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Belgian Research in Europe

1st Quarter 2017

R&D Te c h n o l o g y

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Innovation

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Belgian Research 2017_Mise en page 1 06/02/2017 09:30 Page1

Summary

R &D, Technology, Innovation

Belgian Research in Europe

Editorial and Administration Rue de la Presse, 4 B-1000 Brussels Tel.: +32(0)2 227 11 04 Fax: +32(0)2 218 31 41 E-mail: redaction@publicommb.com Publication Manager Georges FRANCO Editorial co-ordination Carine CHEVAL Journalists Carine CHEVAL, Bert VERBEKE

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- 1st Quarter 2017 -

Putting research and innovation at the core of economic policy An interview with Director-General Robert-Jan SMITS, European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation.......8-9 The European Space Area at a crossroads An interview with Mr Philippe BUSQUIN, Former European Research Commissioner ..........................................10-11 FED-tWIN: a win-win programme to safeguard scientific research at the FSIs An interview with Mrs Elke SLEURS, Secretary of State for Poverty Reduction, Equal Opportunities, People with Disabilities, Combating Fraud and Scientific Policy .................12 Be a Source of New Proposals for the Federal Government An interview with Mr Andreas DE LEENHEER, President of the Federal Council for Science Policy (CFPS-FRWB), Honorary President of the University of Ghent (UGent) .............................13 n Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy – BIRA-IASB

Fostering basic, interdisciplinary and applied research ......................14-15 Belgium remains a key player on the world stage By Mr Marc BOGAERTS, Director General of the Belgian Foreigh Trade Agency (BFTA) ..................16 Sirris: driving industry by technology An interview with Mr Herman DERACHE, Managing Director of Sirris ...................................................................17 n European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers Association – ETRMA

A key enabler for sustainable mobility ............................................18-19 This publication is protected by copyright. Any reproduction, in full or in part, of articles published in this issue requires the explicit written consent of the publisher.

n Belnet

Operational Excellence at the Service of Researchers .............................20 Concentrating objectives and resources An interview with Mr Leopold DEMIDDELEER, President of the Council for Science Policy of the Brussels-Capital Region, Founding Director of TechBridgeOne sprl ................................................23

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n INNOVIRIS

Supporting research and innovation in the Brussels Region An interview with Mrs Katrien MONDT, Managing Director Innoviris ..........................................................24-25 Brussels Aeronautical Group: Offering increased value in terms of technology and quality An interview with Mr Marc DUBOIS, Chairman Brussels Aeronautical Group (BAG), Commercial Director of SABCA Group ...................................................26 © Sabca

Listening to the needs of foreign investors and Brussels companies An interview with Mrs Bénédicte WILDERS, General Manager of Brussels Invest & Export ..........................................27 ULB: one of the most innovative Universities in Belgium An interview with Prof. Serge SCHIFFMANN, Vice-Rector for Research and Valorisation at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) ............................................28-29 n Aero-Thermo-Mechanics – ATM

The Specialist for Thermodynamic Systems ...........................................30 n Chemical Physics of Materials and Catalysis – ULB

An Established Leader in Heterogeneous Catalysis .................................31 n Centre for Research in Cognition & Neurosciences - CRCN

An Interdisciplinary Challenge ...........................................................32 n The 4MAT Department

The Specialist in Inorganic Material .....................................................33 © Rights reserved

n Group “Verification and formal methods” - ULB

A recognized partner for designing mathematics to build reliable computer systems......................................................34 A widely recognized expertise in interdisciplinarity An interview with Prof. Pierre JADOUL, Rector of the Université Saint-Louis - Bruxelles (USL-B)................................35 Innovation through multidisciplinary collaboration An interview with Mr Philippe MUYTERS, Flemish minister of Work, Economy, Innovation and Sport ...................38-39

© Shutterstock

EWI: Excellence is the keyword in scientific research An interview with Mr Johan HANSSENS, Secretary-General of EWI .................................................................40-41

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VARIO: Independent advice for the Flemish Government .......................................42 Vlaio: support for research projects in large and small companies ........................43 The voice of the Universities of Apllied Sciences (UAS’s) and University Colleges (UC’s) in Europe Statement on the mid-term review Horizon 2020 .................................44-45 n SCK•CEN © Rights reserved

Pioneer in nuclear applications ......................................................46-47 VITO: the right tools and expertise for accurate guidance at every stage of growth ........................................................................48 Merger of imec and iMinds: cross-pollination of nano-electronics, software and ICT ..............................49 FLAG: support of the development of aviation and related technologies.......50 UGent TechTransfer: creating social impact from scientific research.............51

© Christophe Vander Eecken

Keeping the balance between fundamental research and applied research An interview with Prof. Anne DE PAEPE, Rector of Ghent University (UGent) ....................................................52-53 n Vlerick Business School

“Jointly putting knowledge into action and action into knowledge”.........54-55 n Howest: practical research with social value..........................................57

VOKA promotes, supports and creates collaboration between business and academic research institutes An interview with Mr Hans MAERTENS, Managing Director of VOKA ...............................................................58-59 Top research in a number of clear-cut domains An interview with Dr Luc DE SCHEPPER, Rector of the University of Hasselt (UHasselt).......................................60-61 n UHasselt © Howest

Expertise centre for Digital Media: looking for applications in business and society...............................62-63

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n UHasselt

Architecture and Arts Faculty: social relevance as the recurrent theme ........64 n UHasselt

Center for Statistics: statistical models and methods for clinical studies, epidemiological studies and bioinformatics experiments ........................65 n JABIL HASSELT:

Where passion meets performances .....................................................66 n PRODUCT VALIDATION LAB - JABIL HASSELT..............................................67 © UHasselt

Paving the way for all technology-inspired companies in Flanders An interview with Mr Wilson DE PRIL, Managing Director of Agoria Vlaanderen ...............................................68 n WOOD.BE

The leading knowledge centre for the woodworking and furniture industry.....69 n Skyline Communications focuses on technological leadership .............70-71 n Weiss Technik

Top quality and high performance climate testing systems, furnaces and infrared systems ........................................................72-74 n Becetel: © Skyline Communications

Technological and scientific materials testing for industry, public and private sector ...............................................................75-76 Promoting research and development in the field of e-Health An interview with Mr Maxime PREVOT, Vice-President of the Walloon Government, Minister of Public Works, Health, Social Welfare and Heritage.............78-79 The Strengthening of Leading-Edge Sectors such as Biotechnology and Aeronautics An interview with Mr Pierre VILLERS, Public Service of Wallonia – Operational Directorate-General for Economy, Employment and Research (DGO 6) – Department of Research Programmes ....80-81 Promoting internationally Walloon companies and research organisations .....82-83 n Coatings Research Institute – CoRI

Turn ideas into innovative and successful products ...........................84-85 © CoRI

n GO2M

Your accelerated coating industrialization company ...............................86

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n Dothée SA

The Specialist of the Eco-friendliest Professional Paints and Coatings ......87 In Favor of Fundamental Research of Excellence Motivated by the Researchers’ Curiosity An interview with Dr Marc VANHOLSBEECK, Head of the Direction of Scientific Research at DGENORS (General Directorate for non-compulsory education and scientific research) at the Ministry of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (French Community of Belgium) ..............................................................88 Further promoting research results An interview with Mr Gianni INFANTI, President of the Walloon Science Policy Council ......................................89 Unblocking obstacles to innovation An interview with Mr Vincent REUTER, General Manager of the Union of Walloon Enterprises (UWE) ..................90 © Dothée SA

Taking advantage of Horizon 2020 An interview with Mr Pierre FIASSE, European Project Developer at NCP Wallonie .........................................91 Give your company a boost with Agoria Wallonia ......................................92 n SYNHERA

the efficiency of a network............................................................93-96 Skywin: Collaborative innovation and operational excellence An interview with Mr Etienne POURBAIX, Director of the Skywin competitiveness cluster ...................................98-101 © Courtesy of CAPAUL

n Thales Alenia Space Belgium ................................................97, 102-103

BioWin: Providing growth for SMEs in the health sector in Wallonia An interview with Mrs Sylvie PONCHAUT, Managing Director of the BioWin competitiveness cluster.................104-107 Logistics in Wallonia: A strong relationship between companies and universities has become part of our DNA An interview with Mr Bernard PIETTE, Director of the Logistics in Wallonia competitiveness cluster ..............108-111

© MecaTech

MecaTech: Hybridization of Technologies and Innovations to Mechanical Engineering An interview with Mr Jacques GERMAY, MecaTech Cluster.........................................................................112-115

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n WBC Incubator

Highly Specialized Coaching in the Medical and Environmental Sectors An interview with Mr Serge PAMPFER, General Director of WBC Incubator ...........................................116-117 Consolidating the Research status of the “Université catholique de Louvain” An interview with Prof. Vincent BLONDEL, Rector of the “Université catholique de Louvain” (UCL) .....................118-119 n Pr. Yann Garcia’s Research Team – IMCN MOST

A Unique Expertise in the Development of Bistable Functional Materials ......120 © Shutterstock

n The Laboratory of Mycology of the UCL

Valorization of fungi in the Agricultural and Food Areas.......................121 Innovation: A State of Mind An interview with Mrs Véronique CABIAUX, Executive Director of the Agence pour l’Entreprise & l’Innovation (AEI) ........122 Design, a vector of economic and social innovation An interview with Mrs Clio BRZAKALA, Director of Wallonie Design.................................................................123 © ESA-ATG medialab

n The Walloon Public Service Science Institute (ISSeP)

A Unique Expertise in the Service of Environment and Public Health ....124-125 n Center for Education and Research on Macromolecules – CERM

Polymers to serve coatings, biomaterials and energy............................126 n Centre spatial de Liège – CSL

Develop Technologies in the Service of Space......................................127 n EPHEC University College

Practical and Vocational Education with Pedagogical Proximity .......128-129 n HELMo Gramme

Recognizing the Capacity in Technological Research of Industrial Engineers....130 n Haute École de Namur-Liège-Luxembourg – HENALLUX

Continuous Training, Applied Research and Development of Services......131

© CSL-ULg-ESA-Thales

From science to business: innovation is the drive of impact of the academic research An interview with Dr Michel MORANT, President of the LIEU Network, Vice-President ASTP-Proton ............................................................132-133

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How could research at UMONS get the most impact in society? An interview with Prof. Calogero CONTI, Rector of the University of Mons (UMONS).....................................134-135 n The Research Institute for the Science and Management of Risks – UMONS

A Transversal Approach at the Service of Risk Prevention .....................136 n Biosciences Research Institute

A Multi-Disciplinary Team to Serve the Living World ............................137

© UMONS

European Network of Bioadhesion Expertise (ENBA): Fundamental Knowledge to Inspire Advanced Bonding Technologies...........138 n Materials Science Department

The specialist in multi-purpose coatings and sensors...........................139 n Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches de l’Institut

Supérieur Industriel Catholique du Hainaut – CERISIC Multidisciplinarity at the service of applied research ....................140-141 n Center for Microscopy and Molecular Imaging – CMMI

Excellence in preclinical imaging.......................................................142 n Center of Innovation and Research in MAterials & Polymers - CIRMAP

Using the polymers for the benefit of the environnement ....................143 n CRECIT - Center for Scientific and Technical Research,

Testing and Quality Control for the Textile Industry A Unique Expertise in Belgium..........................................................144 © CIRMAP

n The Haute Ecole Provinciale de Hainaut-Condorcet

Practical Teaching and Applied Research to Serve Industry....................145 The University of Namur: cross-disciplinary thinking and opening-up to the outside world An interview with Prof. Martine RAES, Vice-rector for Research and Libraries at the University of Namur (UNamur) .............................................146-147

****** © Haute Ecole Provinciale de Hainaut-Condorcet

Index of Company Profiles and Advertisers.................................................148

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Putting research and innovation at the core of economic policy An interview with Director-General Robert-Jan SMITS, European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation target for funding to innovative small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). However, the appealing design of the programme and the simplified application process also means that we have to deal with large oversubscription.

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hat are European Commission’s priorities for Research, Science and Innovation? Research and innovation are vital to building a prosperous future for the EU, and underpin its top policy priorities: creating jobs and growth, building a digital single market, making the energy union a reality and addressing climate change. And through its strong international dimension, research and innovation are helping to achieve the objective of making the EU “A Stronger Global Actor”, and also contributing to objectives on Justice and Fundamental Rights, Migration and Democratic Change.

© Artur Eranosian

Of course, we are continuously striving to improve the programme. For example, work on simplification of Horizon 2020 for the applicants and beneficiaries never stops. And we have been looking at ways of further boosting the impact of EU funding on research and innovation. As part of the interim evaluation of the programme, a high-level group under the leadership of Pascal Lamy is being set up to look into this.

As regards more specific priorities for the EU research and innovation policy, the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, has defined them as the “Three O’s”: Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World. Open Innovation is about creating an ecosystem in which innovation flourishes; Open Science is about greater collaboration and access and sharing of data; and the Open to the World priority is about developing global research partnerships in order to create new markets, to address global challenges, and to maintain Europe’s leading voice in global debates. It’s also about using science diplomacy as an external policy instrument.

What are the main challenges facing EU basic research? More investment into pioneering frontier research is needed if Europe is to stay competitive on the global stage. Europe hosts many top scientists, but we could back even more of them. We should be a hub for such talent, making it worthwhile to stay in Europe and also attracting more bright minds to come here. The funding should come both from the EU level and the national level; we need complementarity here.

The first mission that I have set for the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation is: putting research and innovation at the core of economic policy making. The recognition of the crucial role of research and innovation for the economy is growing, and our DG monitors the Member States’ delivery on their research intensity targets, measures the impact of R&I investments, develops relevant parts of country specific recommendations, but also helps the Member States with growth-enhancing reforms of national R&I systems. The second part of the DG’s mission is developing favourable framework conditions for research and innovation. And finally, the third part is the strategic programming of Horizon 2020.

We should also have a sound balance when it comes to the bottom-up and top-down funding approach. To keep EU basic research on the map, it is essential to support all fields, and in a bottom-up way, allowing our best scientists to pursue their most creative ideas. The European Commission backs such world-class research notably through the European Research Council (ERC), set up in 2007. This certainly pays off. It is a

© University of Liège

How do you assess the launching of Horizon 2020? Horizon 2020, running from 2014 to 2020 with a budget of nearly €77 billion, has reached cruising speed. In fact, we are now starting its interim evaluation. Its architecture, supporting the entire research and innovation cycle, and its cross-sectorial focus on key societal challenges have been a huge success. In its first two years, the programme attracted over 76 000 eligible proposals of an ever increasing quality. Over 9000 grant agreements have been signed for calls with deadlines in 2014 and 2015, allocating almost €16 billion to boosting excellent science, creating industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. Almost half of successful applicants are newcomers to the programme, and we are well above the

The SPECULOOS project of Michaël Gillon of the University of Liège, who is an ERC grantee, has increased our understanding of the universe.

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SMEs with the ambition to carry out disruptive, market creating innovation. The EIC would focus on support for innovative firms and entrepreneurs with the potential to scale up rapidly to become the game-changers of the future, helping to spur growth and create new jobs. Based on experience from the pilot phase planned to start this year, a full-fledged EIC could be rolled out in a successor programme to Horizon 2020.

© Antwerp/RScholtalbers

What devices do you have at your disposal in order to help European innovative start-ups and SMEs to grow? Horizon 2020 offers record funding to SMEs. At least 20%, or nearly €9 billion from Horizon 2020’s ‘leadership in industrial technologies’ and ‘societal challenge’ pillars, is expected to benefit SMEs directly, including via a dedicated SME Instrument. Worth close to €3 billion over seven years, it offers fast and simple grants for innovative ideas from conception to market entry. As of October 2016, over €780 million has been invested in over 2000 companies under this instrument. On top of that, the Fast Track to Innovation pilot, running in 2015 and 2016 with a budget of €200 million, has also been supporting excellent business ideas.

EU-funded Ebola-Tx project, coordinated by the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, made a major contribution to fighting the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa.

well-established fact that curiosity-driven research leads to real breakthroughs that can revolutionise our societies, boost the economy, create jobs and thus benefit all.

In addition, the European Commission and European Investment Bank Group joined forces to encourage banks and other financial intermediaries to finance innovation-driven companies through InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators, a tool supported by Horizon 2020. Other companies can find access to finance under COSME. The Commission later increased the firepower of these instruments by linking them to the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), and President Jean-Claude Juncker recently proposed to expand EFSI in order to mobilise €500 billion instead of €315 billion of investments into Europe’s economy. Approximately 25% of EFSI funding currently goes to research and innovation, and innovative SMEs are obtaining 47% of EFSI funding under the EFSI SME Window.

Could you give us some examples of EU-funded projects that turned into success stories? The recent 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is a good example. It was jointly awarded to three scientists - Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa - for the design of molecular machines. Their work can revolutionise medicine. The three laureates have had numerous links to EU-funded research projects throughout their careers, from collaborative research projects, via fellowships under Marie SkłodowskaCurie Actions (MSCA), to ERC grants. But let me give you just a couple of the many examples directly linked to Belgium. A Belgian ERC grantee, Michaël Gillon of the University of Liège, recently made headlines around the world thanks to his team’s discovery of three potentially habitable planets that orbit an ultra-cool dwarf star just 40 light years from Earth.

So you see that we are constantly looking into how we could further improve our investment programmes with the aim to boost research and innovation.

Closer to home, a project called European Bus System of the Future 2, coordinated by the Belgium-based Union Internationale des Transports Publics, is testing intelligent, energyefficient and passenger-friendly buses across 12 cities in Europe. Such projects lead to new market opportunities for cutting-edge technology, thus supporting competitiveness, growth and job creation. Belgian researchers have also made a major contribution to fighting epidemics. One of the projects that we funded under an emergency procedure launched in 2014 after the Ebola outbreak in Africa, Ebola-Tx, is coordinated by the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp. It studied the safety, efficacy, and practical aspects of using whole blood or plasma from survivors as a treatment for Ebola patients in Guinea. © Volvo

Why did Commissioner Moedas propose to create a European Innovation Council (EIC)? The aim is to further boost the impact of EU research and innovation programmes by stimulating innovative start-ups and

Research areas of the EU-funded European Bus System of the Future 2 project include indoor stops for electric buses, such as those in Gothenburg.

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The European Space Area at a crossroads An interview with Mr Philippe BUSQUIN, Former European Research Commissioner

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What is your outlook on the European Research Area? I confess to being worried about the effects that Brexit could have for the European Research Area. At the heart of the development of the scientific approach in Europe, the United Kingdom has participated in all the research framework programs and broadly supported the launch in 2000 of the concept of the European Research Area in the context of the Lisbon strategy. From the start, the European Research Area aimed at a better organization of European research effort, weakened by fragmentation, isolation and compartmentalisation of national research systems, disparity of regulatory and administrative regimes. And even if funding for European research has not reached 3% of GDP, there is now a real European research community. © Rights reserved

hat, for you, are the main challenges facing European research players? I agree with the European Union’s (EU) analysis concerning the major fields of research handled by all member states, including energy, sustainable development, the aging population, healthcare and key enabling technologies (KET). €8 billion have been set aside to support KET development, which is crucial to ensure that the EU remains at the forefront of this field. We mustn’t forget that we are at risk of losing ground to countries such as China or South Korea, where the number of researchers is proportionally very high. Unfortunately, current austerity policies in European countries are doing very little to help us reach the 3% of GDP to be dedicated to research and innovation… In certain extreme cases such as Spain, Italy and Greece, researchers are even beginning to emigrate. But despite this unfavourable situation, Belgium has been able to maintain its input, with 2.49% of our GDP going towards research and innovation. There is, however, a long way to go if we want to maintain our place in the world.

In addition, the new Treaty of Lisbon (2005) consolidated the concept of the European Research Area by giving the European Union a competence shared with the Member States, considering the space policy on this scale and enabling support to fundamental research. To this end, the ERC grants (European Research Council), introduced in 2007, are very popular because they allow to keep or repatriate European researchers of the highest level. Now Great-Britain has the highest EU rate of success in this field and coordinates many projects in life sciences.

There are other issues facing the European scientific community. The Luxemburgish presidency had raised the issue of scientific integrity - this is a problem all over the world, as certain researchers do not always adhere to ethical rules when subject to intense international competition. The EU must set an example to avoid publishing unreliable results. As such, I am a member of the global ethical commission for science and technology at Unesco (COMESCT), which adopted a report in September 2015 titled “Science, technology and society: an ethical point of view” in order to bring the scientific research conditions up to date from the edition released in 1974. This report addresses intellectual honesty, freedom of research and much more. These subjects are more important now than ever!

Will Brexit jeopardize all these “win-win” collaborations at European level? In the short term, eligibility for H2020 programs remains applicable as stressed by European Commissioner Carlos Moedas. Yet negotiations will be very complicated and Brexit might threaten the free movement of researchers throughout the European Union, and with it access to academic positions regardless of nationality. In general, many problems will arise in relation to the golden triangle (education, research and innovation), which is the future of Europe. Regarding education, the Bologna process will continue to serve as a framework and to ensure student mobility, provided that quality agencies, recognized by the European Union, contribute to the recognition of increasingly transnational diplomas.

Another crucial ethical challenge is that of transhumanism. This arises from the considerable progress made in the field of artificial intelligence and the emergence of a new singularity as preached by Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google. We must pay close attention to developments in this field.

