total amount of 15,000€ for a three-month exchange for the pair).
  •    Research Fields: All
  •    Others: Aims to encourage “mobility in pairs (2 persons)” of lecturers/professors from 2 partner higher education institutions and, in particular, from Australia, India, Japan or South Korea.

Several PhD and postdoctoral fellowships and other grants from the FWO

www.fwo.be

  •    Cooperation Type: Mobility
  •    Funding Organisation: The Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
  •    Call Opening/Closing Date: Several dates
  •    Participation Qualification: Please check website
  •    Project Duration: Various durations possible
  •    Funding Scale and Funding Scheme: please check website
  •    Research Fields: All
  •    Others: Support to ground-breaking fundamental research at universities of the Flemish Community (including the academic programmes within the corresponding association); federal or Flemish scientific institutes; university hospitals in the Flemish Community and hospitals with an academic character recognised as research centre in the Flemish Community. FWO stimulates international cooperation and international mobility by giving researchers the opportunity to gain experience or work as members of international research groups or by attracting researchers from abroad.

Scholarships for Excellence program– IN.WBI

http://www.wbi.be

  •    Cooperation Type: Mobility
  •    Funding Organisation: Wallonia-Brussels-International (WBI)
  •    Call Opening/Closing Date: Please check website
  •    Participation Qualification: Researchers from any country who have obtained a PhD degree
  •    Project Duration: Long-term scholarships (minimum 1 year, renewable once) at postdoctoral level ; Short-term scholarships (1 to 3 months, non-renewable) at postdoctoral level.
  •    Funding Scale and Funding Scheme: Please check website
  •    Research Fields: Particularly focused on sectors of the Marshall Plan 4.0: Transport and logistics; Mechanical engineering; Life sciences; Agriculture-industry; Aerospace; and Environmental technologies. Other fields will also be considered.

FWO Junior/Senior Research Project

https://www.fwo.be/en/
fellowshipsfunding/
researchprojects/
junior-andsenior-researchprojects

  •    Programme name: FWO Research Project
  •    Cooperation Type: Research Project
  •    Funding Organization: The Research Foundation-Flanders
  •    Call Opening/Closing Date: December 2019 - 01/04/2020 (tentative dates)
  •    Participation Qualification: The objective of an FWO research project is to advance fundamental scientific research. Non-Flemish universities can be included
  •     Project Duration: 4 years
  •    Funding Scale and Funding Scheme: Non-Flemish universities can receive up to 10% of the total budget requested at FWO
  •    Research Fields: Fundamental research in all domains
  •    Matching fund from Korean government: No

Odysseus Program https://www.fwo.be/en/
fellowshipsfunding/research-projects/odysseusprogramme/

  •    Programme name: FWO Odysseus program
  •    Cooperation Type: Research Project
  •    Funding Organization: The Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO)
  •    Call Opening/Closing Date: Next call deadline in 2020 (tentative date)
  •    Participation Qualification: The Odysseus program supports outstanding researchers who have built up a career outside Flanders. The program provides start-up funding in order to develop a research group within a Flemish university or to set up a research line and become progressively more involved in the Flemish research establishment. (see program website)
  •    Project Duration: 5 years
  •    Funding Scale and Funding Scheme: See program website - Depending on the program type up to €1,500,000 per year
  •    Research Fields: Fundamental research in all domains
  •    Matching fund from Korean government: No

Strategic Basic Research Program (SBO)

https://www.fwo.be/en/fellowshipsfunding/
researchprojects/sbo-projects

  •    Programme name: FWO Strategic Basic Research Program (SBO)
  •    Cooperation Type: Research Project
  •    Funding Organization: The Research Foundation-Flanders
  •    Call Opening/Closing Date: See website
  •    Participation Qualification: The SBO program focuses on innovative research that has a clear relationship with practice and which, if scientifically successful, opens prospects for subsequent sustainable economic or societal applications. One or more R&D research centers from outside Flanders may be included
  •    Project Duration: max. 4 years
  •   Funding Scale and Funding Scheme: Budget for non-Flemish research centers may not exceed 20% of total project budget
  •    Research Fields: Strategic basic research with economic or societal finality
  •    Matching fund from Korean government: No

Innovation mandates (IM)

  •    Cooperation Type: Joint research
  •    Funding Organisation: Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT)
  •    Call Opening/Closing Date: 2 deadlines per year
  •    Participation Qualification: open to anyone who holds a PhD degree
  •    Project Duration: around 2 years
  •    Funding Scale and Funding Scheme: There are various types of mandates: spinoff mandates that are 100% funded by IWT for up to 2 years; Innovation mandates involving cooperation with existing companies
  •    Research Fields: All
  •    Others: The ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between academia and industry and to help researchers to make the transition into the business world.