As for research and innovation, the situation is more complex: what about the financing of European structures and with which status? Will the European Research Area manage to create a critical mass of research and innovation through collaboration between businesses and academia, beyond national borders? And what about the funding and participation of the EIB (European Investment Bank), which plays a growing role in supporting innovation through venture capital

To finish, we need to come back to innovation. To me, it is essential to push forward with a principle of innovation in order to counterbalance the misuse of the precautionary principle. When in doubt, we must increase our knowledge rather than walk away. And to do this, we need more research.

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for innovative companies within H2020? And what to say of the European agencies (REACH for the registration of chemicals, the drug agency based in London), essential for the European industry? All these questions reflect an urgent need for cohesion in Europe, at a time when Asia is playing an increasingly important part. If research and innovation are only one element of the European policy, they nevertheless constitute a decisive foundation for its future. Ultimately, Brexit questions us about our ability to live together as Europeans concerned about common values. How do you assess the Union of Innovation? We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that innovation must be decided at a territorial and regional level, where the academics, businesses and public authorities can be found. Innovation requires a close-knit economic fabric in order to flourish. Here, the EU has a major role to play: it must create instruments, support good working practices and provide indicators for the development of region-appropriate mechanisms. © Shorelander

I cannot overstate the importance of universities’ value to the economy. In a press release from the 7 th of September 2015 titled “Investing in Research, Innovation and Education really pay off!”, the League of European Research Universities (LERU) reported that the member universities of the LERU contributed a total of €71.2 billion in GVA to the economy and 900,065 jobs in Europe in 2014. What’s more, for each euro generated by the member universities there was almost €6 contributed to the European economy. And each job created directly by the LERU universities supported almost 6 jobs in the European economy. This is how important research and innovation are for Europe.

Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium) pills. Set up in the framework of FP7, the IMI (Innovative Medicines Initiative) has yielded very positive results.

© Los Alamos National Laboratory / Marc Achermann

For you, what are the best financial incentives for innovative companies and for investors? In my opinion, the two best tools are venture capital and incentivising taxation. However, any attempt by member states to reduce taxes for innovative companies could lead to a refusal by the EC General Direction for internal markets due to a distortion of the competition within Europe. It could also be proposed that investments in research and innovation may not be included in public deficits in order to increase their share of public expenditure. But here, too, we fall back onto the same contradictions on a European level between finance and research. Additionally, it would be preferable for the financial incentives, currently the responsibility of member states, to come directly from the EU, even if it is just to set a framework for the development of these incentives. What is the best way to promote open innovation, open science and the opening of the EU out onto the world? There is an excellent idea put forward by Carlos Moedas. Currently, even large companies such as IBM are talking about open innovation. Universities, too, have embarked on the path of open access: in this field, the ULg is leading the way with more than 80% of their publications in open access. Horizon 2020 advocates open access, and rightly so because cooperation is increasingly important. Deep down, European programmes are a clever blend of competition and cooperation because we know that the EU must cooperate in order to remain competitive with the rest of the world. Open methods reinforce excellence.

Energy transfer diagrammed from nano-thin layers of Sandia-grown quantum wells to the LANL nanocrystals above the nanolayers. Nanotechnology is part of the key enabling technologies the UE is committed to support.

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FED-tWIN: a win-win programme to safeguard scientific research at the FSIs An interview with Mrs Elke SLEURS, Secretary of State for Poverty Reduction, Equal Opportunities, People with Disabilities, Combating Fraud and Scientific Policy

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n the course of 2017 an Interfederal Space Agency will be established, named ISAB. What is your aim with that? Elke Sleurs: “The aerospace industry is shifting from a technological-scientific sector to a “user” sector, where applications are becoming increasingly important. Examples include communications satellites (mobile telephony, Internet etc.), satellite navigation (GPS, traffic information etc.) or the use of observation satellites (weather forecasting, urban planning, monitoring vegetation etc.). Many of these powers are at a federated state level. So the federal structure needs to adapt so that it can at least consult structurally with the federated states. That is not currently the case. Aerospace policy has also too long been focused on cooperation with the ESA. However, the aerospace sector has recently undergone profound changes. Since the Lisbon Treaty, the European Union has been vested with aerospace powers, along with substantial budgets. Globally there are now new players such as China and India. This therefore requires a very different approach and mentality of federal aerospace policy. Maintaining the status quo will put Belgium at risk of losing aerospace contracts. To meet these new challenges, the Interfederal Space Agency of Belgium (ISAB) will pool together all federal aerospace resources and personnel. But the regions will also be structurally involved in the operation.”

© Bart Dewaele

You are also responsible for the federal scientific institutions. Are these FSIs sufficiently resilient to guarantee top cutting-edge scientific research? Elke Sleurs: “I established the new federal grant programme FED-tWIN to safeguard scientific research at the FSIs. This involves the creation of 125 research posts for researchers and professors who are recruited in a 50-50% ratio by an FSI and a university. The museological or application-focused profiles are thereby linked to a university research orientation. This synergy creates a genuine win-win situation. FEDtWIN comprises 5 waves spread over 7 years (2017-2023). 25 profiles will be created per wave. This will give a total of 125 profiles. The programme is also open ended. New waves can be established by RD from 2024. The cost for a profile is set at €125,000 per annum. Each profile is fully subsidised by the federal government for an initial period of 5 years; the federal government provides half the funding for the second period of 5 years.”

government grants but also tap into private funding. One of the methods is crowdfunding: large numbers of donors who invest small amounts in arts projects. For museums this is an additional creative element on top of the funding mix of subsidies, entrance fees and sponsorship revenue, which are, indeed, all three under pressure. I am convinced that crowdfunding will contribute towards strengthening public support for culture, attracting new target groups, increasing visibility and convincing other financiers.”

Public financing of the cultural sector is under pressure. Crowdfunding is a recent phenomenon in funding. How do you feel about that? Elke Sleurs: “One of the spearheads of the policy is that the FSIs in the framework of their accountability must put more effort into mixed funding and therefore not only rely on

Bert Verbeke

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Be a Source of New Proposals for the Federal Government An interview with Mr Andreas DE LEENHEER, President of the Federal Council for Science Policy (CFPS-FRWB), Honorary President of the University of Ghent (UGent)

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extended per a new call and will be transferred to local communities in accordance with the 6th State Reform. We will organize this transfer in close coordination with the ìFonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoekî (FWO) and the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS). These two organizations do great work, and I rest confident that they have all the skills required for the selection and follow-up of future projects.

© Rights reserved

hat are the CFPS-FRWB’s priorities? Legally, the CFPS-FRWB’s mission involves advising the Federal Government on the challenges posed by scientific research and innovation. After not having done so for the last 20 years, the Federal Government, represented by Maggie De Block and Willy Borsus, sought the CFPSFRWB’s advice on the project of the creation of a new scientific institute, the WIW-CODA (ESF CERVA), based on 8 existing institutes. Thus, we managed to exercise input on this issue. In addition, we managed to establish contact with the Secretary of State Elke Sleurs: she attended one of CFPS-FRWB’s meetings to present the highlights of reform on the federal scientific policy concerning the federal scientific establishments (ESF), BELSPO, the federal space policy and research programs. Since this meeting, we have developed regular consultations with her cabinet.

Incidentally, I welcome a new and quite interesting initiative: the project “ChercheurFED-tWIN”. It seeks to recruit 75 (up to a final 125) post-doctorates for permanent and fulltime research activities. They will work halftime for an ESF, and half-time for a university, thus strengthening research at ESF level.

In relation with the restructuring of ESF, the Secretary of State wishes to promote organizational autonomy, in tighter collaboration with universities and for their mutual benefit, without budgetary reductions. With this aim in mind, the CFPS-FRWB will question the directors of ESF to seek their views on Elke Sleurs’s action and solicit proposals to move forward.

What are your priorities as head of the CFPS-FRWB? I set three goals. The first one meant to establish a framework of confidence with Elke Sleurs’s cabinet, and I can now say that our relations remain quite satisfactory. My second goal implied the creation of a contact platform between the CFPSFRWB and the regional councils for scientific policy. This priority has been superseded by the continuation of the interuniversity poles of attraction (PAIs) and Elke Sleurs’s new project: FED-tWIN. Of course, I won’t forget the status of the ESF and the issue of tax-exemption, which will be the subject of proposals by the CFPS-FRWB.

On what issues does the CFPS-FRWB concentrate at this moment? In parallel with the situation of ESF, the CFPS-FRWB works on the issue of tax-exemption along two main axes: partial exemption from the payment of the withholding tax, and modification of the article 275-3 which conflicts with European regulations. A working group chaired by Pr. Koenraad Debackere, the Director General of KULeuven, was asked to draw proposals to amend this article. To this end, the group continued to expand its contacts with the universities, the ESFs, and other scientific establishments and industrialists acting in an R&D and innovation environment. The group’s proposals, prompted by these exchanges, received discussion in November 2016 within the CFPSFRWB. In addition, the Council created a new working group dedicated to European research infrastructures to review a view of 2009 and obtain the roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI).

How do you assess Secretary of State Elke Sleurs’s action on science policy? I would like to start by saying that I feel delighted that we have solved the problem of the PAIs. Along with the research programs, which should be completed by the end of December 2017, the earlier groups scheduled to end should obtain additional funds to continue their work until that date. I refer particularly to those students who must complete their doctorate and of those post-doctorates who represent the core of our research forces. The Secretary of State must take a decision on the subject. As from 2018, the PAIs will be

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Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy – BIRA-IASB Fostering basic, interdisciplinary and applied research A Belgian federal scientific research institute that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014, the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) is dedicated to research and scientific service in space aeronomy, which is the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere of the Earth and other planets, and of outer space.

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provide both validation and geophysical exploitation. “In addition, the amount of data generated by TROPOMI every day (of order 650 GByte/day) poses enhanced problems in terms of storage and computing power” says Martine De Mazière. The IT service of BIRA-IASB will thus be called upon to support the storage and analysis of the measurements of nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide (a precursor of ground level ozone) and methane, that will be dealt with at BIRA-IASB. The methane measurements are particularly interesting to learn more about the state of climate.

ith an annual budget of around 10 million euros per year, BIRA-IASB relies on a staff of 155 people, including 90 scientists, and is currently involved in around 130 ongoing research projects. These are rather good figures as government funding is under pressure and falling. “BIRA-IASB increasingly requires external funding in the form of research projects in order to maintain its activities” explains Martine De Mazière, ad interim general director of BIRA-IASB. “We must make more and more efforts in order to find research projects that are increasingly limited in time and funding.” As a result, the staff must be shared between several projects simultaneously. This is far from being obvious, neither for the researchers themselves nor for BIRA-IASB which is responsible for the administrative management of these projects.

Next to the space segment, the Copernicus program also contains a services segment. BIRA-IASB participates actively to two Copernicus service elements: atmosphere monitoring (CAMS) and climate change (C3S). “We are coordinating a C3S project focusing on ozone satellite records that is about to start and we are partner in another C3S proposal that has been submitted end of summer 2016 and that is focusing on climate records from reference in-situ networks.” says Martine De Mazière. “Climate change is increasingly emphasized – which is quite logical since it is a major global challenge.” Anyway, ESA is willing to extend its Climate Change Initiative (CCI) programme, which addresses various key variables for the climate, such as ozone, aerosols and greenhouse gases. This extension should be confirmed at the end of 2016 at a ministerial conference and BIRA-IASB intends to remain involved in this initiative.

Since its internal reorganization in 2012-2013, BIRA-IASB is structured in four vertical pillars corresponding to its 4 major research themes. Added to these are 8 horizontal support services: Administration & accounting, project management, human resources, outreach & documentation, infrastructure management, safety & prevention, engineering and IT.

Thanks to this hyper specialized expertise, BIRA-IASB is involved in many projects of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission. For example, it is very much involved in Copernicus, a joint program of ESA and the European Commission. In this context, it participates in the preparation of space missions Sentinel 4 and Sentinel 5; the precursor of Sentinel 5, called TROPOMI, will be launched in Spring 2017. This is a new generation of the OMI satellite experiment: dedicated to monitoring the overall quality of the air, it will benefit from an improved resolution down to 7x7 square kilometers and will map the Earth atmosphere every day, which will provide us with an accurate monitoring, almost in real time, of our planet. BIRA-IASB is involved in the production of future products that will be generated by this satellite, products for which it will also

© BIRA-IASB

As stated above, BIRA-IASB’s research is revolving around four main themes: space physics, atmospheric composition (sources and sinks, reactive gases) and the study of interactions between the atmosphere and the sun, which includes the planetary aeronomy.

A picture of the triple cubesat platform developed by Clyde Space that will carry the payloads Vision and Sweeping Langmuir Probe developed by BIRA-IASB and VTT (Finland) that will constitute PICASSO, the Pico-Satellite for Atmospheric and Space Science Observations.

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But BIRA-IASB’s participation in ESA programs do not stop there. The Institute is also Principal Investigator of PICASSO, the future Cubesat in-orbit demonstrator which should be launched in 2017, and of ALTIUS, a Belgian satellite accepted by ESA as an Earth Watch mission. “This is a real success! We are aiming at a launch in 2020” welcomes Martine De Mazière. Moreover, BIRA-IASB is involved in the progamme entitled “Space Situational Awareness” with space weather activities, and it regularly responds to ESA’s calls for space exploitation projects and new missions. BIRA-IASB has been involved in the successful ROSETTA mission that produced a wealth of new insights in cometary sciences. The mission ended in September 2016 but the exploitation of the data is still ongoing and more scientific results are expected to come.


As part of the first ExoMars mission of ESA, launched in March 2016, the Institute is Principal Investigator of the NOMAD instrument, that has arrived in an orbit around Mars in November 2016. “All tests show that this instrument works” confirms Martine De Mazière. Actually, at the end of November 2016, there was the NOMAD commissioning. On 20/11, NOMAD was switched on, on 22nd of November NOMAD was in its closest position to Mars and on 23rd-24th the first scientific data were sent to Earth. On 22nd, we officially had confirmation that NOMAD was working correctly. A press release on 28th of November displayed the first science results. To be sure, this mission is already seen as a major event by BIRA-IASB.

© ESA - OSIRIS

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A picture of the comet 67P/ChuryumovGerasimenko on which Philae landed while Rosetta continued to orbit the comet, until it descended and collided with the comet on September 30, 2016, as planned.

H2020, the 8th Framework Programme of the European Commission for research and technological development, provides BIRA-IASB another opportunity to enhance its expertise. Since the signing in 1987 of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the World Meteorological Organization publishes an assessment of the state of the ozone layer every four years. BIRA-IASB participates in these reports through peer-reviewed publications and dedicated contributions. The Montreal Protocol and its Adjustments and Amendments, relying on this continuous monitoring of the ozone layer, have led to a positive effect: the ozone layer is beginning to recover thanks to the reduction of gases targeted by the Montreal Protocol but also due to climate change that has a side-effect of accelerating the ozone recovery. “According to a recent publication in Science, the ozone hole over Antarctica would also be verging to heal,” says Martine De Mazière. These good news are complemented by the continuation of an initiative launched in 2011 to establish trends at different altitudes in the atmosphere, based on satellite and ground-based observations. Unsurprisingly, BIRA-IASB co-leads this initiative.

the basis for the further development of instruments or instrument components. “A prototype developed by our engineering service can be “recovered” by an industrial company that will support further testing and/or eventually launch the production” explains Martine De Mazière. Such a paired work is clearly visible in the missions ALTIUS (the design of an optical spectrometer was conducted by the OIP company based in Oudenaarde) and NOMAD (almost all tests for calibration and resistance to thermal vacuum were conducted at the Space Center in Liege). But the original design mostly starts from BIRA-IASB: testimony of this is the mechanical system developed as part of the NOMAD instrument in order to sound the atmosphere by targeting either the sun or the surface of the planet.

Accustomed to enroll in long-term missions, BIRA-IASB now meets some great challenges that its researchers will face in the coming years. The first challenge is climate change and monitoring of the ozone layer, which involve the collection of very long-term measurement time series. “Yet this collection is very difficult to maintain with core funding on the decline and few potential third-party support” complains Martine De Mazière. This is an ongoing challenge of pursuing research of which the results will not be seen before 10 years but that are essential for supporting climate change abatement strategies. Another major challenge is to maintain a dynamic basic research at a time when the pressure to focus on applied research or operational services is growing. “It is increasingly difficult to raise funding for research projects that are not society-oriented or do not directly benefit the industry or economical sectors” says Martine De Mazière. Last but not least, the third major issue ahead is a cultural one: the evolution towards interdisciplinary research. Today the atmosphere is studied in interaction with the biosphere, the land and oceans, human societies and space. “The socio-economic aspects of climate change are also taken into account” adds Martine De Mazière. The analysis of a whole system takes over that of a specific environment. Still BIRA-IASB has insufficient staff to follow this trend all by itself. It becomes more and more necessary to collaborate with other disciplines represented at universities and institutions, which requires to learn the language of other specialists. “BIRA-IASB will probably have to open up even more to the outside while hiring new kinds of specialists internally” concludes Martine De Mazière.

© BIRA-IASB

BIRA-IASB is also expected to turn its scientific know-how into scientific services to the benefit of society. Although it does not directly provide services to industries, its research often offers

An engineering view of the ALTIUS mission with the solar panels deployed.

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Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy BIRA-IASB Avenue Circulaire, 3 B-1180 Bruxelles Tel: +32 (0)2 373 04 04 Fax: +32 (0)2 374 84 23 http://www.aeronomie.be/en/contact/form.php


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Belgium remains a key player on the world stage By Mr Marc BOGAERTS, Director General of the Belgian Foreigh Trade Agency (BFTA) for 11.1% and 8.2% at the end of the first semester 2016. The prospects for foreign trade mainly depend on the economic situation of our next-door neighbors, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. These three partners stand for 43.8% of our total exports in 2015. The current European modest growth (+1.2% over one year in the second quarter of 2016) doesn’t point to any significant growth in our commercial exchanges. Brexit, besides, should influence negatively our foreign trade, since the UK ranks as Belgium’s 4th client and 5th supplier.

Economic missions Despite the overall market slowdown, Belgium remains a key player on the world stage. External trade represents a critical issue for Belgian economy. Our merchandise exports and imports account together for 170% of GDP in 2015, meaning one of the world’s most significant proportions. The trade missions organized by the ACE stand as a favorite medium for businesses striving to expand internationally. © BFTA

The first mission in 2016, that took place in Indonesia in March, earned great success. It accounts for 301 participants, including 205 businessmen and women who represent 145 enterprises and federations. The second mission took place in Texas from 3 to 11 December; with 240 participants.

Trade4U

Trade4U (see http://www.abhace.be/fr/infos_exportateurs/) was launched by the BFTA in April 2015 as a dynamic platform for business opportunities. It aims to subscribe companies for a range of services to help them optimize their international commercial prospection, for only €150 per year.

Foreign trade

The Trade4U package includes a selection of business opportunities (calls for tenders, international projects, among others) which might be of interest to the company according to its business sector. BFTA checks daily some 500 sites. Trade4U then mails information to the subscriber via the mobile Trade4U app, both on tablet or a Smartphone (iOS and Android). It also includes a “News” tab, which regularly receives the latest financial, commercial and regulatory news on foreign trade.

According to WTO, Belgium ranked in 2015 as 12th exporter (+ one step up against 2014) and as the 14th world leading importer (-one step down against 2014). It ranked 6th at the European Union level. The last official figures published by Eurostat (see http://www.abh-ace.be/fr/statistiques/), based on the community-concept, refer to the first half of 2016, and indicate a contraction of Belgian foreign trade, following the global trend. As compared with the first 6 months of 2015, our exports declined by 2.7%, and imports by 5.7%. These economic setbacks can be largely attributed to the mineralbased products, which fell by 27.4 % in export and by 30.1% in import, due to the downfall of oil prices on the international market, which started to occur in the spring 2015. However, according to the national concept (which doesn’t consider transit operations), Belgian exports do show a slight advance and imports a slight regression.

Trade4U offers subscribers the advantage of ordering specifications of their choice at cost price, and of consulting guides for procedures of large international institutions (the European Investment Bank, the World Bank, etc.). It gives them the opportunity to participate every year, at no cost, in two workshops held by experts in public procurement; the next one is due on 27 April 2017, in the presence of the Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Pieter De Crem. In addition, Trade4U includes a statistical monthly subscription, allowing the company to trace the changing levels of exports and imports of its preferred products and markets.

© BFTA

Chemicals, machines and devices and transport equipment account for Belgium’s most exported (and imported) categories. Over three three quarters of our export products go to Europe (76.4%). Asia and America account respectively

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Over 300 enterprises have currently signed up to Trade4U, and their feedback sounds most positive. BFTA strives for continuous improvement of performance and hopes to increase the number of subscribers. Trade4U recently made available a new version of the app and a web platform.


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Sirris: driving industry by technology An interview with Mr Herman DERACHE, Managing Director of Sirris

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specializations, in Belgium and all over Europe. We exchange collaborators, knowledge and methods with our partners. By building on collective research projects, we actively search for solutions to meet several technological challenges.

hat are the key figures for Sirris? In 2015, in addition to 216 collective research projects, we successfully carried out 1,972 individual industrial projects for 1,500 different companies, which clearly appreciated our approach. Our customer satisfaction reached a new record of 92.6% for collaboration, and 94.1% for our infrastructures and application labs.

© Sirris

How would you describe the mission of Sirris? Sirris acts as the collective center for the technological industry. We propose four major assets to Belgian companies that foster innovation: long experience and strong expertise in the most diverse sectors; 140 experts; an extensive network of partners, and high-tech infrastructures spread over 8 sites in Belgium: 3D-printing in Liege, precision manufacturing and smart coatings in Hasselt and cobots (collaborative robots) in Kortrijk, etc. This way, we can help Belgium’s industrial actors, whether they are minor or major players, choose the appropriate technology aimed at creating sustainable wealth and economic stability. Many enterprises have already used our services: Daikin, Niko, Sonaca, Techspace Aero (Safran), Siemens, G, and so on.

Could you cite some examples of technological challenges? Let’s take the case of a company which has developed an idea for a new product, but doesn’t know where to start from. Sirris will help it fund a feasibility study, choose the right production process and the right materials all the way supporting the company to the launch of the finished product on the market. Another company may wish to improve its production process, and reduce at the same time production time or times of delivery. Other issues emerge regularly as well: how can we lighten a given product? How can we make it intelligent?

Either way, Sirris supports companies along three complementary directions: the product of the future, the factory of the future and the business of the future. The details are presented and further elaborated in our Masterplan Innovation, a practical framework in which companies can develop new ideas for their future innovations.

What are your major fields of expertise? The companies that want to innovate may count on 60 years of expertise that Sirris achieved in 5 main technological domains: Advanced manufacturing, Materials, ICT, Sustainability and Mecatronics. 140 engineers, scientists and technicians Are working every day with these companies to develop, test & implement technological innovations. Your company could also benefit from the combination of experts and infrastructure, to test your next innovation. What kind of infrastructures and services do you propose? Sirris assists companies in designing, testing and implementing technological innovations. Together with our experts and through making use of our technological infrastructures, enterprises can explore the possibilities offered by new technologies and finally make the right technological choices which will effectively yield marketable products or services.

© Sirris

What kind of partnerships did you develop to help you reach your goal? You don’t innovate on your own: this is true both for companies and for Sirris. Therefore, we set up a wide network of universities, research centers, companies, associations and organizations specialized with specific complementary

Demonstration of an operator supported by collaborative robots in Sirris’ Smart Production Lab in Kortrijk

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European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers Association – ETRMA A key enabler for sustainable mobility Established in 1959, ETRMA is devoted to advocating the interests of the tyre and rubber manufacturing industries with the European Union Institutions and other international organizations.

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© ETRMA

Tyres are one of the most regulated products in ith 86 tyre production sites, 16 the EU. However, ETRMA’s experience shows that R&D centres and 11 head offices, alongside responsible economic operators, the European tyre industry is an prepared to invest and adapt their products and important contributor to the European production tools to comply with EU Regulations, economy. 200,000 jobs are directly linked to there are others who cut corners or deliberately the tyre industry and 300 million tyres for choose not to respect these rules in order to gain cars and 17 million tyres for heavy goods a competitive edge. These practices skew the vehicles are produced in its factories every European single market in favour of nonyear, representing 20% of the world tyre compliant operators, encourage illegal behaviours market. Some 289 million car and van tyres and could potentially put at risk the environment are sold in the EU every year. The other as well as citizens and consumers. business sector - industrial rubber - is more diversified and contributes to downstream For this reason, ETRMA has been asking for sectors such as road, sea, air and rail Mrs Fazilet Cinaralp, market surveillance activities to be undertaken at transport, the food industry (articles in contact ETRMA Secretary General EU and Member States level. In this regard, the with food or water - belts, membranes, pipes, European Commission has approved MSTyr2015, a cooperaetc.), construction, mining, off-shore energy, communication, tive project on tyre labelling that aims to ensure the compliance etc. The sector is represented by several thousand companies of tyres sold on the European market. (over 7,000), most of which are small firms, employing around 160,000 people. Production in the tyre sector increased slightly between 2014 and 2015 from 4,800,000 tons to 4,900,000 tons. Similarly, industrial rubber production rose from 2,630,000 tons to 2,680,000 tons. Earnings in the sector slightly increased from 71 M€ in 2014 to 73 M€ in 2015 (41 M€ for tyres and 32 M€ for industrial rubber). This did not prevent the industry from continuing to invest in research and innovation: every year, it sets aside 5% of its annual earnings to meet the technical and regulatory requirements of the European market.

The second challenge regards the openness and accessibility of the European tyre market as well as the absence of a level playing field within it.

© ETRMA

ETRMA is currently focusing on the following major issues. Tyre development is primarily guided by safety concerns, as they are the only contact between the vehicle and the road. However, further to growing customers' requirements and regulatory pressure, the industry has been working to also increase their environment performance, particularly towards the reduction of CO2 and noise emissions. A number of initiatives have been adopted with this in mind: firstly, mandatory information for the consumer (Tyre Label) on key aspects of performance and, secondly, a definition of minimum performance requirements for product commercialization.

The drivers of the tyre industry: a complex product with complex challenges

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“carbon leakage” – despite the worsening of the market. ETRMA is therefore pressing for a reconsideration of these criteria as it is crucial for the sector’s survival that it remains in the “carbon leakage” list. The European tyre industry believes that circular economy is a driver for sustainable growth and efficient management of limited resources and has already internalised many of the principles of the circular economy by acting and investing on every stage of the tyre lifecycle, from design to end-of-life. Similar concerns regarding scarcity of raw materials and will to improve the environmental footprint of the product’s entire life cycle, has driven the European Commission to publish, in December 2015, the Circular Economy Package. ETRMA has been working closely with the European institutions to ensure that the virtuous practices carried out by the European tyre industry gain appropriate support from these legal texts. With regards to tyres and their future legislative environment, ETRMA is involved in the GEAR 2030 initiative, which was launched in January 2016 for the duration of two years to continue the work of CARS2020 and of CARS21. This initiative has 3 priorities: support innovation, digital vehicles and increase the competitiveness of the European automotive industry within the global context. The tyre industry intends to continue acting as enabler for sustainable mobility. It is also aiming to increase its competitiveness both in Europe and by improving its penetration in third markets with a high growth potential.

© ETRMA

Last but not least, with regard to the general rubber goods industry, one fundamental concern regards the harmonization of regulations within Europe relating to the food contact sector The tyre circular economy in its different phases: raw materials, design and production, use, (babies’ bottles teats, conveyor belts, gloves, collection, recycling and energy recovery. The new life of tyre-derived products as well as seals in pressure cookers etc.), which accounts the energy produced therewith mostly feed other industries. for 4-5% of the general rubber goods industry. At present, each Member State has its own list Finally, major markets outside the EU have been facing trends of authorized substances. The industrial rubber industry is of increased low cost imports from Asia and, especially, therefore calling for a harmonisation of national regulations China. This competition was deemed unfair by several nonand test methods across all the European markets so that a EU countries, which resorted to anti-dumping/countervailing product can be tested once and accepted everywhere. measures, leaving the EU to be the only really open remaining market. The pressure from imports and the difficulty to access third markets as well as the high energy costs of the tyre industry, was taken into account by the European directive on the ETS (Emission Trading Scheme) 2013-2020, by granting compensatory measures up to 2020 in order to limit the risk of carbon leakage. However, these rules will change in 2020. The European Commission has proposed changing the calculation method and, as a result, the tyre industry may not qualify anymore for compensation, nor be recognized at risk of

European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association – ETRMA Avenue des Arts 2, box 12 B-1210 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2 218 49 40 Email: info@etrma.org http://www.etrma.org/ 19


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Belnet Operational Excellence at the Service of Researchers Belnet stands as a national research network in Belgium, designed to meet specific needs of researchers, students and teachers. Its offers follow a twofold purpose: to satisfy its clients and maintain a relation of mutual trust.

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s one of the first Internet Service Providers in Belgium, Belnet meets the demands of its clients, to provide large bandwidth and rapidity to evaluate and treat huge amounts of data. Belnet provides an extremely rapid, efficient, and secure network, without interference from the commercial Internet.

© Belnet

Belnet’s basic services include the possibility of surfing on the high-speed network and thus provide access to the worldwide web, to advanced protocols and to all Belnet’s clients. We must add advanced services, such as Digital Certificates, FileSender (for file transfer between 600 gigabytes and one terabyte), and eduroam, which offers access to more than half the users of Belnet to the secure and wireless network from their own institutions and other participating universities (in more than 70 countries).

services (Security as a Service). The results of this investigation will help to develop the implementation of new services for its academic clientele.

After having updated in 2014 its optical network of 2,000 kilometers of optic fiber, Belnet renewed its IP network in 2016. Its clients may, therefore, use an ultramodern network with a capacity of 100 gigabits per second: the data access and transmission capabilities on the net have increased tenfold. Not content with this extraordinary technical achievement, Belnet insists on the reliability and performance of its network with an emphasis on increasing operational excellence: this essential research tool for researchers must stay permanently available and functional, without any interruptions or failures.

Beyond security issues, Belnet decided to offer Cloud services for the one essential reason: trust. In fact, those free offers in this field, provided by private companies lack guaranteed service, and users know not where data are being saved and what happens to them. With Belnet the situation changes completely: its offer, including the services of Cloud Storage and Cloud Computing, bases itself on a physical infrastructure of data centers belonging to its network. Therefore, access to these services proves very quick, and the traffic between the infrastructure and the clients doesn’t leave the Belgian soil. In addition, Belnet arranges storage, maintenance, updates and availability, at extremely good prices, thanks to its economies of scale.

Developing “Security as a service” remains another priority for Belnet. An anti DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) service type will be established to protect its clients from various kinds of cyberattacks. Likewise, Belnet conducted a client survey to form a better picture of their expectations vis-à-vis security

Last, but not least, Belnet remains the only Internet network and the only Belgian e-infrastructure connected to the panEuropean research backbone GEANT, which allows the interconnection of supercomputing infrastructures. Add an additional asset: the recent implementation of ScienceMAN3, a high-speed network which interconnects all federal scientific establishments. Once again, Belnet proves to be the “dedicated” partner, as claimed by its reputation: one more reason to call upon Belnet!

© Belnet

Belnet Louizalaan 231 Avenue Louise B-1050 Brussels Tel.:+ 32 (0)2 790 33 33 Fax: +32 (0)2 790 33 34

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Email: info@belnet.be - http://www.belnet.be


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Brussels: a laboratory for smart specialization

© CRCN

© Sabca

© Iveco


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Š Belnet

Š Sirris


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Concentrating objectives and resources An interview with Mr Leopold DEMIDDELEER, President of the Council for Science Policy of the Brussels-Capital Region, Founding Director of TechBridgeOne sprl technology at the service of social progress in the City in addition to its economic success.

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ow do you view the regional landscape of research and innovation? The regional reference guide is undoubtedly the Regional Innovation Plan (PRI), in force since 2014 and followed up quite consistently. To reiterate, its five priorities are: to strengthen the supply of human capital by stimulating scientific careers, to establish a monitoring structure, to strengthen support for innovative enterprises, to stimulate economic development and innovation through “Living Labs”, and to identify potential specialisation niches.

© Rights reserved

What about Living Labs? This is precisely the fourth priority of the PRI: to stimulate economic development and innovation through “Living Labs”. This involves implementing a given technology in an urban setting, measuring what is happening on the ground and discussing the findings with all stakeholders. Technology has an unfortunate tendency to isolate itself from the social and economic context; only concrete experience is able to measure its impact and realign its use. We could for example finance the installation of a network of sensors for the simultaneous measurement of environmental parameters (noise, air quality etc.) and mobility to act together (academics, small companies and industrialists, citizens) on our urban living conditions. We have a natural tendency to suffer them and criticise them, we must go beyond this and search for solutions to test together. We must also learn to free ourselves from our political apriorisms and it is not easy to tackle the facts without distorting the exploitation of the results…

Let us briefly review these 5 priorities. The first priority: to strengthen the supply of human capital by stimulating scientific careers. This remains difficult as 55% of Brussels GDP is generated by the service sector, compared to just 2% for high-tech. This is the Brussels paradox: it is the largest university city in Belgium and has the highest number of science and technology graduates... but they leave to work elsewhere. Admittedly, Innoviris is doing good work: I am thinking particularly of the Doctiris programme and the innovation cheques that work very well… but has the region benefited from it? I am not so sure.

Finally, the fifth priority of the PRI is to identify potential specialisation niches. In this respect, I would, for example, give priority to two of the proposals made: ICT applied to health (to enhance the region's leading research infrastructure) and eco-construction (to develop technological know-how in energy saving for newbuilds and renovations of existing buildings).

The second priority of the PRI is to establish a monitoring structure, the famous dashboard. The catch is that it is always updated with 6 months delay and there are too many criteria. It would be better to focus on a small number of relevant criteria, starting with the percentage of regional GDP devoted to research and innovation: despite an increase in absolute numbers from €13 to 38M between 2005 and 2015, it has stagnated at 2%, below the Lisbon target of 3%.

Beyond these five priorities, the CPS emphasises both the importance of transversality and communication. The public authorities and academics from different fields and enterprises, both small and large still need to learn to work together. Brussels is not only the city where people come to lobby the European Commission, it is the Belgian university city par excellence and its start-ups are capable of attracting private investors. Communication on innovation-related initiatives must be improved, too many complex messages are disseminated continuously, and targeted campaigns are needed. A working group of the CPS was created specifically for this task.

The third priority of the PRI is to strengthen support for innovative enterprises. Whilst the Region has provided financial incentives for the start-up phase, it lacks the resources to allow these start-ups to cross the “valley of death” and sustain their development (the so-called “scale-up” phase). Therefore it has every interest in making start-ups more visible to private investors and in relaxing the conditions for granting aid to enterprises whose niche services (in finance, computer security, medical data processing etc.) may be exported outside the region while keeping an operational anchor within it. Moreover, we could envisage focusing, for 3 to 5 years, on the means to solve a limited number of urban problems such as mobility, energy management, the massive exploitation of medical data of our university laboratories etc. This would enable us to mobilise all our creative strengths and draw collective lessons from shared pilot activities. In choosing priorities, it is also essential to take better account of the social impact added to the traditional criteria for the allocation of financing to small enterprises: it is a question of placing

What are the next topics to be addressed by the CPS? In parallel with communication on Brussels, the CPS will look at ways to support small enterprises in their efforts to “scale up”: interregional collaborations and collaborations with private companies will be the subject of specific recommendations. To conclude, I reaffirm the need to concentrate objectives and resources… even if it means upsetting some people in the short term!

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INNOVIRIS Supporting research and innovation in the Brussels Region An interview with Mrs Katrien MONDT, Managing Director Innoviris Innoviris, the Brussels Institute for Research and Innovation, supports and stimulates science, research and innovation. The Institute does so by financing pioneering projects of Brussels enterprises, research institutions and the non-profit sector. With more budget, more campaigns and more staff, Innoviris is proving to be highly ambitious in 2016. “Brussels is a small region with specific socio-economic challenges, but also with considerable potential. We want to help realising these possibilities.”

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Brussels is a small region with specific socio-economic challenges, but also with considerable potential. We want to help realising these possibilities.

Ms Mondt, Innoviris managing director, and Ms Verdonck, Innoviris deputy managing director

What is so specific about the socio-economic situation of the Brussels Capital Region? Brussels is the smallest region in Belgium. On the one hand, the Region hosts a large number of knowledge workers due to the high concentration of universities and colleges. That is extremely advantageous for innovative companies and organisations wishing to set up in Brussels. On the other hand, there is a large group of low-educated people, who have difficulty accessing the job market since the gulf between the business world and education is too great. In order to resolve this issue, Innoviris wants to build bridges. We want to offer answers to specific, current issues, such as mobility, environment, integration of migrants or the ageing population, with which the Brussels Capital Region has to contend.

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hat can the Brussels RDI sector expect from Innoviris in 2016? Thanks to our Minister in charge, Fadila Lanaan, we are this year able to count on a 25%-increase on our annual budget of €40 million. This means we are able to support more companies, research institutions and non-profit organisations, with new measures better suited to reality, or which fill certain gaping holes in the innovation chain. We are currently also working on a new Regional Investment Plan, in which the objectives of the Brussels RDI sector of 2016 to 2020 will be defined; while in parallel, Innoviris’ statutory framework is to be adjusted. A great many campaigns will result from these two documents. Our aspirations of course also require additional staff, and Innoviris’ current workforce of 40 is set to increase in 2016.

In which fields is Innoviris active? Innoviris provides various Brussels, inter-regional and European programmes, financial support in RDI projects of enterprises, research institutions and the non-profit sector.

Innoviris is ambitious, although it could be no other way, since the Brussels Capital Region is faced with a number of specific, major challenges in the future. New technologies and innovation will be able to provide a significant response to this.

For instance, thanks to our own campaign Launch – Brussels Spin-off, we focus on founding new Brussels enterprises, at the same time as stimulating knowledge transfer from the

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academic world to industry. Our participation in the interregional and European programmes Innovative Brussels Care and Ambient Assisted Living is in turn focused on social themes such as care for the elderly and the ageing population.

from Innoviris within this framework. A bio-bank project was also set up in collaboration with the Walloon Region. Thanks to the first joint initiative Innovative Brussels Care, Brussels research actors are also able to collaborate with their Flemish counterparts within the scope of the programme “Proeftuin Zorginnovatie Ruimte Vlaanderen”, which was launched on the initiative of the Flemish Government and organised by the IWT. Innoviris has also been collaborating with iMinds since 2014. Brussels companies are thus able to take part in iMinds’ ICON programme, at the same time as requesting innovation support from Innoviris (for more information about inter-regional collaboration, see p.??.

The Institute furthermore has the task of making young people aware of, and motivating them toward, careers in science and technology. In 2016, we will be expanding our awarenessraising campaigns so as to address the right target audience, and thus make a real difference. Assigning subsidies for supporting the R&D sector is a regional responsibility. Brussels is a small region and has less financial resources than Flanders and Wallonia. How does Innoviris deal with this? In practice this regional responsibility means that R&D actors are financed by the different institutions: the DGO6 in Wallonia, the IWT in Flanders and Innoviris in the Brussels Capital Region. Inter-regional partnerships are extremely important to us. Not just because we’re only a small region, but above all for contending with the reality of the business world as best as possible. After all, businesses look beyond the borders of regions.

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How does the collaboration run on a European level? Supplementary to the regional and national R&D support, on a European level there is also a wide range of programmes supporting the R&D sector, the innovation and competitive capacity of companies, research centres and other European innovation actors. These programmes are focused on certain sectors (ICT, nanotechnologies, etc.), stakeholders (SMEs, etc.), the type of activities or a specific issue (population ageing, environmental issues, etc.). These programmes are financed though the European Union, national financing agencies or by common financing.

To what extent does Innoviris promote this collaboration between the various Belgian regions? The Brussels and the Walloon Board for Scientific Policy have elaborated three possible collaborative pillars: strategic coordination, research infrastructures and European programmes. Since then, Brussels R&D actors have been able to participate in the six Walloon competitiveness clusters, and receive financing

Innoviris Chaussée de Charleroisesteenweg 110 B-1060 Brussels Tel. (FR): +32 (0)2 600 50 36 Tel. (NL): +32 (0)2 600 50 37 Email: info@innoviris.brussels http://www.innoviris.brussels 25


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Brussels Aeronautical Group: Offering increased value in terms of technology and quality An interview with Mr Marc DUBOIS, Chairman Brussels Aeronautical Group (BAG), Commercial Director of SABCA Group

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ould you tell us about the main duties of BAG? Founded in 2015 as a non-profit organisation on the initiative of its three founding members (AKKA Technologies, AMIA Systems et SABCA), BAG’s task is to promote Brussels players in aeronautics (industrial companies, research centres and universities), to develop contacts with regional authorities, to formulate recommendations relating to the economy, employment, research and education and to raise awareness about it in higher education institutions. What partnerships have you developed with your Walloon and Flemish counterparts (EWA and FLAG respectively)? We are in contact with EWA and FLAG in respect to two main points: firstly, the ongoing reform of the aeronautic funding policy, with the federal authorities keeping the industry funding whilst the regions allocate funding to research, and secondly, the replacement programme for F16 fighter jets in Belgium. With this in mind, BAG is involved in promoting a certain level of industrial return and in the call for tenders open to Belgian manufacturers. Indeed it is crucial that Belgium positions itself as internationally competitive.

Could you introduce us to the members of BAG? Our 6 members are a good representation of the diversity in the sector: SABCA, an industrial company, gathers with SAFRAN Aircraft Engine Services, an aircraft engine maintenance company (formerly Snecma Services); AKKA Technologies, an engineering company; ILIAS, a software company dealing with the maintenance management of the Belgian Military’s aircraft; AMIA Systems, an spin-off of the ULB that has developed software for the management and optimisation of production lines and NUMECA, a world leader in the field of Computational Fluid Dynamics and Multiphysics design. Our members have approximately 2,500 employees and a combined turnover of €400 million. They are due to soon be joined by the main higher education institutions in the region.

What challenges will the aeronautical industry have to face in the Brussels-Capital Region? Since Belgium is not a major aircraft buyer, the main Belgian constructors tend to target countries that offer a proven industrial return. Furthermore, the aviation sector is reporting annual growth of 4 to 5%, mainly due to the increase in the production rate of the Airbus long-haul fleet (A320, A321) and medium-haul aircraft (A350). Faced with this development, our main challenge is to offer increased value in terms of technology and quality, to counterbalance the competitive advantage of “best cost countries” in terms of labour costs. Therefore, BAG members aim to specialize in core activities providing a high added value to the customers (engineering, software, automated and lean processes…). This approach may be accompanied, if required, by collaboration with the “best cost countries” for those industrial activities which can no longer be continued in Brussels.

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How do you ensure the promotion of research within the Brussels aeronautics sector? One member of BAG is responsible for systematically promoting the aeronautical sector to higher education institutions and “hautes écoles” and raising awareness of its recruitment needs. BAG also develops research collaborations with the universities and research centres in agreement with the Brussels-Capital Region. The latter, through Impulse and Innovoris, offers various subsidies for the development of basic and industrial research. Our members’ research projects can be financed either using our own funding or through European programmes such as H2020.