Applied Biomedical Research with a Primary Societal finality (TBM) https://www.fwo.be/en/
fellowshipsfundingresearchprojects/tbm-projects

  •    Programme name: FWO Applied Biomedical Research with a Primary Societal finality (TBM)
  •    Cooperation Type: Research Project
  •    Funding Organization: The Research Foundation-Flanders
  •    Call Opening/Closing Date: Beginning of December / end of March
  •    Participation Qualification: Focuses on niche in biomedical research: Latestage translational research with a pronounced societal applicability, but no industrial interest. Non-Flemish non-profit R&D players can be included in the consortium as co-applicants
  •    Project Duration: 2 to 4 years
  •    Funding Scale and Funding Scheme: See website
  •    Research Fields: Biomedical research
  •    Matching fund from Korean government: No

FWO Excellence of Science (EOS)

https://www.fwo.be/en/fellowshipsfunding/
researchprojects/
eos-researchproject

  •    Programme name: FWO Excellence of Science (EOS)
  •    Cooperation Type: Research Project
  •    Funding Organisation: The Research Foundation-Flanders: www.fwo.be and the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (F.R.S.-FNRS): www.fnrs.be/en/
  •    Call Opening/Closing Date: Next call deadline in 2021
  •    Participation Qualification: The EOS programme wants to promote joint fundamental research between researchers in the Flemish and Frenchspeaking communities of Belgium. Non-Belgian research partners can be included
  •    Project Duration: 4 years
  •    Funding Scale and Funding Scheme: Overall budget for non-Belgian research partners may not exceed 10% of total budget. Project budget up to €1,000,000 per year
  •    Research Fields: Fundamental research in all domains
  •    Matching fund from Korean government: No

STEREO III

https://eo.belspo.be/en

  •    Cooperation Type: Belgian R&I programme open to international partner(s)
  •    Funding Organisation: Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO)
  •    Call Opening/Closing Date: 1 call/year
  •    Participation Qualification: Open to universities, public scientific institutions and non-profit research institutions
  •    Project Duration: Small projects (1-3 years), big projects (4-5 years)
  •    Funding Scale and Funding Scheme: A maximum of 20% of the STEREO budget may be earmarked for foreign teams per project
  •    Research Fields: Earth observation
  •    Matching fund from Korean government: The foreign partners co-finance the project by matching the STEREO III under a parallel funding arrangement

Federal Research Programme Drugs

http://www.belspo.be/belspo/
drugs/program_en.stm

  •    Cooperation Type: Joint research
  •    Funding Organisation: Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO)
  •    Call Opening/Closing Date: Every year
  •    Participation Qualification: Foreign research fundable up to 20% of total budget of proposal/project
  •    Project Duration: 2 years average
  •    Funding Scale and Funding Scheme: 250.000€ per project
  •    Research Fields: Social sciences and humanities and life sciences. Each year specific topics are selected for the call.
  •     Matching fund from Korean government: No

 

3. Joint Activities with Korea 

Activities with the RoK in 2019-2020

Programme Title

Contents

Call for joint FWO-NRF mobility projects
https://www.fwo.be/en/fellowships-funding/
international-collaboration/
scientific-cooperation/
cooperation-with-southkorea

  •    Cooperation Type: Joint Mobility Project
  •    Funding Organization: The Research Foundation-Flanders www.fwo.be  and The National Research Foundation http://www.nrf.re.kr/eng/main
  •    Call Opening/Closing Date: see website for upcoming calls
  •    Participation Qualification: see program website including guidelines
  •    Project Duration: 2 years
  •    Funding Scale and Funding Scheme: costs for exchange of researchers
  •    Research Fields: Fundamental research in all domains
  •    Matching fund from Korean government: Yes by NRF
  •     Others: Promotion of international collaboration between Flanders and South Korea

 

4. Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Partners

Organisation Name

Detailed information

Belgian Nuclear Research Centre
(SCK-CEN) http://www.sckcen.be

  •    Organisation type: research organisation
  •    Major research areas/products…: nuclear science and technology and ionizing radiation
  •    Contact point: Services, consultancy and R&D: business@sckcen.be

Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics (VKI) www.vki.ac.be

  •    Organisation type: research and education organisation
  •    Major Research Area/Product: theoretical and experimental fluid dynamics including numerical methods
  •    Contact Information: secretariat@vki.ac.be

Cenaero

www.cenaero.be

  •    Organisation type: research organisation
  •    Major Research Area/Product: aeronautics
  •    Contact Information: info@cenaero.be

Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB)

www.vib.be 

  •    Organisation type: research organisation
  •    Major Research Area/Product: life sciences
  •    Contact Information: info@vib.be

Interuniversity Micro- Electronics Centre (IMEC)

www.imec.be

  •    Organisation type: research organisation
  •    Major Research Area/Product: semiconductor technology, nanoelectronics, nanotechnology, design methods and technologies for ICT systems
  •    Contact Information: info@imec.be

VITO

https://vito.be

  •    Organisation type: research organisation
  •    Major Research Area/Product: energy, materials, chemistry, health and land use (including earth observation)
  •    Contact Information: vito@vito.be

Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) www.itg.be

  •    Organisation type: research organisation
  •    Major Research Area/Product: tropical medicine and health care
  •    Contact Information: itmedu@itg.be

Competitiveness Clusters in Wallonia

www.clusters.wallonie.be


Edited and published by the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Korea:

https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/japan/68361/new-publication-2019-science-technology-and-innovation-europe_en