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Moreover, Brussels aeronautical entreprises are faced with two specific challenges: one related to the training and recruitment of skilled workers in different domains (aeronautical field engineers, sheet metal workers, assembly experts, etc.); this challenge being however closely discussed with the Brussels Capital government and other challenge related to Brussels mobility – the limited accessibility of Brussels by car as well as by public transport can deter potential job candidates in this sector. BAG on that subject waiting a lot for the new RER train line, which should ease the transport inter and intra Brussels Capital Region.


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Listening to the needs of foreign investors and Brussels companies An interview with Mrs Bénédicte WILDERS, General Manager of Brussels Invest & Export In Latin America, Cuba will be explored as part of a multi-sectoral mission, and construction and architectural companies will be invited to join an economic mission in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

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russels Invest & Export presents itself as a one-stop-shop for foreign investors. How do you convince them to invest in the Brussels economy? The arguments used to convince a foreign investor to locate in Brussels will depend above all on the project; a startup in the biotechnology sector isn’t looking for the same things as a merchant bank or the European headquarters of a multinational company.

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Above all, our job is to listen and act as a guide. Beyond the various assets of Brussels that everyone knows about (central location, capital of Europe, multiculturalism etc.) the main service that investors expect from us is to inform them about and direct them to the right interlocutors, both on an administrative level (company formation, taxation, work permits) and on a business level (partnership possibilities, business opportunities etc.). It is mainly due to the fact that potential investors feel they have received true guidance in this difficult and potentially perilous procedure that we manage to differentiate ourselves from our main competitors. We really like to have our investors on hand, and so we offer them free accommodation for 3 months within our own premises, in order to be in a position to help them as much as possible in the investigation and installation phase. This service is generally highly appreciated.

What partnerships have you developed with FIT and AWEX? With our colleagues AWEX and FIT, we share a part of our foreign network and vice versa. In this way, we ourselves have 34 economic and commercial offices abroad, but we benefit from about 60 additional offices thanks to our collaboration with these two partners. For example, the Brussels office in Kinshasa works on behalf of the whole of Belgium and it is AWEX that represents us in Morocco and FIT in Egypt. This collaboration undoubtedly brings with it economies of scale.

We also work together to organise collective promotional events in foreign markets. In this way, our 2017 action plan includes more than 40% of events co-organised by FIT and/or AWEX. This allows us to open the door to Brussels companies for events that we couldn’t organise ourselves for lack of critical mass or budget, and vice versa. What is the European market space for Brussels companies and what is the share of European investors among foreign investors? How do you see these trends changing over the coming years? The European Union has always and by far constituted the preferential market for Brussels exports. Indeed, in 2015, the Brussels-Capital Region exported €5.49 billion worth of goods within the European Union, which represents 83.3% of the Region’s exports.

Brussels Invest & Export also helps companies based in Brussels to find new markets. In which geographical regions do you concentrate your efforts? In our 2017 action plan, Europe still makes up the largest volume of our activities (54% of organised actions and 58% of the budget). There are other initiatives spread across the other continents, with a number of interesting new developments: in Africa, there is a mission in the Ivory Coast headed by HRH Princess Astrid, and missions in Ethiopia and Djibouti. In Asia, we are to organise a mission headed by HRH Princess Astrid in South Korea and missions to Myanmar and Vietnam, as well as inviting Chinese Fintech decision makers to Brussels. In the Near and Middle East, we are organising economic missions to Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain to promote our service activities and we will invite luxury product buyers to meet Brussels companies.

These figures are more or less equivalent for the first half of 2016, in which the European Union still accounts for 83.3% of Brussels exports (€2.578 billion). And it obviously follows that neighbouring countries (Germany, France, the Netherlands, UK and Luxembourg) are among the top markets. In terms of foreign investors, around half of the investments in the Brussels-Capital Region come from the European Union. Generally speaking, the trend is moving towards greater diversification of countries of origin, hence the growth in the share of non-European countries.

In North America, we will develop new communities for the food market at the Fancy Food Show and for healthcare companies as part of the Health 2.0 framework.

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ULB: one of the most innovative Universities in Belgium An interview with Prof. Serge SCHIFFMANN, Vice-Rector for Research and Valorisation at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) Institute of European Studies known for its very integrated vision of the European functioning and its expertise at the European Commission); economics and management for humanities (with several recent ERC grants for the Solvay Brussels School of Economy and Management).

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hat are the key figures of research at ULB ? The total budget of ULB devoted to research is about 162 millions Euros, 112 millions Euros of which come from external sources. The funding of convention-based research is about 74 million Euros, 60% of which come from public funds, and 30% from international funding. We defend between 220 and 240 theses every year, representing a fourth of the entire WalloniaBrussels Federation. The ULB disseminates between 2,600 and 2,800 publications per year - for a total of about 1,950 running doctorates - and employs about 500 researchers and post-doctorates on convention or mandate from the FNRS. Among the 750 members of the academic staff with tenure track positions, 115 are appointed by the FNRS and hence full time devoted to research. On the other hand, more than 30% of students and some 40 to 45% of PhD students and post-doctoral fellows are of foreign origin.

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Could you give us some examples of European research projects involving ULB now? ULB is distinguished internationally for its participation in the framework programs of the European Commission for Research and Innovation (FP7, H2020). 23 ULB's researchers were rewarded by a prestigious ERC grant (12 Starting, 4 Consolidator and 7 Advanced Grants), placing ULB at the head of the institutions of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels in the very tough competition of the European Research Council. ULB is also active in other European programs with 129 collaborative projects (11 as coordinator), 20 individual awards and 13 Innovative training networks (2 as coordinator) of the Marie Sklodowska Curie programme. For example, the ULB is involved in GEM-STONES (Globalization, Europe and Multilateralism - Sophistication of the Transnational Order, European Networks and Strategies), a program of research and doctoral training gathering 8 universities and 7 non-academic partners, DEMIURGE, focused on the development of “swarm robotics” for the creation of intelligent robots, and HarmonicSS, a collaborative project involving 34 partners and aiming at an HARMONIzation and integrative analysis of regional, national and international Cohorts on primary Sjögren’s Syndrome (pSS) towards improved stratification, treatment and health policy making.

What are the strengths of research at ULB? Although I fully recognize the quality of all research work carried on at ULB, I’d like to particularly mention some areas of excellence: the sciences of matter and of the universe (with the Nobel Prize winner François Englert, an institute taking part in the work carried out by CERN and several recent ERC grants in physics), ICT (artificial intelligence, bioinformatics with the new ULB-VUB institute), mathematics and statistics in the field of sciences and technologies (with several ERC Grants and two Wolf Prizes for alumni); oncology (with our “Cancer Pole” project with the Jules Bordet Institute, the Erasme Hospital and the faculty of medicine, with the recently launched ULB-Cancer Research Center, ERC Grants and two recent quinquennial FNRS prizes), neurosciences (with two ERC grants awarded to members of the ULB-Neuroscience Institute, which comprises 20 teams, for their work on neurodevelopment and cognitive neurosciences), and immunology for life sciences (teams working jointly at the Biopark on inflammatory response to pathogen agents and immune response of molecules, with a recent advanced ERC grant); European sciences (with an

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Figures also speak for themselves in relation to the development of research: more than 30 enterprises, some of which are the result of ULB spin-offs, revolve around the Biopark in Gosselies (Charleroi) which comprises several hundreds of researchers. We also must remember our gleaning four Nobel prizes, three Wolf prizes, twenty-four Francqui prizes and twenty-one quinquennial FNRS prizes awarded, with 4 out the five quinquennial FNRS prizes for the last period 2011-2015. Finally, one must also highlight the twenty-three ERC grants (7 advanced grants and 16 starting or consolidating grants) that amply reward the ULB!

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What research partnerships have you developed? At the international level, research collaboration with universities worldwide has been stepped up through a strong involvement of ULB in international research networks as illustrated by the involvement of ULB researchers in programs funded by the European Commission (see above). Moreover, ULB has established privileged partnership with prestigious Universities, as the University of California (Berkeley), the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, the University of Montreal, Fudan University (China), the Waseda University (Japan), the Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris VI, the Universidade de Sao Paulo. At the national level, ULB has established strong research relationships with most universities under the framework of the Interuniversity Attraction Poles, a federal research programme. More specifically, ULB developed close and privileged relationships with the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB) with the recognition of a series of joined research groups and the joined launch of the Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics in Brussels (IB2) and the Brussels Interuniversity Genomics High Throughput core (Brightcore), placing the two universities as the most important research centers in the Brussels Capital Region.

What is more, one of the ULB Campuses is the centre of a biotechnology business park, the Biopark Charleroi Brussels South that comprises, in addition to 3 research institutes in the life sciences, more than 20 companies and one business incubator. Likewise, we have to highlight the ULB Sciences and Techniques campus in Brussels, a pole devoted to research, development, innovation and valorisation in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, earth sciences, engineering and ICT. This pole will be further developed in the following years thanks to the project ICITY-RDI.BRU, developed together with the Brussels industrial research centre for the technological industry and funded under the framework of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme 2014-2020. Focused on strengthening research and innovation devoted to ICT applications in health and helping people, smart mobility, connected objects (Internet of Things) and the fight against school dropout, the 6 projects of ICITY-RDI.BRU which started

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What is your assessment of ULB's activities in terms of technology transfer? ULB is actively involved in promoting the development of the Brussels-Capital and Walloon Regions. In this context, ULB has developed a large array of collaborative projects with industrial partners, mostly funded by regional agencies. Such activities are achieved through close interactions between the researchers and the Knowledge Transfer Office (ULB-TTO). As a result, ULB manages a portfolio of about 90 patent families with 120 active technologies and more than 60 active licences, was at the origin of 37 created spin-offs, of which 29 are still active (Kabandy in the construction sector, Ovizio Imaging Systems in innovative microscopy, Bone Therapeutics for the development of advanced cell therapy products for fracture repair and prevention…) and three have been created during the first half of 2016, is the initiator and principal partner of three business incubators (EEBIC the in Brussels-Capital region, I-Tech Incubator & Cap-Innove in the Walloon region) and is at the initiative of investment funds.

operations in 2016 are based on a partnership between the ULB, VUB and SIRRIS, in collaboration with the professional federation Agoria and the software.brussels cluster. The project will also lead to the creation of a Hardware Innovation Lab that will allow companies in the region to accelerate innovation by giving them the opportunity to understand how to integrate "smart" and "connected" layers to their products and services. Altogether, this active role in the valorisation of research results has granted ULB the 21st place in the list of most innovative European Universities and the 2nd place in Belgium, as defined by the 2016 Reuters © analysis.

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Aero-Thermo-Mechanics – ATM The Specialist for Thermodynamic Systems With its 35 collaborators, including 4 professors and 28 doctorates, post-doctorates and researchers, and 7 technicians, the ATM department constitutes a part of the Faculty of Engineering (Ecole polytechnique) of the Université libre de Bruxelles. Some 15 current research projects clearly focus upon industrial applications in different fields.

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engines. ATM always starts with machines to develop extended competences in thermodynamic systems: pumps, turbines, displacement pumps, internal combustion engines, fuel cells, etc.

umerical simulations, testing, and experimental validation: research at ATM relies on this triptych. Research activities cover a wide range of applications in fluid mechanics, including lubrication of aircraft engines and machines tools; renewable energy; heat exchangers; flameless combustion and green fuels; helicopters (along with the Southampton University); aircraft propulsion; space propulsion and re-entry flight CFD computations; research and development of small pilotless planes (drones); fuel cells; N2/O2 separation (In-Flight LOX collection); microclimate (numerical investigation of wind in urban areas), etc.

Based on its expertise, ATM takes part in several European research projects on lubrication systems of advanced aeroengines (aircraft propulsion), as testified by three projects funded under the CleanSky initiative: ACOC-TH (tests and modelling of surface coolers for turbojet engines); LubSEP (development and tests of air/oil separators for advanced lubrication); and LuBest (performance and qualification tests for lubrication systems equipment). In October 2016, ATM presented its work at the Greener Aviation Conference, organized in Brussels by the European Commission. Deaerators, oil separators, monitoring of oil quality through sensors, new types of joints to reduce leakage: these are some of the prospects of industrial applications for the major European contract givers, design offices, and equipment manufacturers for aircraft engines.

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The department relies on a large variety of equipment to perform its trials: an internal combustion engine test bench for alternative fuels; a test bench for fuel cells; a separation unit for two-phase flow mixtures; and a test bench for new pumps used for aero-

Test benches for aircraft jet engine lubrication systems

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The results of ATM’s research already anticipate the key challenges to be met in the field of aero-thermo-mechanics. These issues pertain to the aviation industry, which must address a threefold challenge: reduction of fuel and engine oil consumption; reduction of air pollution; and reduction of unwanted emissions of oil mist in the air of the pilot’s cabin. In times of increasing talk about the air-toxic syndrome, caused by the short-and long-term effects of exposition to the cabin air which has been contaminated by atomized engine oils or other chemical agents, we must urgently eliminate these discharges, even if they occur in trace-quantities. ATM currently works to ensure the wellbeing of pilots at work and to reassure airlines companies. Furthermore, the department anticipates an increased complexity of the machines’ operating conditions: increased rotational speed, higher temperatures and pressure… ATM means to address these issues through its solid expertise and its great sense of experimentation and validated numerical simulations.

ATM ULB - Solbosch Campus Avenue F.D. Roosevelt 50 (CP 165/41) - B-1050 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2 650 26 73 Email: atm@ulb.ac.be - http://atm.ulb.ac.be/


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Chemical Physics of Materials and Catalysis – ULB An Established Leader in Heterogeneous Catalysis With a dozen dedicated people working on surfaces and catalysts, the group “Chemical Physics of Materials and Catalysis” from the Université Libre de Bruxelles totals over 60 publications since 2010 and collaborates with large companies engaged in petrochemicals or in the field of automobile pollution control, along with prestigious universities (Oxford, Harvard, Berkeley, Fritz Haber Institute, Vienna, Washington State…).

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he group “Chemical Physics of Materials and Catalysis” focuses particularly on catalysts, solid substances expected to convert reactants into products of interest, such as raw materials in polymer chemistry, interesting reactions to convert pollutants into environment-friendly substances… Its researchers combine two complementary approaches: the industrial application that addresses the study of nanoparticles constituting a catalyst taking the form of powders or pellets; and more fundamental research concentrating on the study of processes via surface science, at the molecular or even atomic scale. This twofold approach mainly serves selective catalytic reduction of nitrogen oxides, as well as the development of increasingly selective and efficient catalysts. © Chemical Physics of Materials and Catalysis

The group “Chemical Physics of Materials and Catalysis” maintains its repute for using nanotechnological methods to understand what happens at the surface of nanoparticles which constitute the catalysts. These techniques remain unique in Belgium, and still not widely practiced in the world. Notably, the tomographic atom probe completes a 3D map of the structure and composition of nanomaterials with quasiatomic spatial resolution. This ability makes it useful for several different applications, particularly in metallurgy. Therefore, the group models a catalyst aggregate via a nanoparticle and performs reactions to track them at nano-range and characterize their chemical composition at the surface before, after, but also during the reaction. The tendency is to nanoparticles made of metal alloys whose evolutionary chemical composition must be characterized throughout the lifetime of a catalyst in order to study the activation and aging phenomena. These are important since a catalyst’s life expectancy varies from some ten seconds (in petrochemicals, for instance) to ten years for automotive catalysts.

Side view of the three dimensional atom map of a gold-silver alloy used for catalysis. Silver atoms are concentrated at the surface after treatment to N2O gas.

its research on the Fischer-Tropsch catalysis in order to manage the conversion of synthesis gas (CO+H2) into hydrocarbons which serve as components of major industrial interest for companies such as Total, ExxonMobil, and Shell. More widely, the group “Chemical Physics of Materials and Catalysis” works at developing active, selective, long-lasting catalysts, which remain competitive at price level. Therefore, it also explores the optimization pathways for iron- and nickelbased catalysts in order to make them industrially and economically viable. With promising applications looming ahead!

So far, the group “Chemical Physics of Materials and Catalysis” takes part in several important projects in applied research: selective catalytic reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) with an industrial partner; the development of catalysts for CO2 conversion into reusable materials with the assistance of FNRS; the study of synergistic effects within binary alloys (gold-silver and platinum-rhodium) by analyzing the composition of the very first layers and their effect on catalytic properties. The research activities of the group “Chemical Physics of Materials and Catalysis” have been awarded 8 times at national and international levels since 2010. These are good omens to rise up to the great challenge of catalysis in the 21st century: the development of selective catalysts to save the costs induced by the isolation of the desired products and the treatment of undesired compounds. The work of the group “Chemical Physics of Materials and Catalysis” is in line with green chemistry whereby, by the catalytic route, a maximum of atoms of reactive materials are converted into the desired product, with the minimum possible waste. Incidentally, the group continues

Chemical Physics of Materials and Catalysis Université Libre de Bruxelles - Faculty of Sciences, Department of Chemistry Campus de la Plaine, CPMCT - CP 243 Boulevard du Triomphe - B-1050 Bruxelles Tel.: +32 (0)2 650 57 24 Email: tvisart@ulb.ac.be - http://cpmct.ulb.ac.be/ 31


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Centre for Research in Cognition & Neurosciences - CRCN An Interdisciplinary Challenge The Centre for Research in Cognition & Neurosciences (CRCN) saw the light in 2012, and today it employs 70 members allocated to 5 research teams, including 13 permanent researchers and 13 post-doctoral researchers. With a yearly rate of 60 publications and books, it earned wide renown in experimental psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and neuropsychology.

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he CRCN teams concentrate on four principal research themes: natural language processing and cultural learning (What are the mechanisms of reading? How can we identify the interactions between spoken and written languages, and how does culture influence cognition? How can we identify and treat language disorders and deficits in numerical cognition?); the neuropsychology of learning and brain plasticity (What is the role of sleep in memory consolidation? Can we learn without awareness? What are the mechanismes that drive learning in newborns and young children? How does the brain of a deaf person adapt to a cochlear implant?); the study of consciousness (How does subjective experience emerge from the biological activity of the brain? How are our decisions influenced by subconscious contents? How do our beliefs influence our behavior? When do we feel accountable for our actions?); the study of action, of attention and of cognitive control (How can we evaluate the subjective difficulty of a task? Is it possible to perform a demanding task when you are clearly distracted? How does depression affect our abilities?).

Tracking eye movements makes it possible to determine which visual objects compel interest for the subject.

The five CRCN teams are integrated in the ULB Neuroscience Institute (UNI), an interdisciplinary structure that involves many different fields, from biomedical neurosciences to philosophy of mind. Through its 22 teams from the Faculty of Psychology, the Faculty of Medicine, the Brugmann Hospital, the Erasmus Hospital, the Faculty of Motor Sciencs, the ULB Neuroscience Institute stands out for its collective expertise, ranging from the basic organization of the nervous system to cognitive psychology. It also leverages brain imaging platforms (for example, Magnetoencephalography, Nuclear Functional Magnetic Resonance) that allow a better understanding of brain development and functioning. Finally, the ULB Neuroscience Institute supports two doctoral students every year, so as to facilitate the interactions between the various teams. This interdisciplinarity might help address the two main challenges that lie ahead of researchers in cognitive neurosciences: the reproducibility of their work, which means adapting statistical methods to improve reliability, sharing working methods and favoring an “open science”; and the advent of a more integrative approach that involves all levels of description: the way individual neurons function; the organizing principles of neural networks; the deployment of cognitive skills and the emergence of subjective experience in consciousness. Viewed globally, the cognitive neurosciences currently engage increasing numbers of researchers. The CRCN remains determined to be a major player in these developments.

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The CRCN is involved in many research projects financed by the FNRS and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (ARC projects, excellence programs), and coordinates an important IAP program Electroencephalography records dedicated to the differences between the electrical activity of the brain whilst conscious and unconscious learning. the subject performs a task. Furthermore, Prof. Axel Cleeremans, head of the CRCN, benefits from an ERC Advanced grant for the development of a novel theory of consciousness. The project, named “RADICAL,” argues that consciousness does not arise as an automatic consequence of the brain organization but is rather the result of mechanisms of cortical plasticity: Consciousness is something that the Centre for Research in Cognition & Neurosciences brain unconsciously learns to do. So, it is a question of Faculté des Sciences Psychologiques et de l'Education coming up with experiments to test this theory. “RADICAL” Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) also considers the effects of beliefs on our behavior, the 50 avenue F.D. Roosevelt CP191 - B-1050 Bruxelles development of consciousness in adults in learning situations, neurofeedback and the development of computational Tel.: +32 2 650 2631 models. Email : crcn@ulb.ac.be - http://crcn.ulb.ac.be/ 32


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The 4MAT Department The Specialist in Inorganic Materials With an annual average turnover of €1.5 million generated by its research projects, the 4MAT Department from the Université libre de Bruxelles has a staff of 40 collaborators, including 3 professors and 9 technicians. Specializing in inorganic materials, it totals between 3 and 4 thesis defenses each year.

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interactions. At the level of public regional funding, it takes part in Innoviris projects in Brussels, as well as in FEDER projects and other projects approved by the competitiveness clusters GreenWin, MecaTech and Skywin in Wallonia.

anging from the fundamental to the application, the research work of the 4MAT Department follows three main structural axes. The first one involves environment and energy. In terms of the environment, 4MAT researchers conduct environmental assessments on biosourced materials, recycling of minerals, metals and electronic waste. As for energy, they work on the interseasonal storage of energy and its transformation from biosourced materials.

The second research axis concentrates on germination and growth. In doing so, 4MAT researchers synthesize thin films by low pressure plasma for intelligent glazing and mechanical applications; they cooperate with the UMONS on CO2 conversion into usable products; and they work on the reactivity of cements (recycling, waterproofing) and on crystallization processes. Lastly, the third research axis of 4MAT concentrates on the control of the microstructures of bulk materials: development of very resistant glass for GSM or tablet screens; production of critical parts for aerospace via 3D printing or additive manufacturing (in collaboration with the VUB and the UCL); and the development of new steels with enhanced mechanical properties for the automotive industry.

To carry out these tasks successfully, the 4MAT Department relies on a major technical platform which combines synthetic equipment (lowor medium-pressure reactors; high temperature furnaces; liquid phase reactors for chemical crystallization Titanium structure produced by 3D printing: microstructure at room temperature (left) and synthesis); and characterization and high temperature modeling of microstructure (right) equipment (structural and elementary characterization, thermal analysis up to 2.500°; mechanical and surface characterization). 4MAT also applies high temperature synthesis methods, which remains unusual in Belgium. In addition, it uses various software packages for Life Cycle Analysis. At present, 4MAT involves itself in a European FP7 program, SOTHERCO. Under the “Energy” call for tender, this program focuses on energy storage via a porous matrix impregnated with a chemical compound. 4MAT also took part in other projects in the previous framework programs, whether oriented towards research or SMEs. The department operates actively in Belgium, too. At the federal level, it coordinates an IAP (Interuniversity Attraction Poles) on the plasma-surfaces

4MAT Service Université Libre de Bruxelles Avenue Paul Héger - Bâtiment U - Porte D - Local UD2-116 B-1000 Bruxelles Tel.: +32 (0)2 650 29 52 Email: shismail@ulb.ac.be - http://4mat.ulb.ac.be/ 33

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All these different projects address a major array of challenges in inorganic materials research. “Doing with less” and “Design for recycling” embody the two current tendencies; they still have to be made compatible. In addition, 4MAT will continue to work on materials for energy, recycling of cementitious materials (vital in construction, provided they are made water resistant); the CO2 conversion via plasma or other ways and additive manufacturing for the design of complex parts (for example in aeronautics), according to the principles of eco-design and recycling. With, in perspective, increased performance as well as energy and materials savings. Three good reasons to contact 4MAT!


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Group “Verification and formal methods” - ULB A recognized partner for designing mathematics to build reliable computer systems

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Strong with four professors and around 10-15 researchers (PhD and post-doc students coming from the best research institutions all over the world), the group “Verification and formal methods” is taking part in 6 ongoing research projects dealing with rigorous and automatic methods for designing reliable computer systems.

Prof. Jean-Francois Raskin, co-manager of the Group “Verification and formal methods”

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he group’s main research themes cover many aspects of the design and implementation of safety-critical systems, from computer-aided verification (automated detection of bugs) to the computer-aided synthesis of correct systems. Our group studies and defines models of computation (mathematical models) that are well-suited for specifying dependable computer systems, and that are amenable to automatic computer-aided verification techniques. These models allow to express complex behaviors of computer systems, such as those related to timing or parallelism.

framework. In addition to this fundamental work, the project also aims at developing algorithms and prototypes of tools. Those new foundations allow for the development of a new generation of computer-aided design tools that support the automatic synthesis of modern reactive systems and ensure correctness by construction. Thanks to this ERC Grant, the group has been able to build close research partnerships with other ERC Grants recipients such as Patricia Bouyer (Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan, France), Joël Ouaknine (Oxford University, UK), Kim Larsen (Aalborg University, Denmark), Krishnendu Chatterjee and Thomas Henzinger (Institute for Sciences and Technology Austria). After being part of several European research programs (Quasimodo, Gassics, Cassting), the group has just got involved in a brand new ARC project that will enable it to carry on research started with the project inVEST, the ERC grant coming to completion in September 2017. What is more, Prof. JeanFrançois Raskin was granted an IBM Faculty Award 2014 as a recognition of his work as well as a grant from Fondation Francqui which awarded him the title of “professeur Francqui de Recherche” 2015-2018. You can find more information about the group’s research work by watching the following video: http://fondation.ulb.ac.be/fr/?page_id=931

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The group is working among others on reactive systems, computer systems that maintain a continuous interaction with the environment in which they operate. Such systems are part of engine control units in automotive, plane autopilots, medical devices… Clearly, any flaw in such critical systems can have catastrophic consequences. Yet, they exhibit several characteristics, like real-time constraints, concurrency, parallelism, etc., that make them difficult to design correctly. To ensure the design of reactive computer systems that are dependable, safe and efficient, researchers and industrials have advocated the use of so-called formal methods that rely on mathematical models to express precisely and analyze the behaviors of those systems. The group gained an envied recognition with Prof. JeanFrançois Raskin being awarded a Starting grant (consolidator phase) by the European Research Council for the project inVEST. In this project, the group develops new algorithms and tools to support the automatic synthesis of modern reactive systems (instead of their verification a posteriori). The aim is a shift from verification to synthesis. This requires new foundations in which transition systems and automata – models of computation in the classical approach to verification – are replaced by a more flexible and richer game-theoretic

Méthodes formelles et vérification [Verification and formal methods] Université Libre de Bruxelles Faculté des Sciences / Faculty of Sciences Informatique (unité ULB512) Campus de la Plaine, Bâtiment NO, 8è étage CP212, boulevard du Triomphe - B-1050 Bruxelles Tel.: +32 (0)2 650 56 14 - Fax: +32 (0)2 650 56 09 E-mail : jraskin@ulb.ac.be - http://www.ulb.ac.be/di/verif 34


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A widely recognized expertise in interdisciplinarity An interview with Prof. Pierre JADOUL, Rector of the Université Saint-Louis - Bruxelles (USL-B)

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hich are the key numbers and the areas of excellence in the field of research at the Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles? The Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles (USL-B) excels in social sciences and humanities: law, political and social sciences, economics and business administration, philosophy, history, literature, translation and European studies. But far from having succumbed to compartmentalization that at times may lead to differences in methodology and subjects between the various disciplines, the USL-B acquired a widely recognized expertise in interdisciplinary practice, even developing research, the originality of which contributes itself to excellence. Whilst research constitutes opening new fields of knowledge, the interdisciplinary methods remain among those most efficient ones due to their intrinsic creativity.

St. Louis - Brussels University has fifteen research centers covering all the humanities field. A network and two institutes provide the interface between research centers: the Interdisciplinarity and Society Network (RIS), the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Brussels (IRIB) and the Institute for European Studies.

Talking about key numbers, those most doubtless revealing translate the FNRS’ recognition of our fundamental research. Over the last 6 years, an average of 44% of our FNRS applications was successful, putting us regularly ahead of the global figures of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles or FWB (21% in 2015). We’re equally proud of our above 75% admission rate to the Humanities Research Fund in 2015 (Fonds pour la Recherche en Sciences humaines – FRESH), which is an important tool in our field of disciplines.

What research partnerships did you develop at a European level? We actively participate, with the UCL and the UNamur, in a very large scale project called “Move In-Louvain” with the financial support of the European Commission (Actions Marie-Sklodowska Curie), that enable the three partner universities to give access to foreign post-doctoral researchers; and, more generally, it favors the international mobility of young but already experienced researchers. Our research centers also develop international cooperation programs with a great number of European universities. This is the case, for example, of our European Studies Institute, which has been recently selected by the European Commission to launch a new Jean Monnet module.

Could you cite a few examples of the present research programs at the Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles? Like the other universities of the FWB, the USL-B benefits from special research funds and manages to finance a great number of doctoral research fields. We simultaneously work on interuniversity research projects (Action de Recherche Concertée or ARC). Two further ARC projects started in 2015: the first one, bearing the title “Social and economic network formation under limited farsightedness: theory and applications”, has been granted a budget of 663,000 Euros for the next 5 years. The second is entitled “Critical Philosophy of what is to come: Temporality, Imagination and Utopia”. This joint project between the USL-B and the UNamur has a funding of 852,000 Euros and a span of 5 years. The quality of our research centers also allows us to take part in two PAI (Poles of Interuniversity Attraction) at a federal level: one on human rights (500,000 Euros funding), and the other, on history of law and institutions (500,000 Euros funding).

How do you value the research work coming from the USL-B? Since a few years, our university has developed its research valorization with the support of the Walloon (DGO6) and Brussels (Innoviris) Regions. Our Knowledge Transfer Office (KTO) ensures the link between the research led into the university and the nonacademic world. Its task not only consists in taking care of the diffusion, the mobilization and the knowledge transfer to the society but also to create collaborations and exchanges between the society and the university. We are an integrated member of the LIEU network which gathers the KTOs from Universities within the FWB. Although this type of research valorization represents quite a recent development, let us stress that, for a long time now, some of our research centers have shown a keen interest in regional integration, particularly with regards to very advanced research on Brussels. Our Institute for interdisciplinary research on Brussels (IRIB) unites these centers and hosts centers from other universities. We play a leading role in the Brussels Studies Institute (an inter-university research platform on Brussels) and in the on-line magazine “Brussels Studies.” Through our expertise, acquired along our research work on Brussels (particularly with regards to mobility issues), we obtained several Anticipate research projects (ex-Prospective Research for Brussels).

We also have an Acropolis (ACademic Research Organisation for POLicy Support) project, supported by ARES and VLIR-UOS, which is a programme that brings together policymakers from the Belgian Directorate General for Development Cooperation (DGD), and other relevant governmental actors on the one hand and researchers from both Flemish and French-speaking universities in Belgium on the other hand for a duration of three years, with the aim to improve the quality and impact of the Belgian development cooperation. Our research team works on the “Aid Effectiveness with a focus on fragile contexts (Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo)” in collaboration with partners from the UCL, the UGent, the ULg and the ULB.

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Flanders: innovation at the service of the economy

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© UGent - foto Christophe Vander Eecken

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Innovation through multidisciplinary collaboration An interview with Mr Philippe MUYTERS, Flemish minister of Work, Economy, Innovation and Sport Philippe Muyters, Flemish minister of Work, Economy, Innovation and Sports is a firm believer in a triple helix model in which strong collaboration between government, knowledge institutes and industry is key. “The innovation of the future indubitably lies in a multidisciplinary approach”. It is a vision he consistently applies throughout his innovation and economic policy. What follows are three cases that illustrate this mission on diverse levels. fitted with connectivity (wifi, Bluetooth, 4G…) and sensors that measure temperature, air quality, movement, heart rate... This generates endless possibilities to create smart sustainable solutions that increase our standard of living. There’s a whole new world ahead of us in smart health, smart manufacturing, smart transport and smart cities. In fact, what lies ahead of us is Smart Flanders. Flanders has all the assets to benefit to the fullest of these new evolutions; highly educated people, renowned knowledge institutes, strong companies and a long term vision to combine these strengths in an open, multidisciplinary approach to create a leading smart region.

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One of these strong assets is Imec, our world-leading research and innovation hub in nano-electronics and digital technologies. Thanks to the merger on September 21st 2016 with iMinds it now holds even more expertise in the mix between hardware and software. This combination of its widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes them unique. A combination that will immediately be put to practice in the brand new city of things project in Antwerp, launched in January 2017. In Antwerp, Europe’s largest living lab will arise, where innovative solutions will be created using data from the digital city. The open digital platform developed there can and will be transposed to other cities, so that in transforming Antwerp into a smart city, we will lay the foundation to connect our entire region and create an open and smart Flanders.

Innovation to market: VAX-ID

Smart Flanders

A beautiful and very tangible example of how multidisciplinary cooperation from the very start of a project can sow the seeds to success, is the story of VAX-ID. VAX-ID is a revolutionary and highly user-friendly syringe that changes the way we deal with vaccination today.

Today we live in the era of “The Internet of Things”. A world in which an increasing number of physical objects are connected to each other, as swift evolutions in nano-electronics and sensor technology have resulted in machine to machine communication, creating a world of smart devices. Costs, scaling and energy efficiency have now reached a point at which objects such as clothing, traffic lights, thermostats,… can be

The developers claim it originated from a chance concurrence, but more pointedly the key to its origin lies in Flanders’ and its universities’ open mindset to multidisciplinary collaboration. It thus came about that VAXINFECTIO, the University of Antwerp’s multidisciplinary research center for vaccines and infectious diseases, had the opportunity to collaborate with a product developer (prototype), a commercial engineer (business

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plan) and a nursing officer (clinical study user friendliness) of several colleges of higher education. The result: an innovative new medical solution with enormous added value, a new syringe that brings about innumerable advantages in terms of highly increased user-friendliness and strong decrease of the risk of accidents, blood transmitted diseases and pain.

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This inspiring multidisciplinary project soon caught the attention of Flemish innovation policy and could henceforth count on financial support from IWT (Agency for Innovation through Science and Technology, now VLAIO, Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship). Combined with the natural interest of the industry, the spin-off Novosanis was born and the innovative syringe could be brought to market.

for financial support, the cluster organization has to bring about private financing of 50%, stimulate cooperation with and between knowledge institutes, start projects and add an international dimension.

Cluster policy On a meta level, the new cluster policy is the central axis of the innovation policy. It is devised to enhance collaboration between corporations, sectors and researchers to sensitively increase the economic impact of innovation over the coming years. Flanders firmly believes that the outcome that can be achieved by working together is greater than the sum of all parts.

In October 2016, the Flemish government appointed the chemical industry as Flanders’ first spearhead cluster. This new cluster has to create sustainable innovations in the chemical and materials sector through intensive multidisciplinary cooperation between small and large enterprises, knowledge institutes and government organizations. The project joins over a 100 companies and all Flemish universities, together with the sector federation Essenscia Flanders, FISCH (Flanders Innovation Hub for Sustainable Chemistry, now Catalisti), VITO (Flemish Institute for Technological Research), the research center Centexbel and Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant.

Next to the financial support of numerous innovative business networks, the Flemish government therefore selects a small number of so called spearhead clusters. These encompass the large innovative domains that will shape our economic future in terms of employment and added value. In exchange

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EWI: Excellence is the keyword in scientific research An interview with Mr Johan HANSSENS, Secretary-General of EWI

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hat are the core tasks of the EWI department? universities, colleges, strategic research The Department of Economy, Science centres and other research institutions. Based and Innovation (EWI) is responsible for policy on this, the EWI department implements a preparation, policy follow-up and policy clear policy, coordinates and evaluates these evaluation for the sectors of Economy, Science funding mechanisms. Assignment of a specific and Innovation within the Flemish Government. grant or subsidy to a researcher takes place In this framework, our most important goal is through the knowledge institutions themselves to allow Flanders to evolve into one of the or through our agencies. In addition to this most progressive and prosperous regions in funding, it is naturally also important to be able the world. Our levers in this are the promotion to have excellent researchers and research of: (1) excellent scientific research, (2) an infrastructure. For this reason, we are also attractive and sustainable business climate investing in our human capital and in stateand (3) a creative, innovative and entrepreof-the-art research infrastructure in Flanders neurial society. EWI strives towards excellence and internationally. in fundamental research, strategic knowledge development and the exploitation of this Can you give us a number of examples of research M. Johan HANSSENS knowledge. Prerequisites for this are human funds/programmes? capital and research infrastructure. In addition, The Industrial Research Fund (IRF) is an we follow up the policy themes that are related to the developinternal designation fund of a university association (a university ment of an attractive and sustainable business climate and the and one or more colleges) whose resources are used for stimulation of innovation and entrepreneurship. strategic basic research and applied scientific research. The objectives of an IRF are - in the short to medium term - to stimulate the interaction between the association and the business world How does the EWI carry out fundamental and strategic basic research? and to build up a portfolio of application-oriented knowledge Excellence is very much the keyword in scientific research. within the association. In the medium to long term, an IRF must The ambition of Flanders is to finance the most excellent result in better coordination of the strategic basic research and research using this criterion. Flanders has a number of different applied scientific research with the economic needs and the instruments for the funding of fundamental and strategic basic application and exploitation of the profile of business knowledge research at the Flemish public knowledge institutions such as

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balance between targeted and non-targeted research. In that regard, the strategic research centres have an important bridging function between fundamental and applied research. SRCs therefore also play an important role in the transformation of the Flemish economy. The marketing of their knowledge through the (co)-creation of spin-offs forms an important part of this. In addition, in other sectors - such as the agro-food industry, sustainable chemistry, sustainable logistics and mobility - Flanders also applies an integrated support, research and knowledge policy. Flanders has 4 SRCs that are world leaders in their field. VIB for biotechnology, imec (merged with former research center iMinds in 2016) for nanoelectronics and digital technology, VITO for environmental research and Flanders MAKE for the manufacturing industry.

built up. The IRF thereby fits into the broader whole of efforts to strengthen the interaction between higher education institutes and economic players. The Odysseus programme is aimed at bringing researchers with a foreign career to Flanders via early stage funding for scientific research. This may involve both leading researchers with international recognition - who lead the way and have a post at a foreign university - and researchers who have the potential to be among the world's best in the near future. For a period of five years, they are able to build up their own research group. The organisation of the Odysseus programme is in the hands of the Fund for Scientific Research - Flanders. Universities take the initiative to nominate candidates. They provide an academic position, the infrastructure, offices etc. Universities can also nominate a candidate together. Approved projects receive between 100,000 and 1,500,000 euros a year for a five-year period.

Vlaamse overheid Departement Economie, Wetenschap & Innovatie (EWI) Koning Albert II-laan 35, bus 10 B-1030 Brussel Email: info@ewi.vlaanderen.be http://www.ewi-vlaanderen.be https://twitter.com/Departement_EWI https://www.linkedin.com/company/departementeconomie-wetenschap-en-innovatie-ewi-

What is the importance/added value of strategic research centres? Strategic research centres (SRCs) have formed thanks to the excellent and relevant results of academic scientific research in a wide range of scientific fields in micro- and nano-electronics, biotechnology, broadband technology, environmental topics and our manufacturing industry. With a view to economic and social valorisation, we continually strive for an appropriate

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VARIO: Independent advice for the Flemish Government In the Flemish Coalition Agreement 2014-2019, a decision was made to reform the strategic advisory councils. The VRWI was therefore abolished as of 1 January 2017. As a replacement, a new advisory council VARIO – Vlaamse Adviesraad voor Innoveren en Ondernemen [Flemish Advisory Council for Innovation and Enterprise] – was established on 14 October 2016. The aim and function of VARIO differ fundamentally from those of the VRWI, in the sense that VARIO members take part in a personal capacity and not as representatives.

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Vanessa Vankerckhoven (Novosanis), Dirk Van Dyck (UA), Marc Van Sande (Umicore), Reinhilde Veugelers (KU Leuven) and Hilde Windels (Biocartis).

y providing independent advice VARIO will assist the Flemish Government in making its choices and in the optimal use of resources. VARIO can provide advice on the entire innovation chain, from fundamental scientific research at universities to applied research with a view to increasing the value of this research and the transformation of Flemish industry. VARIO can also provide advice on policy in relation to industry, the services sector and entrepreneurship” outlines Dr Danielle Raspoet, Director VARIO and formerly General Secretary of the Flemish Council for Science and Innovation.

Topics “Through its strategic advice VARIO will primarily focus on medium- and longterm developments. VARIO will amongst others focus on innovation in the context of ‘Vision 2050’. Topics include ‘Industry 4.0’ and the ‘Circular Economy’, two major transition areas in Vision 2050. To give the transitions more chance of success, increased efforts will be needed as regards the cooperation between the different policy areas.”

“VARIO consists of a chairman and nine members. These members are appointed by the Flemish Government on the recommendation of the Flemish minister for Economy, Science and Innovation. Members are selected based on their expertise, experience and knowledge of the field. Together, they provide a balance between the policy fields of economy, science and innovation. The chairman and members are appointed in a personal capacity. A strong commitment is required. VARIO will meet eight times a year.”

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Composition

Danielle Raspoet, Director VARIO

“Like the VRWI, VARIO will continue to monitor the budget for science and innovation. In its previous incarnation, the advisory council contributed to the creation of the European 3% target for research and development: 1% public, 2% private. The close monitoring of this target will therefore remain a recurring theme in our activities.

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Council members The first mandate of VARIO began on 16 December 2016 with the appointment of its members by the Flemish Government. Lieven Danneels, managing director of Televic Group, chairs VARIO. The other nine members are Katrin Geyskens (Capricorn), Wim Haegeman (VIVES, UGent), Johan Martens (KU Leuven), Koen Vanhalst (De Clercq & Partners),

Lieven Danneels, VARIO chairman

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Budget monitoring

More resources will become available in the years to come. We have always said we should not restrict ourselves to monitoring input. Outcome is more important than ever, if Flanders is to become an innovation leader. What are the social and economic impacts of our investments? A bold policy is required, in which Flanders is prepared to make choices. Here VARIO can provide advice on the priorities to be set for optimal use of these resources,” concludes Danielle Raspoet.


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Vlaio: support for research projects in large and small companies “We stimulate R&D in companies through the Innovation support department at Vlaio – Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship Agency (Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen). We mainly aim to participate in high-risk activities,” Maarten Sileghem, acting head of the entity first tells us. Vlaio has 365 members of staff.

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e provide direct support to companies in their R&D projects and encourage them to collaborate with knowledge institutions. After determining an R&D project, an evaluation takes place of both the substance and the legal framework. We do not set thematic priorities but evaluate along three main lines. In the first place, a project must be high quality and contribute to ‘the state of the art’ given the nature of the application. Secondly, research is considered in terms of the economic benefit to the company. Finally, research must also contribute to an economic interest in Flanders in terms of employment and investment. We provide a selection bonus to companies who collaborate and to start-ups.”

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“In 2015 approximately €154 million of support was provided for R&D projects over two sub-programmes dedicated to SMEs. On the one hand these were major R&D intensive businesses, in total the support for this amounted to over €119 million. In addition we also had a programme accounting for €35 million. This could include the development of a new, but also an improvement of an existing product, process or service. Accessibility is the motto and we mainly look for smaller projects. Our aim is to encourage SMEs to innovate.”

International cooperation “Vlaio also stimulates international cooperation in terms of R&D on a number of different topics. In the first place we provide a service in which we assist companies with a view to accessing financing programmes offered by the European Commission. In addition, we also fund R&D ourselves in the framework of networks of different Member States. Vlaio pays for the Flemish part of the programme. In fact, we participate in existing networks with our existing R&D support programmes. Examples include Eureka and Eurostars, ITEA, JTIs, AAL, ERA networks etc. We are the Flemish link in the Enterprise Europe Network with over 600 partner organisations worldwide. We do not focus on R&D here but help companies enter into partnerships and develop business outside Flanders. Through this route we contribute towards bridging the innovation paradox by facilitating a transfer to the market," Maarten Sileghem concludes.

Clusters

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“To complete the picture: since 2016 we have also been providing support to clusters, partnerships between businesses and knowledge institutions. This relates both to support for basic operations and projects. The focus here is on various themes. Approved projects include chemistry and plastics, logistics, materials, and smart energy region.”

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Vlaio Koning Albert II-laan 35 bus 12 - 1030 Brussel Tel: +32 (0)24 32 42 02 Email: info@vlaio.be - http://www.vlaio.be


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The voice of the Universities of Apllied Sciences (UAS’s) and University Colleges (UC’s) in Europe

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Statement on the mid-term review Horizon 2020

From left to right: policy officers Anna Toivonen (EURASHE), Bruno Van Koeckhoven (VLHORA) and secretary general Sara Hoogeveen (UASnet)

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he development of Horizon 2020 by the European Commission (EC) was a first step in the good direction”, says Bruno Van Koeckhoven, policy officer of the Council of Flemish UASs (i.e. hogescholen) and upcoming secretary-general of UASnet.. “Instead of financing research an Sich in the past, the EC understands that it is better to subsidize applied research and the whole innovation circle. Regarding the fact that most European Universities of Applied Sciences and University Colleges (i.e. “hogescholen”, “politechnico’s” or “Fachhochschulen”) are experts in applied research and were looking forward to participate in the EU’s new research program, the success rate stayed low. ” “One of the most important reasons is the fact that national governments in the EU spent a lot of their budget for research activities in the classical academic universities and a little amount to subsidize research in the UAS’s or UC’s,” explains

Anna Toivonen, policy officer of EURASHE, i.e. the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education that offer professionally orientated programs and are engaged in applied and profession-related research within the Bologna cycles. “This unbalanced situation causes a capacity shortage in the UAS’s of the EU having an effect on the staffing in the UAS’s. Our researchers incorporate a lot of expertise in multidisciplinary collaborative projects, but with no time or a shortage of resources to apply successfully for H2020-grants. This is really a pity.” Sara Hoogeveen, secretary-general of UASnet, which gathers represents Associations of UAS’s or “hogescholen” of 8 European countries in a network to take get more grip on the EU-policy making, clarifies: “The EC should avoid that too broad H2020-calls lead to a kind of lottery situation. The open nature of the calls attracts many proposals, many of which might be only marginally relevant to the call. This reduces 44


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overall success rates and creates frustration on the proposers who do not understand why their proposals have been rejected. Hence, some more targeted guidance for the calls as to what the expected outcomes should be, would be advisable. Openess increases competition within single calls even more and this it harder especially for UAS’s as relative newcomers to succeed.”

2. Secondly, Horizon 2020 is, to a great extent, a program for big consortia, involving many partners in many countries. Given the UAS’ good relations to the industry and SMEs respectively and its expertise in working mainly in smaller projects, calls requiring smaller consortia would therefore be a good way to stimulate stronger participation of UAS in the forthcoming Framework Program.

Sara Hoogeveen and Anna Toivonen: “All UAS’s or UC’s in Europe are trying to deploy this important message to the EU. That’s why we created UAS4EUROPE. It is a new joint initiative from EURASHE, UASnet, swissuniversities, Hochschule Bayern and the Austrian FHK (Österreichische Fachhochschul Konferenz). The EU needs more and stronger involvement of the UAS’s and UC’s. This conclusion is unavoidable if we look at the European objectives in the area of innovation and growth. The European challenge-based research approach must generate more impact power. Increasing the impact of applied research and innovation is the way forward to enhance Europe’s competitiveness and ability to create more growth and jobs. European UAS’s or UC’s play an important regional role in delivering applied research and innovation on the one hand and on the other hand they in acting as an important link between SMEs and industry, traditional universities, societal organizations and VET and other educational institutions in the region.”

3. Thirdly, it should be pointed out that although Horizon 2020 has a broad coverage in terms of themes, themes of importance to UAS should be included, such as arts, design, architecture, linguistics and social work. 4. Fourthly, we believe that FP9 has to find an even better balance between fundamental research, applied research and the different forms of innovation. The ERC must be maintained to fund excellent research, the EIC should tackle disruptive innovation (UAS4EUROPE is a supporter of the EIC) which is still missing, collaborative projects must still make up the core of FP with a strong focus on applied research, but FP9 should also maintain enough support and funding for incremental innovation (the one must not exclude the other). 5. Fifthly, UAS4EUROPE would also like to ask the EC to work together with the UAS to provide opportunities for better UAS participation. We therefore introduce the concept of “Smart Partnerships for Regional Impact” (SPFRI). These can serve as a means for ensuring that the projects have the required impact by getting UAS (and their networks and applied research and innovation skills) on board.

Bruno Van Koeckhoven: “All European UAS’s and UC’s believe that Horizon 2020 should place a stronger focus on collaborative, bottom-up projects with clear guidelines, targeted guidance and expected outcomes as this allows for genuine open competition and generating excellence in science and innovation. Therefore, UAS4EUROPE suggests to take this even further and gradually move towards having open calls without deadlines, allowing for even more flexibility and better preparation.”

6. Finally, under current conditions, participating in the European Framework Program is a huge step for many UAS’s, especially if they don’t have experience in international cooperation. Big consortia, a complex structure and lots of requirements discourage even willing scientists researchers to apply. So a part dedicated explicitly to newcomers, some kind of initial or introductory program with smaller consortia, fewer requirements could be a good way to lead UAS researchers to the other, bigger parts of the framework program. UAS conduct application driven research, often in interdisciplinary collaborations and therefore UAS4EUROPE is of the opinion that Europe as whole will benefit from the know-how of the UAS, if Horizon 2020 and FP9 would acknowledge their expertise more.”

Sara Hoogeveen and Anna Toivonen collaborating with the whole team of UAS4Europe-platform are also looking into the future: “UAS4EUROPE would like to take the opportunity to propose some ideas for the successor of Horizon 2020, the FP9. 1. First of all, at least a continuation but if possible an increase of the budget for FP9 should be ensured. This can be justified as there is ample ground for investing money in the European knowledge base. A stronger budget for applied research would be appreciated, not in the least place because such research can have a direct impact on Europe’s society at large.

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SCK•CEN Pioneer in nuclear applications

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ver the past sixty years, the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK•CEN) has accumulated vast experience in various areas of nuclear research. With the development of countless innovative and future-oriented applications, it has gained worldwide recognition. As a research centre for peaceful applications of radioactivity, SCK•CEN constitutes an essential link in society. In the first place, the focus lies on safe nuclear reactors, radiation protection of people and the environment and radioactive waste management. With innovation and sustainability as central values, the research centre fully collaborates on lasting solutions such as new efficient reactors, renewable energy applications and the security of supply of radioisotopes. With its expertise, SCK•CEN offers readymade answers to the authorities, industry and the medical sector. Education and training of the future generation of experts is guaranteed thanks to the SCK•CEN Academy for Nuclear Science and Technology, which welcomes students and professionals from all over the world.

A brand new life for BR2

© SCK•CEN

The most important facility on the site in Mol today is the Belgian Reactor 2. BR2 is the best performing and most flexible material test reactor in the European Union. From February 2015 to July 2016 BR2 went through a “refurbishment” operation: SCK•CEN invested €25M over 2 years in order to replace systems and parts whereby operation may be guaranteed for at least another 10 years and – depending on the results of the license renewal in 2026 – even longer. The refurbishment of BR2 also covered the renewal of irradiation devices and instrumentation to offer partners and clients the most up-to-date experiments.

Belgian Reactor 2

emitters. For example, some of them can be used in palliative applications for the treatment of bone metastases.

MYRRHA: phase development for multiple applications

The brand new BR2 will operate in 5-6 operating cycles of 34 weeks per year. If a sufficient economic driver can be found, SCK•CEN might even decide to invest more and dedicate more staff to increase the operational regime to 8 cycles per year.

Eager to guarantee continuity of activities, SCK•CEN has been working since several years on the design of MYRRHA (Multi-purpose hYbrid Research Reactor for High-tech Applications), a new irradiation facility operating with fast neutrons. In the long term, this innovative and flexible facility will offer even more possibilities to contribute to the development of sustainable technologies.

At the moment, BR2 is a major producer of molybdenum-99, which is used in 80% of diagnoses performed on 30 million patients worldwide every year. Given that molybdenum-99’s half-life amounts to 6 days, BR2 has to produce and deliver it to the processors every day to assure its continuous availability to the patients in the hospitals. BR2 also sees to the production of many other radioisotopes for cancer therapy and diagnosis of various diseases, as well as for industrial uses. For instance, it produces activation radioisotopes from metals, such as iridium, which are irradiated in the core of the reactor and used in the treatment of cancerous tumors or radiographs of welds.

The Belgian Nuclear Research Centre will use MYRRHA as a multipurpose irradiation facility for applications complementary to those of BR2 such as: • Demonstration of the concept of “transmutation”: a process whereby the long-lived radioactive elements in spent nuclear fuel are transformed, meaning that quantity and radiotoxicity are strongly reduced. Transmutation reduces the volume of spent nuclear fuel by a factor of 100 and shortens radiotoxicity by a factor 1,000 from some hundreds of thousands of years to some hundreds of years.

Besides, SCK•CEN has just established a strategic plan for the development of new radioisotopes in collaboration with universities. Among these emerging radioisotopes are alpha

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In 2010, the Belgian Government decided to support the MYRRHA project for 5 years with a dedicated budget of 60 million €2010 for further research and development. It also specified that Belgium as a host country will cover 40 percent of the total costs for the complete realisation of MYRRHA. Based on the evaluation report for the period 2010-2014, a new dedicated grant of 40 million €2015 was allocated to MYRRHA for 2015-2017 with the objective of satisfying all requirements for the actual implementation and construction. On top of that, additional 11.5 milion €2015 were granted within the framework of H2020 (project MYRTE “MYRRHA Research and Transmutation Endeavour”).

• Commercial production of medical and industrial radioisotopes, including the next generation of accelerator-based medical radio-isotopes. • Contribution to the development of advanced nuclear reactors, particularly heavy liquid metal cooled ones. This new type of reactor produces significantly less waste and uses nuclear fuel much more efficiently, contributing to the lowcarbon energy-mix in an even more sustainable way. • Testing of materials and components for new nuclear fission and nuclear fusion reactors. • Training of the new generations of nuclear experts. • Fundamental research into nuclear physics, atomic physics, fundamental interactions, solid state physics, nuclear medicine etc.

And that's not all: both the Belgian government and the European Commission's Directorate-General for Research have placed MYRRHA on the priority list to benefit from the European Commission Funds for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The project was promoted to the high-priority list of the European Strategic Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) in 2010. In addition, SCK•CEN has resumed negotiations with the European Investment Bank (EIB) with a view to qualify for obtaining an InnovFin loan, an EIB program, or an ECPI loan. The answer on the EIB funding is expected in 2018.

At the end of 2015 SCK•CEN developed a solid implementation plan consisting of 3 phases for a combined budget of 1.6 billion €2016. In a first phase (2016-2024), a first part of the accelerator (up to 100 MeV out of the 600 MeV total) will be constructed. This accelerator costs 210 million €2016. Its objective: to make this accelerator very reliable i.e. 30 beam trips per year, which would make it possible to almost gain a factor 200 compared to today's large accelerators. Phase 1 also includes the preparation for phase 2 (upgrading the accelerator to 600 MeV) and phase 3 (constructing the reactor), which jointly require 155 million €2016. At the end of phase 1 in 2024, a stage-gate decision is taken whether to execute phases 2 and 3 either sequentially or in parallel. Phases 2 and 3 have a combined budget of 1,250 million €2016.

Beyond financial considerations, MYRRHA is also a matter of international partnerships. To this end, collaboration with France has been strengthened: a new collaboration contract of 9 million € was signed with the CNRS. The French participation, amounting to 1.8 million €, will contribute to the development of the accelerator over the period 2016-2018. In parallel, SCK•CEN is in discussion with the Institute of Applied Physics in Frankfurt, Germany, which is also expected to offer its services for phase 1 of the project. Finally, negotiations are under way with Sweden, which is attracting attention with its European Spallation Source (ESS) facility under construction in Lund: the participation of Belgium in ESS and that of Sweden in MYRRHA, based on the many similarities between the two accelerators, could lead to possible co-developments.

Two research stations will be built during phase1 for the production of medical radioisotopes and a station for material research. The phased implementation reduces the risks of accelerator reliability, allows having faster a new research facility at SCK•CEN and it allows more time for risk reduction on the reactor. By 2024, the MYRRHA accelerator should be operational, enabling it to start producing radioisotopes complementing in that regard BR2, which is planned to operate at least until 2026. The construction of MYRRHA, including the reactor, should be completed by 2030 and the start-up commissioning is planned over 3 years.

By the end of 2017 SCK•CEN plans to submit a comprehensive report summing up its activity since 2015 to the Belgian government for taking the decision to carry out phase 1 of the project.

Key figures Over 750 employees, half of whom have a university degree. 70 university students for PhD research every year. Around 100 trainees for a master’s or bachelor’s thesis. Worldwide market leader for the production of medical radioisotopes. • 20% of the world’s production of doped silicon.

© SCK•CEN

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MYRRHA: plant layout

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SCK•CEN Boeretang 200 - B-2400 Mol Tel.: +32 (0)14 33 21 11 Fax: +32 (0)14 31 50 21 Email: info@sckcen.be http://www.sckcen.be


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VITO: the right tools and expertise for accurate guidance at every stage of growth From innovative idea or proprietary technology to internationally expanding cleantech business via spin-off and co-creation. As a result of VITO's initiatives, businesses of all sizes benefit from sure-fire guidance at every stage of growth, across borders. As a Flemish strategic research institution for sustainable technologies and development VITO has the right tools and expertise at its disposal.

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ITO uses three tools to assist businesses: BRILLIANT –VITO Innovation Plan; Co-creation paths; Venture Development Team.

*BRILLIANT – industry finds technology With the ‘BRILLIANT – VITO Innovation Plan’ online platform, businesses gain low threshold access to a wide range of protected cleantech technologies. These could prove to be a lever for a company's international breakthrough. BRILLIANT offers 3 categories of innovations - Platinum novelties, Golden opportunities, Silver technologies - each with a certain degree of influence on the technology and its regional protection. Membership of BRILLIANT is free. © VITO

*VITO Co-Creation paths: from idea to reality in 6 months VITO organises a series of unique co-creation paths to give Flemish businesses the opportunity to bring some of their ideas to life using VITO technology. In a first co-creation, VITO Remote Sensing expertise was used to transform opportunities for agriculture, land use, infrastructure and security monitoring into successful, marketable products and concepts. After an intake meeting, around a dozen innovative, committed and highly complementary companies are selected. VITO also invests 280 research hours into technological feasibility testing.

VITO wins EU Award VITO developed the Carbstone process that transforms waste materials and CO2 into highly valuable construction materials and results in a drastically reduced environmental impact. VITO came 3rd at the EARTO Innovation Awards with this innovation. The Carbstone process uniquely combines existing technologies using accelerated mineral carbonation by treating various types of waste with CO2 at elevated pressure and temperature. The CO2 is sequestered inside the products by transforming CO2-gas into solid carbonate minerals that cement the slag particles together. This flexible technology allows for the production of a range of products, from paving bricks to roofing tiles, with the same technical properties as conventional concrete products.

*Venture Development Team: ‘custom-made’ support Even if an idea is not ready to market, a business can come to VITO for support. The Venture Development Team helps an idea to mature. The team has privileged access to investment funds, connections with venture capitalists and a network of technical and commercial experts. In this way a technical idea can evolve into a good business plan and finally a successful start-up.

© VITO

For the development of the Carbstone process, VITO collaborated closely with the company ORBIX. To further develop this patented technology, a pilot plant was built and large-scale industrial trials conducted. The target is to set up a production plant for the Belgian market in 2017, while developing a licensing model to market the technology worldwide.

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VITO NV Boeretang 200 - B-2400 Mol Tel.: +32 (0)14 33 55 11 Fax: +32 (0)14 33 55 99 E-mail: vito@vito.be http://www.vito.be


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Merger of imec and iMinds: cross-pollination of nano-electronics, software and ICT On 21 September 2016 imec started a brand new chapter. With the conclusion of a merger agreement to run the Flemish research centres, imec and iMinds will now operate as a single organisation. The research centre - called imec - combines the technological and system expertise of over 2,500 imec researchers with the digital know-how of around 1,000 (former) iMinds researchers.

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n this way, a leading research and innovation hub will be created in nano-electronics and digital technologies. It is precisely this partnership of microchip technology on the one hand and software and ICT on the other that will bring about unprecedented innovations in fields such as healthcare, smart cities, mobility, logistics and production, and energy.

One of the areas where the combination of hardware and digital technology will have a massive impact is the Internet of Things (IoT). By 2020, the forecast is that the IoT will connect billions of smart devices to one another. It will create fantastic opportunities and help us to make better decisions in many aspects of our lives. And in this respect there is definitely a growing need for total solutions that combine microchip technology and software. One of the major challenges facing the IoT is the security of the data that will be captured by all those sensors in our home, on our bodies and in our cars. And that will also be a combination of security at a software level and security at a hardware level.

© imec

Data security

Rudi Cartuyvels, Executive Vice-President for Smart Electronics and Danny Goderis, Executive Vice-President for Smart Applications at imec

Healthcare There are also enormous opportunities within healthcare. Portable health devices generate lots of data (heart rate, temperature etc.). These measurements will have to be able to produce knowledge and information in a medically certified way. And this again will be achieved through a combination of hardware and software. The software platform Simband by Samsung Electronics is a good example of the use of ultraefficient imec sensors to allow non-invasive monitoring of the body’s vital signs.

Smart city Hardware and software will also come together in the City of Things project in Antwerp, the largest European testing group where companies, researchers and policy makers can experiment together with technologies for the smart city of the future. In the Smart City project researchers aim to roll out 100 gateways and numerous sensors by the end of 2017. These will primarily be sensors to monitor air quality but sensors to measure water levels in sewers are also being considered along with applications that make it easier to park in the city.

Quotes: Rudi Cartuyvels, Executive Vice President Smart Electronics at imec: “The merger with iMinds provides imec with a lot of complementary expertise: data analysis, data fusion, software running on chips, algorithms, connectivity between sensors, additional functionality in the field of data security etc.”

Radar and image recognition Another opportunity is to combine imec’s sensor chip expertise with data fusion possibilities. Data fusion makes it possible to combine different (measurement) data to obtain more information. Data fusion could very well be used in the context of “autonomous driving”. Imec has developed several types of sensors – such as radar, lidar and image sensors – that will have to assist the driver in order to drive safely. But its strength will be in the combining of different technologies.

Danny Goderis, Executive Vice President Smart Applications at imec: “We will have to select the potential winners – whether radar or imaging, encryption of the IoT, medical applications, energy or even neuromorphic computing. For each case selected, we will have to develop an R&D platform and management system.”

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FLAG: support of the development of aviation and related technologies The Flemish Aerospace Group (FLAG) is a cluster organisation for enterprises, universities and research institutes active in the aerospace market. FLAG supports the development of aviation and related technologies, improves the visibility of the Flemish aerospace globally aiming for a growing market share. FLAG caters for his 60 members’ interest on a political level, facilitate networking between members, develop business opportunities by organising attendance to major business events and aim at a well-functioning triple helix structure.

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© FLAG

viation is at the threshold of a new era. Depending on the segment the growth in the next decades will be largely fueled by passenger growth and supported by new technology developments. The major OEM’s will adapt by building the necessary know-how either by acquisitions, strategic partnerships and/or research and development. The Flemish aerospace industry boasts a broad range of technologies and services well suited to benefit from these upcoming changes. Both our SMEs and multinationals have, or can develop, the innovative know-how in key areas like composites, 3D printing, complex structures in metal alloys,… to gain and strengthen their place in supply chains. Already today the members supply to OEM’s worldwide. More information about the strengths and potential of the Flemish aerospace industry can be found in a study commissioned by Agentschap Ondernemen and executed by Altran. The study finalised early 2015 and is available at request.

2016 edition of the Bourget Air Show in Paris

An interview with Mr Kris VAN DER PLAS, Managing Director of FLAG

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What does FLAG do in the context of the replacement of the F-16? Kris Van der Plas: “We hope that as many Flemish businesses as possible can participate in the development of new technologies for the replacement of the current F-16s. The focus here is both on innovative and technological aspects. The technology used for the replacement of the F-16s will also be applied in the civilian market in due course. FLAG also ensures contacts between our companies and the 5 candidates that are currently in the running to build the future F-16 replacements.”

© FLAG

hat are the main spearheads of FLAG? Kris Van der Plas: “The airline industry is more present in Flanders today than ever before. Flemish businesses are at the absolute top with their niche technologies and are among the regular suppliers to all the major aircraft manufacturers globally. One of our tasks is to negotiate a funding mechanism for these businesses and institutions active in the aviation sector. Investments always take place over a long timeframe, and it is often difficult to bridge that period. For that reason the EU allows governments to provide loans under specific repayment terms and conditions. FLAG conducts these negotiations with the government.”

Esterline family

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How does FLAG illustrate the skills and needs of its members? Kris Van der Plas: “We recently launched, through our technology working group, a progressive detailed examination of the skills and needs of our members. This is a follow-up to the technological roadmap that was previously developed in the 2015 study. Finally we want to get an idea of how Flemish businesses, universities and other research institutions would be able to cooperate better and also facilitate that cooperation. We were also accredited at the end of 2016 by our Flemish government as an innovative cluster. Such accreditation allows us to further strengthen the technological development of our members.”


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UGent TechTransfer: creating social impact from scientific research “The main mission of UGent TechTransfer is to create social impact through scientific research. This is done from a number of angles,” Wim Van Camp, General Manager of UGent TechTransfer first tells us.

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an you give more details about the tasks of UGent TechTransfer? “In the first place, we examine whether research within the university can be applied commercially. In fact, we attempt to build further on fundamental research. We can rely on public funding for this, including through the Industrial Research Fund IOF. Business developers, active in one of the 20 defined fields, proactively seek out opportunities in research conducted at the university. This model has now been in place for ten years and we were true pioneers in that area.”

© UGent - foto Hilde Christiaens

UGent TechTransfer also sets up partnerships with industry? “Indeed, another aspect is the establishment of research partnerships with industry, whereby the property rights are held jointly or lie with the industry. We are always looking for matches for both parties where UGent can facilitate the research in various ways. A research project may be positioned in a purely service concept in which the company also wants to use the university’s equipment and resources. Often businesses also search for knowledge to give shape to their project. Finally a research partnership can build on existing knowledge in order to obtain patents and licences.”

Opening of the newly constructed UGent Technology Park in Zwijnaarde

How do you collaborate with other universities? “Among other ways, we work together through TTO Flanders, a joint initiative of services for knowledge and technology transfer in the five Flemish universities: Ghent University, University of Antwerp, University of Leuven, the Free University of Brussels and Hasselt University. In addition we are also often partners in joint research projects emanating from business associations and their spearhead clusters, including Fisch and SIM.”

© UGent - foto Christophe Vander Eecken

How do you contribute to regional development? “A third aspect is that we want to have an impact on regional development by creating new companies/spin-offs. Spin-offs can be either technology- or entrepreneur-driven. We help these spin-offs with funding and by providing training on entrepreneurship, finance and marketing. We also provide infrastructure in so-called incubators.”

Atmospheric image of the Faculty of Science

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Can you give us some examples of recent initiatives of UGent TechTransfer? “We recently founded the Cancer Research Institute Ghent (CRIG). With this institute we want to bring researchers together from different faculties – medicine, science, veterinary medicine…– and Ghent University Hospital. CRIG wants to act as a facilitator for the application of fundamental cancer research and as a point of contact for businesses. A second initiative is the future cooperation with the city of Ghent and the province of East Flanders. This has led to the Tech Lane Ghent Science Park which is positioned as a future-oriented community of knowledge-based companies, an innovation “living lab”. It has two campuses that together form an ecosystem for knowledge-intensive companies in the sectors of ICT, the life sciences, materials research and logistics.” www.techtransfer.ugent.be


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Keeping the balance between fundamental research and applied research An interview with Prof. Anne DE PAEPE, Rector of Ghent University (UGent)

© Rights reserved

In which specific fields does UGent research take the lead? If we consider the citation impact of our publications and focus on those which are at least 15% above the world average, we can emphasize several areas of excellence for UGent. Among these are plant science and technology, medecine (and especially specialties such as immunology and cardiovascular diseases), microbiology, veterinary sciences (with a very strong department in this field) and experimental psychology.

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hat are the key figures of research at UGent? UGent is a major Belgian university with more than 40,000 students and 9,000 staff members. UGent is also a large research community, counting 1,300 professors engaged in teaching and research, 1,300 post-doc researchers as well as 4,700 early stage or doctoral researchers.

Could you give us a few examples of ongoing research projects at the Belgian, European and international levels? At the national level, I will start with a project of the IAP (interuniversity attraction poles): entitled BeMGI for “Belgian Medical Genomics Initiative”. This project is a very successful collaboration between all the genetics departments in Belgium. Focusing on a number of human diseases, BeMGI is resorting to top methods of genetic sequencing in order to explore genetic defects and better understand the genetic causes of these pathologies. In the field of plant genetics and technology, UGent is taking part in the “Mars” project, whose aim is to investigate how roots and shoots influence each other and to examine the way in which their interaction contributes to plant growth. More specifically, this project targets the identification of growth controlling components and the transfer of this knowledge with a view to improving the quality of maize.

UGent can boast a significant scientific output since it is the source of 6,000 academic publications annually. I would also like to stress that 40% of our PhD students are international and that UGent delivers around 600 PhD degrees each year. As regards research organisation, the university is made up of 11 faculties covering almost every scientific discipline. But it is important to underline that research groups go far beyond faculty boundaries. Research at UGent is definitely interdisciplinary; doctoral students are therefore supported during their research training by one of the 5 doctoral schools: Arts, Humanities and Law; Social and Behavioural Sciences; Natural Sciences; (Bioscience) Engineering; Life Sciences and Medicine. Research at UGent is by definition of an international character: research projects are generally a result of collaborations with research groups in the European Union and on an international scale.

Still at the Belgian level, we are part of the “Reward” project in the field of psychology. “Reward” aims to provide a public health framework in order to improve the eating patterns of children by using reward-based learning paradigms. At European level, UGent is participating in 261 FP7 projects and already more than 120 Horizon 2020 projects. As an example, UGent is bringing its expertise to “DOLORisk”, a project running from 2015 to 2019 whose aim is to understand risk factors and determinants for neuropathic pain. This understanding may lead to new treatments with multiple impact on society: indeed, it could influence psychological well-being as well as prolong activity and increase the quality of therapeutic care.

UGent research expenditure reached € 251 million into 2015. This continuous, substantial investment in R&D enabled UGent to yield very positive results in valorization: over the last ten years, we have filed over 550 patent applications and have given birth to 59 spin-off companies.

UGent is also participating in the European project “Future of food”. Coordinated by the faculty of Bioscience Engineering, this project is dedicated to the introduction of new ecological and innovative applications of sustainable food so as to improve food quality and food safety.

UGent is doing very well in the international rankings. In the Shanghai ranking it is the first Belgian university with its 62nd position; UGent comes out as the second Belgian university in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. And on Thomson Reuters’s prestigious Highly Cited List, which contains only 30 “Belgian” researchers, no less than 15 are Ghent University affiliated researchers!

Another very promising European project we are part of, is “Embric”. This project is using “blue technology” in order to enhance the potential of marine resources and biodiversity.

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Š Christophe Vander Eecken

CafÊs‌ Besides, UGent is always keen to provide scientific advice to policy makers and other key players. UGent also ensures to disseminate research through high-quality education in order to attract students and stimulate their participation in future research programmes.

At the international level, UGent has a long-standing tradition in development cooperation programmes, e.g. in the framework of Unesco activities. A first project aims at reducing malaria transmission in East Africa, a second one deals with HPV research while a third one is dedicated to the sustainability of groundwater exploitation thanks to a desalination process.

Finally, UGent is relying on prominent scientific ambassadors such as Japan Prize winner Marc Van Montagu, the first Belgian astronaut Dirk Frimout and the former director of the UNAIDS programme Peter Piot.

How do you promote the results of research at UGent? We have implemented specific valorization consortia, each supported by a business developer. The assigned mission of the business developers is to enhance the transfer of knowledge to industry and society. This works very efficiently. Thanks to these consortia, spin-off companies can get support to establish themselves in the market and even be acquired by large companies.

What are the main challenges facing basic research in your specialty area, namely medical genetics? Let us start with research funding: it is important to keep a balance between fundamental research and applied research. If this balance were to be threatened it would compromise applied research and valorization in the future. Politicians must not lose sight of this continuum where basic research is providing oxygen for applied research. Yet they tend to favor a short-term approach instead of a long-term one. Therefore we will have to remain watchful.

Moreover, research groups are encouraged to work together in technology parks so that their laboratories are located in the proximity of industrial players and private companies. This physical interaction between researchers and companies is very efficient to promote research valorization and technology transfer. Our technology parks are a great success; as such we are now investigating new locations for an extension of our activities.

As regards medical genetics lots of progess have been made in finding the genetic causes of various disorders and suffering. Still very little has been achieved at therapeutic level. We still have to find ways to affect genetic alterations. But gene therapy is not easy for this group of pathologies. We also have to better understand biological processes and improve the way we intervene in biological pathways. We need to put all our efforts in international collaboration because many of these diseases are rare and each of us individually lack the resources that are needed to develop new and effective treatments.

Furthermore, UGent has adopted an open science policy in order to encourage researchers to publish their articles in open access. Worldwide collaboration and sharing of knowledge is at the core of our commitment. Likewise, we use traditional and social media as well as various other channels to profile our researchers. UGent research has a dedicated Twitter account (@ResearchUGent) and various sections on our website (www.ugent.be/en/research). The university is also committed to scientific communication and sets up a wide range of activities with a societal impact. We are a regular at public events such as Science Days, Science

What is more, a closer link has still to be established between clinical expertise and scientific insights. Clinical geneticists have a considerable know-how to offer and only through closer synergy will we achieve success.

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Vlerick Business School “Jointly putting knowledge into action and action into knowledge” “Our strong links to practice are what makes Vlerick unique as a research institution. Research often starts from a practical question. In addition, we explicitly strive to translate the results of our research into practice, in the form of tools, cases, games and simulations. Of course research is performed rigorously but relevance and having a broad impact (“reach”) are certainly just as important. With a wide range of partnerships and formulas tailored to business and social needs, we aim to add value to daily reality,” says Dr Eva Cools, Research Manager at Vlerick Business School.

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e have about 50 professors who are active both in the fields of education and research. In addition we have quite some researchers, who are deployed widely. So there are doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers, but also more applied researchers who work on research projects and networking activities within our research centres. Companies don't usually have one single question that can be resolved with an answer from a single management field, but want integrated responses that bring a number of different perspectives together. Hence our explicit strategy to encourage professors and researchers to collaborate across disciplines with colleagues and partners inside and outside Vlerick. This is the only way to arrive at insights that can be implemented in practice.”

Focus areas

© Vlerick Business School

© Vlerick Business School

“In our open management education programmes we take a broad perspective and strive to cover all functional aspects of management, from financial management to marketing and operational management. However in terms of research we have five focus areas, three from a sector focus and two from a multidisciplinary perspective. We also link training programmes to these focus areas. The three sectors we focus on are financial services, healthcare and energy. For financial services we work with insurance companies and with banks, around which we have set up a research centre. Our research here is mainly focused on digital and fintech on the

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one hand and regulation on the other. For the energy sector we carry out research into how market regulation works in Europe. Currently the focus is mainly on electricity and gas, but in the future we will expand this to other energy sources. In the healthcare sector we were initially primarily focused on hospitals but this has now expanded to the pharmaceutical sector and life sciences. Next to these sectors, we also wanted to combine our strengths around entrepreneurship & innovation and digital transformation. These fields are in Vlerick's DNA, so showcasing these as strong areas of expertise is quite simply logical.”


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Striving for rigorous and relevant research with impact: some examples

Š Vlerick Business School

- Cross-industry innovation is key for our inspiration-driven economy Where our economic growth used to be determined by efficiency, today inspiration and creativity are the main driving forces. For businesses, looking within the walls of the company or even the industry is often no longer sufficient. For that reason, a team from Vlerick Business School has carried out research into the success factors for innovation across industry boundaries in a project for Flanders DC. The study was recently given a practical transtranslation into the online tool innovatiefsamenwerken.be. - Innovative cancer treatments: how much are we willing to pay? One in three men and one in four women will get cancer before their 75th birthday. The cancer treatments available are constantly improving but are also increasingly expensive. How can we ensure all patients have access to expensive yet potentially life-saving medication? How can we make sure that these medicines remain affordable for the community? And how can we simultaneously also offer incentives to pharmaceutical companies for innovation? Vlerick researchers have formulated a number of recommendations to achieve these seemingly conflicting objectives in healthcare. The paper was supported by the Belgian Society of Medical Oncology, the Belgian Haematological Society and the College of Oncology.

- The energy market: many shades of grey The energy landscape has changed a great deal over time. Twenty years ago, almost the entire energy value chain was in the hands of a single party. Today there are several players responsible for a number of different activities: producers, transmission and distribution system operators (TSOs and DSOs) and retailers. In the framework of the DSO chair, Vlerick has studied the situation in different countries, with the support of the chair partners Alliander and Eandis. The observations were brought together and supplemented with a framework for policy makers and regulators. - The Belgian acquisitions market is booming 2015 and early 2016 were characterised by a pronounced increase in the number of transactions on the Belgian mergers and acquisitions market. Demand is exceeding supply, boosted by easy and cheap access to financing and higher amounts of resources available for investment companies. This was shown by the results of a survey of 143 Belgian merger and acquisition experts evaluating their experiences over the past year.

- Raising the bar for smart city ecosystems All over the world, smart cities are drawing a new future. Technology is the new standard that makes it possible to connect both the parts of the city and its inhabitants to one another. However, there is a need for a better framework so that we can make a distinction between projects that are merely a digital fairytale and projects that will truly redraw the future of cities. Recent research by a Vlerick team in collaboration with prime foundation partner Belfius provides a framework for managing ecosystems in smart cities through several steps: understanding, determination of scope, activation and finally management and service provision.

Š Vlerick Business School

- Entrepreneurial passion: how to keep the fire burning Theoretical and empirical studies agree that passion significantly affects the behaviour and performance of entrepreneurs. Some research suggests that this passion can change over time. However, that claim cannot be empirically substantiated. Furthermore, researchers have as yet paid little attention to the factors that influence entrepreneurial passion. RResearch by a Vlerick team under the leadership of professor Veroniek Collewaert has filled some of the gaps.

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Vlerick Business School Campus Gent: Reep 1 - B-9000 Gent Tel.: +32 9 210 97 11 Fax: +32 9 210 97 00 Campus Leuven: Vlamingenstraat 83 - 3000 Leuven Tel.: +32 16 24 88 11 - Fax: +32 16 24 88 00 Campus Brussel: Bolwerklaan 21 - 1210 Brussel Tel.: +32 2 225 41 11 - Fax: +32 2 225 41 00 Email: info@vlerick.com - http://www.vlerick.com


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Š Wouter Van Vaerenbergh

Š Howest


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© Howest

Howest: practical research with social value In the area of research and community service Howest has built a solid reputation in practical scientific research, social services and continuing education. This translates into Flemish, federal, European and international projects in applied research, on demand and for companies and social profit organizations from home and abroad.

Geoffrey Hamon, research manager DAE

Examples of successful research at Howest:

© Howest

- Research Group Digital Arts & Entertainment The applied research group of Digital Arts & Entertainment – Howest supports organisations in their innovation process to search and define added value game technology might bring to their domain with a strong focus outside the pure entertainment. Typical projects are on: the use of games as an educational tool, interactive visualisation for communication, 3D pipeline workflow automatisation. For each project DAE-Research sets up a multidisciplinary team, connecting multiple academic programs and transferring knowledge into proofs of concept to empower organisations enabling them to make informed decisions concerning their innovation path.

Augmented and virtual reality

used both for innovations in sport, movement and health and collaborative learning within Howest.

Currently there is a massive interest on the application of VR and AR in a multitude of sectors. Anticipating trends, DAEResearch has set up a VR/AR lab to work on this topic with groups or organisations. In this Howest-lab, technology leaders in machine & mechatronics are defining use cases throughout the different phases of their value chain: R&D, sales, production, installation and operationalisation. Howest supports these technology leaders by connecting them to game and software development companies, researchers and students and setting up well defined projects on these topics. Other sectors are joining in which leads to cross pollination resulting in atypical fresh ideas to be used in different environments. As always, Howest does this in a very practical, tangible way, with a focus on actual implementation of the project results. www.digitalartsandentertainment.com Contact: Geoffrey Hamon geoffrey.hamon@howest.be research manager DAE

More specific, within a demand-driven framework a product or service can be developed from scratch, can be optimized or demonstrated in close collaboration with students or project staff. In addition, a new product or service can be thoroughly tested by different target groups within the sports hall community. During the test period, users are being professionally coached and supervised by experts who are at the cuttingedge of sports trends and innovations, in order to maximize the output of these processes. Partnerships with start-ups and SMEs active within the field of exergaming, product development, communication, system integration, tracking and projection technology have been established and Howest students are already applying and extending their knowledge while working on these innovatory projects. The Living Lab Sports, Movement and Health is open towards collaborations with all types of field partners willing to work on sports and health innovation (companies, organizations, sports federations, sports clubs…). www.sportenbewegen.be/sportinnovatiecampus Contact: Eefje Battel Eefje.Battel@howest.be Project Manager Living Lab Sport

- The Living Lab Sport, Movement and Health The Living Lab Sports, Movement and Health is a testing ground for innovation, applied research and development within the sports, movement and health sector. The Living Lab Sports, Movement and Health within Howest aims to test, develop and demonstrate new innovative products and services focused on encouraging target groups and participants to exercise more. The tracks for testing, developing and demonstrating are being built from a new and unique accommodation – The Sports Innovation Campus – situated in Bruges and are followed up by a multidisciplinary team of experts from various research groups within Howest University (Sports & Movement, Digital Arts & Entertainment, Applied Computer Sciences, New Media and Communication Technology, Applied Psychology,…). The Sports Innovation Campus offers adaptive technology (projection systems, motion detection cameras, tracking systems…) which can be

HOWEST University of Applied Sciences Marksesteenweg, 58 - B-8500 Kortrijk Tel.: +32 (0)56 24 12 90 Email: info@howest.be - http://www.howest.be 57


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VOKA promotes, supports and creates collaboration between business and academic research institutes An interview with Mr Hans MAERTENS, Managing Director of VOKA Voka, Flanders' Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is the most representative employers' organization in Flanders. It represents over 18.000 companies in Flanders and Brussels. Voka represents more than 65% of private employment and of total added value created in Flanders. Voka’s aim is to create an ideal business environment for successful entrepreneurship and hence to fundamentally contribute to the wealth creation in Flanders.

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hat according to VOKA is the importance of basic research for Flemish industry? Flanders, rightly so, invests considerably in basic research. Pioneering basic research contributes to our understanding of the world and often also leads to the discovery of new technologies which over time may be used in new and innovative applications. However, as the results of this type of research are difficult to predict, the risks and financial costs involved are high, the private sector is less inclined to invest heavily in uncertain, explorative research. Basic research is therefore, to a large extent, funded with public money and carried out by universities and other public research centers with very specific scientific expertise. Š VOKA

By sharing their newly developed knowledge, research institutes can provide a breeding ground in which application-based and demand-driven industrial R&D can grow. At the same time, research institutes play a central role in training new young skilled researchers. Building on this strong scientific knowledge base, innovative activities can flourish leading to the creation of economic growth and added value. This value-based conversion of new scientific views into truly new products, services or production processes is exactly what creative entrepreneurs and futureoriented companies are looking for. On the other hand, by sharing their market insights, private companies can ensure that research activities at research institutes are keeping up with reality and actual developments in the economy and society. Nonetheless, the path to the market often remains very long. And in most cases significant additional corporate R&D investments are required to turn scientific findings into real new innovative applications.

Hans Maertens (left), managing director of Voka, meets Chinese ambassador Qu Xing at the Voka Headquarter.

various stakeholders in Flanders acknowledge this challenge and, therefore, made it a central point of attention in the ViA 2020-Flanders in Action Plan. More structural interaction between knowledge institutes and companies, smoother knowledge diffusion based on more intense networking and partnerships and improved absorption of scientific insights and know-how by companies have been put forward as focal actions. In spite of the fact that a very significant part of the R&D activities performed at Flemish research institutes is funded by private companies, the gap between industry on the one hand and academic research institutes on the other hand remains very wide. The research community is not very familiar with the customs and habits in a corporate environment. And vice versa. Companies are not fully aware of the added value universities and research centers can offer them. Moreover, entrepreneurs often do not even know the research institutes, their researchers and their research. Private companies and research institutes also differ with regard to their research ambitions. Whereas researchers in the academic community are interested mainly in explorative blue sky research inherently with a long term horizon, corporate R&D is more oriented towards actual market needs and new product

Do Flemish companies make sufficient use of the knowledge and experience provided by scientific research institutes? Generally speaking, Flanders is lagging somewhat behind in terms of converting academic R&D insights into newly commercial products and services (i.e. closing the so-called innovation gap). One of the reasons behind this phenomenon, can be found in the poor collaboration between scientific or technological stakeholders and their industrial and commercial counterparts. Studies show that small-sized entreprises in particular collaborate very little with research institutions. The

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developments. Another driving force in hindering collaboration, relates to the challenging financing of their collective or mutual R&D projects. Finally, severe concerns relating to intellectual property rights can also obstruct cooperation.

© VOKA

Nevertheless, by closing the gap, a double win can be realized. Firstly, our entrepreneurs become aware of the valuable insights and inputs research institutes offer. They may discover potentially new commercial opportunities in this way. Secondly, more intense relationships between researchers and entrepreneurs can contribute to the promotion of more business-minded skills in the academic world. If, in addition, research institutes become themselves more active in looking for commercial opportunities for their themselves or potential business partners, a lever can be activated to effectively boost the socio-economic return on the Flemish public R&D spending.

Starting entrepreneurs discuss their plans on the Voka “Bryo”-meeting (“Bright and young”).

How can the links between companies and scientific research institutes be stimulated? Evidently, obstacles that obstruct the effective development of a culture of collaboration need to be abolished. Levers that can boost collaboration initiatives need to be initiated and intensely supported. Over the last years, multiple initiatives have been launched on different policy levels and in different environments to stimulate the collaboration between companies and research institutes in Flanders. Over the last decades, the Flemish Government implemented several tools aimed explicitly at promoting collaboration between stakeholders. The IWT, which is the Flemish public agency for innovation, for instance provides financial support to companies eager to collaborate as a group with one or more research institutions.

research carried out at Flemish research institutes. Furthermore, the successful technology cluster of Flemish life sciences and biotechnology companies, has its roots in explorative basic research at the VIB university research groups. The last few years, several intense collaborative research initiatives are popping up in Flanders. In this cluster-like initiatives R&D partners from industry and academia join forces to promote technological advancements in their field and lay the foundations of new innovative commercial developments. Examples exist in the field of nanoelectronics, where imec is a word-leading research center, on the discovery and application of new materials research with the Strategic Initiative Materials (SIM), in the field of sustainable chemistry with the FISCH initiative or with Flanders MAKE, the joint research center for the manufacturing industry. Other, smaller scale initiatives have resulted in the development of various new applications in the materials industry (smart coatings, smart textiles, new composites, advanced photovoltaic cells) and the electronics sector (intelligent sensors for health, automotive or telecom applications).

© VOKA

LMS International (now part of Siemens), ICOS Vision Systems (acquired by KLA Tencor), Devgen (acquired by Syngenta), Thrombogenics, Tigenix, for instance, are all very successful spin-offs of the Flemish universities. Founded based on pioneering scientific research, they all succeeded in converting their findings into world leading innovative commercial products. Also Bryo start-up companies Gatewing and BeMobile emerged from a successful conversion of technological

Business leaders at the Voka New Year's Event

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And VOKA does not want to stand by idle either. For years, VOKA has played a stimulating role in this in bringing academic and corporate partners together. By setting up a number of spearhead initiatives in which partners from business and academia are encouraged to exchange ideas and work together, we want to actively support the development of new v-business ventures, products, processes, or business models in these fields. The Voka Bryo project, for instance, actively supports young entrepreneurs with high potential during the first years of their start-up and development phase. Currently two intense collaborative industry-academic platforms are up and running. Smart Grids Flanders, around smart energy networks, and the VOKA Health Community, which focuses on innovative healthcare applications, are bringing experts and partners from both worlds together precisely with the aim of creating new joint entrepreneurial projects. The feasibility of more similar initiatives is currently under investigation.


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Top research in a number of clear-cut domains An interview with Dr Luc DE SCHEPPER, Rector of the University of Hasselt (UHasselt)

© UHasselt

These domains (new materials, Visual Computing and Human Computer Interaction, life sciences, environmental technologies, biostatistics, traffic safety and mobility, open innovation and small business) are organized in seven research institutes which all cover the entire research spectrum: from fundamental to applied research and, finally, to valorization by means of patents and spin-offs.

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hat are UHasselt’s key figures? Hasselt University (Dutch: Universiteit Hasselt, UHasselt) is home to 6,395 students (2016), 549 PhD students (2016) and 1,296 academic, administrative and technical staff (2016). The university, with 2 campuses in Diepenbeek and Hasselt, has six faculties (Law, Sciences, Business Economics, Medicine & Life Sciences, Architecture & Arts and Engineering Technology), one School (Transportation Sciences) and six research institutes. 13% of the WoS publications of UHasselt - compared to other publications in the same field and in the same year - belong to the top 10% most frequently cited. Revenues from fundamental and applied research amount to 25,7 million euros (2015).

An interdisciplinary approach, on many different levels, is a common theme through all those research activities. Three examples come to mind (but they are by no means the only ones): • Within the Institute for Materials Research (IMO) physicists, chemists, engineers and biomedical researchers, amongst others, are working side by side on the development and characterization of new material systems with potential use in microelectronics, bioelectronics and nanotechnology. • The Centre for Environmental Sciences (CMK) – combines the expertise of biologists, medical experts, chemists, economists and jurists in unraveling the underlying mechanism of environmental problems (from heavy metals to fine dust or how toxic materials endanger human, animal, plant and fungus cells). • Researchers from the Expertise Centre for Digital Media (EDM) and the Rehabilitation Sciences & Physiotherapy research group – which is part of our Biomedical Research Institute BIOMED – conceptualized a prototype of virtual learning environment (called I-Travle, or “Individualized Technology and Robot-Assisted Virtual Learning Environment”) for patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Coaching doctoral students also plays an important part in UHasselt’s research policy. Within the framework of the Doctoral Schools, these young researchers are offered a wide range of opportunities – workshops, lectures, interviews… – to develop and enhance different skills (from research, presentation, communication and language skills to time management skills).

© UHasselt

What are UHasselt’s main strengths as regards to research? Could you give us a few examples of ongoing research projects? Hasselt University was officially established in 1971, but it was not until 1993 that we actually received government funding for research activities. In order to use the expertise within our institution and the financial resources to the greatest extent possible, UHasselt chose to pursue a spearhead policy, directed at top research in a number of clear-cut domains.

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© UHasselt

© UHasselt

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what we are doing when it comes to research, innovation and technologies. Traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television provide a good forum in that respect.

It is our strong conviction that this policy does not only help young researchers in making the transition to successful careers inside and outside the world of academia. It also benefits the quality of scientific research at Hasselt University itself. Furthermore: we believe that contributing to the societal and economic development of our region starts by training promising researchers. It is by this pool of talent that companies are drawn to the region; and it is from this pool of talent that new ideas are spread. BIOMED provides a good example. The institute has played – and is playing – an important role as motor of the biomedical life sciences cluster in Limburg. Its scientists collaborate with the local health sector and, through their research, actively participate in the LifeTechLimburg platform which aims at starting-up and attracting new businesses.

What research partnerships have you developed at European and international level? Taking part in worldwide research framework programmes is one of our key policy priorities. It is through this kind of international cooperation that our researchers’ mobility increases and that scientific excellence is fostered. Only recently, Hasselt University’s Biomedical Research Institute (BIOMED) was awarded a research grant by the International Progressive MS Alliance for clinical trials and outcome measures. The Alliance’s goal is to remove barriers to develop treatments for progressive MS. Hasselt University is the only Belgian university to be awarded a grant.

How do you promote research results at UHasselt? First of all: it is our ambition to increase our visibility in the Q1 journals. We are proud to say that UHasselt researchers regularly succeed in meeting those ambitions. Secondly: since we are strongly committed to the further development of the wider region, we feel it is necessary to communicate to and interact with people in the field – doctors, businessmen… – through the publication of research results in specialist journals and magazines. Thirdly: this same commitment also means informing society as a whole – the wider public – about

We also take great value in “science sharing”. At Hasselt University, we believe that research policy should not only be aimed at the enhancement of our position on the Flemish and European research market. It is also vital to strive for global openness. Our Center of Statistics (CenStat), for example, cooperates with universities, institutions and companies across the globe. It has projects in Brazil, Cuba, Mozambique and South Africa.

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UHasselt

© UHasselt

Expertise centre for Digital Media: looking for applications in business and society

Prof. dr. Mieke Haesen, business developer at EDM

“The Expertise centre for Digital Media (EDM) conducts research into information and communications technology and takes into account possible research applications in business or society. EDM has about 50 employees who are active in both applied and fundamental research,” says director Frank Van Reeth, vice-director Kris Luyten and business developer Mieke Haesen. “EDM has resulted in 8 spin-offs in fields such as interactive digital television, streaming, video analysis, health and multi-camera systems. EDM was one of the founding partners of iMinds, which recently merged with imec. In terms of content, EDM concentrates on three spearhead fields: of Korea), PS-Tech BV (the Netherlands), Philips (the Netherlands), Prodrive (the Netherlands), Sec-control Innovation (Finland), Siveco Romania S.A. (Romania), Swissray Asia (Taiwan), Target Holding (the Netherlands), University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Xavix Co. Ltd (Republic of Korea), imec (former iMinds) (Belgium). - Term: July 2015 – June 2018. - URL: https://itea3.org/project/3dpathology.html

Visual Computing “Over the past few years, ‘Visual Computing’ has chiefly conducted research into image- and video-based computer graphics. We study how recorded scenes, e.g. recorded with multi-camera systems can be efficiently presented and processed to display new images.” Networked and Secure Systems

• COnCEPT - Abstract: The COnCEPT project focuses on tools and processes for professional distributed design teams to collaborate more efficiently, both within the team as well as with their clients. - Project Type: EU (FP7). - Partners: Intrasoft (Luxembourg), Atos (Spain), Virtualware group (Spain), Konnect-able (Ireland), Designlab (Greece), Global Security Intelligence (United Kingdom), VTT (Finland), Eindhoven University of Technology (the Netherlands), Hasselt University (Belgium), Norwich University of the Arts (United Kingdom), Robert Gordon University (United Kingdom). - Term: October 2013 – September 2016. - URL: http://www.concept-fp7.eu/

“Networked and Secure Systems conducts research into how information is efficiently and safely obtained, processed and transported. This information can be obtained for instance with sensors, new image capturing methods or via interactions by and with the user.” Human-computer interaction “Both researchers with a technical background in ICT, psychology and design are active in ‘Human-computer Interaction’ research. They study how innovative interaction techniques can be introduced in support of the use of certain technology. An example of this is the efficient provision of interactive interfaces for various areas of application such as health, the creative industry and the manufacturing industry.”

• ICoSOLE - Abstract: ICoSOLE aims at developing a platform that enables users to experience live events which are spatially spread out,

Here is a selection of recent European EDM research projects:

© UHasselt

• 3D Pathology - Abstract: Developing 3D Digital Pathology with Spectroscopy. A strong growth forecast in the digital pathology market for the next five years combined with a decreasing number of qualified pathologists will lead to a tremendous increase in workload in the pathology departments of clinical and pharmaceutical organisations. On top of this there is an urgent need for higher quality diagnostic information enabling more effective and efficient treatments. The 3DPathology project will address these needs by creating a fast, digital, quantitative, spectroscopic and multimodal 3D pathology analysis system. - Project Type: ITEA 3. - Partners: Academia Sinica (Taiwan), Altfactor (Romania), Barco (Belgium), Bio Material Analysis Technology, Inc. (Taiwan), Eindhoven University of Technology (the Netherlands), Maastricht University (the Netherlands), POSTECH (Republic

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(Portugal), Kaukomarkkinat (Finland), Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania), Laurea University of Applied Sciences (Finland), Lille 1 University (France), Lingsoft (Finland), Maidis (France), Noldus Information Technology BV (the Netherlands), Softkinetic Software (Belgium), Spikes n.v. (Belgium), TP Vision Belgium NV (Belgium), UAB Fazer Lietuva (Lithuania), UAB Ruta (Lithuania), Universidade Aberta (Portugal), Université de Lorraine (France), VRT (Belgium), VTT (Finland), Valve (Finland), VicarVision (the Netherlands). - Term: July 2012 – June 2015. - URL: https://itea3.org/project/empathic.html

such as festivals (e.g. Gentse feesten in Belgium, Glastonbury in the UK), parades, marathons or bike races, in an immersive way by combining high-quality spatial video and audio and user-generated content. - Project Type: EU (FP 7). - Partners: Joanneum research (Austria), Deutsche Thomson OHG (Germany), Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie NV (Belgium), imec (former iMinds, Belgium), bitmovin GmbH, British Broadcasting Company (BBC, United Kingdom), Tools at Work Hard+Softw Vertriebsgmbh (Austria). - Term: October 2013 – September 2016. - URL: http://icosole.eu/

• Dreamspace - Abstract: Project DREAMSPACE researches and develops tools that enable creative professionals to work collaboratively and combine live performances, video and computer-generated imagery in real time. - Project type: EU (FP7). - Partners: The Foundry (United Kingdom), Ncam (United Kingdom), Filmakademie Baden-Wurtemberg GmbH (Germany), Universitaet des Saarlandes (Germany), Creative Workers – CREW (Belgium), imec (former iMinds, Belgium), Stargate Studios (Germany). - Term: October 2013 – September 2016. - URL: http://www.dreamspaceproject.eu/

© UHasselt

• Empathic - Abstract: Empathic is an ITEA project that aims to improve the user experience of interactive systems by applying affective computing technologies so as to understand and respond better to user intentions and emotions. - Project Type: ITEA 2. - Partners: Alcatel Lucent (Belgium), CityPassenger (France), Comland d.NCO (Slovenia), Delicode (Finland), Fundacion Tecnalia Research&Innovation (Spain), Hasselt University (Belgium), Huittisten Sanomalehti Oy (Finland), Inabensa (Spain), Institut Mines-Telecom (France), Instituto Ibermatica de Innovation – I3B (Spain), Instituto Superior Miguel Torga

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UHasselt Architecture and Arts Faculty: social relevance as the recurrent theme “In October 2013 UHasselt welcomed a new ‘member of the family’: the Faculty of Architecture and Arts. Up until a couple of years ago, architecture and interior architecture courses in Flanders were organised by 'hogescholen' or Colleges of non-university higher education, but now they are part of the university offer,” explains Rob Cuyvers, dean of the Architecture and Arts Faculty.” occupants, building owners etc. – in an innovative way for better control and optimisation of the spatial transformation processes.” FRAME “In FRAME, artistic research is carried out into imaging in relationship to architecture. It is a search for new ways to develop and shape knowledge in architecture.”

© UHasselt

Designing for More “In Designing for More we focus on how users deal with space. There are three specific themes: Retail Design aims at the perception of commercial areas. Universal Design focuses on inclusive design with attention for every user (children, elderly people etc.). Not only is there collaboration with designers and users but also with ergotherapists and other stakeholders. Design for happiness studies how environments can make people happier and tries to integrate scientific insights regarding happiness in the design process.”

Prof. ir. Rob Cuyvers, Dean of Architecture and Arts Faculty, Chairman of the Department Council ARK

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ver the past few years we have been preparing this integration in detail, among others by setting up a research programme and defining a number of spearheads around which we want to work. The establishment of the faculty was a major step forward in terms of the resources and opportunities for research. It made us the first university in Flanders with a doctorate in architecture and we landed various IWT projects. Today we are talking about 30 or so doctorates in the faculty and 15 doctoral students have already promoted.”

Adaptive reuse/Heritage “Adaptive reuse investigates how buildings – churches, monasteries, offices, etc. – can be given a new meaningful use starting out from the meaning of the building. Increasingly this concerns studies into specific design applications within social service provision assignments.”

Five spearheads in research In the Architecture and Arts Faculty, about 70 employees - researchers, designers and professors carry out fundamental and applied research on 'the built-up area', from interior to city. The research is broken down into five spearheads. Sustainability “The sustainability research line focuses on two main themes/social challenges: energy management and the sustainable use of materials. In cooperation with various partners, we are not only looking for ways to make individual houses sustainable but are also targeting complete residential areas. Our unique approach always departs from the design side: after all, the architect has to complete the design.”

“In Spatial Capacity Building we try to increase the knowledge of the stakeholders – directors, users,

© UHasselt

Spatial Capacity Building

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UHasselt Center for Statistics: statistical models and methods for clinical studies, epidemiological studies and bioinformatics experiments “The Center for Statistics (CenStat) offers both education, research and services within the fields of mathematical statistics, biostatistics, epidemiology and public health and bioinformatics. Scientists develop and study statistical models and methods, both from a theoretical and a practical view. The demand for new statistical models often comes from a methodological complexity or new trends industrial or other partners face when collecting, integrating and analysing data. As a result of this, innovative statistics cannot be dissociated from innovation in the pharmaceutical, health and food sector” say Marc Aerts, director of CenStat, Geert Molenberghs, director of I-BioStat, Liesbeth Bruckers, services coordinator and Sarah Vercruysse, academic and industrial research manager.

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enStat seeks a symbiosis between theoretical statistical methods and their application to practical problems faced by industry, the government and the academic world. CenStat works with the L-Biostat, the KU Leuven Biostatistics and statistical Bioinformatics Centre, within the Interuniversity Institute for Biostatistics and statistical Bioinformatics (I-BioStat). CenStat also has a structural collaboration with the University of Antwerp, is a partner of the (pharmaceutical) industry and has a broad international network of partners for collaboration in the field of education, research, services and capacity building in the context of development cooperation in the South.”

Complexity

to map the spread of transferable diseases such as flu, whooping cough, HIV, HCV and Ebola. This allows us to determine for instance which population groups require an intervention such as a vaccination or isolation.

Master of Statistics (on campus and by distance learning)

© UHasselt

Dr Sarah Vercruysse, research and innovation manager at the Center for Statistics (CenStat)

Statisticians are trained by CenStat professors and postdocs during a two-year master program. The training ends with a master's thesis on a research topic presented by companies, research and governmental institutions. The master thesis is often a catalyst for further collaboration between all parties involved. There is a huge demand for well-trained statisticians in Belgium and abroad.

“The research projects concern technical aspects such as methods for incomplete and high dimensional data. Examples include early medical trials in cooperation with Janssen Pharmaceutica concerning the integration and analysis of high-dimensional datatypes (e.g. gene-expression, fingerprint features and bioassay data) as well as the development of statistical software. Other research concerns themes such as antibiotics consumption and resistance, risk assessment, food safety etc. Often we have to deal with complexities that are not yet taken into account optimally by the available statistical methodology and software.”

© UHasselt

© UHasselt

“In infectious diseases modelling, we jointly model a number of different data sources (e.g. social contact data and blood tests)

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UHasselt Campus Hasselt Martelarenlaan 42 - B-3500 Hasselt Campus Diepenbeek Agoralaan building D - B-3590 Diepenbeek Tel.: + 32 (0)11 26 81 11 Email: info@uhasselt.be - http://www.uhasselt.be


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JABIL HASSELT: Where passion meets performances As high-tech partner for product design, value engineering, product verification and fast prototyping for electronic products, Jabil Hasselt provides a one-stop-shop solution to diverse industries such as consumer, industrial, automotive and medical. Š Jabil Hasselt

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ith more than 30 years of experience, Jabil Hasselt offers its customers best-in-class services for even the most complex projects, with a strong focus on lowest cost, high quality and fast market introduction.

certifications: ISO 9001, ISO 13485, ISO 17025, and PMP/PMI certified project managers. Our SW processes are in compliancy with CMMI Level 3, Automotive Spice, medical SW ISO 62304 and automotive functional safety ISO-26262.

Professional project management is a key factor for success. All our projects are mastered by experienced and well trained project managers. State of the art toolset is used for resource and project management which allows project traceability and follow-up. Jabil uses a standard product design process (PDP) that will be tailored - case by case - to meet your specific requirements and needs.

As a top ranked worldwide EMS Company we can bring purchasing and manufacturing leverage for the industrialization to your product. Through our connected global supply chain systems gathering more than 50 facilities in 20 countries, we attain world-class pricing, supply flexibility and reduced inventory risk. We also make the most of technology trends to maximize the impact of working capital.

Our solutions include design services (system architectures, hardware design, software design), Value Add/Value Engineering (VAVE) services, PCB design including world class design for manufacturing, fast prototyping, and product verification, tailored to customer needs. With strong capabilities in RF wireless, A/V systems, embedded systems/controllers and functional safety, Jabil Hasselt develops, validates and manufactures products for consumer, automotive, industrial and medical markets.

Š Jabil Hasselt

Š Jabil Hasselt

We believe that quality is paramount and therefore translate this into our daily activities, from excellent process quality in realizing prototypes to product realizations with lowest field call rate. This quality mindset can be recognized by the available

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Jabil Circuit Belgium N.V. - Hasselt Research & Design Center Kempische Steenweg, 297 - B-3500 Hasselt Tel.: +32 (0)11 302 422 - Fax: +32 (0)11 302 594 Email: salesbelgium@jabil.com - http://www.jabil.com


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Jabil Circuit Belgium, located in Hasselt, is offering design services, E-CAD, fast-prototyping, test development and an extensive Product Verification/Validation Service. The Product Validation Lab is offering a service of compliance testing of products during Design Cycle and from the Field, on specifications, performance, environmental, and reliability, covering our own designs, as well as third parties designs. Besides test execution we support our customers with the defining of test plans and verification strategies. We offer the following services: • Reliability testing • Reliability analysis • Accelerated lifetime testing • MTBF proven , checks and calculating. • Safety and approbation support • Environmental compliancy checks • SW testing (Beta-tests, black box testing) • EMC debugging and pre-certification • Consulting (reliability,EMC,Regulatory)

Jabil Circuit Belgium N.V. Industriezone Noord 1000/1920 Kempische Steenweg 297 3500 Hasselt Belgium Contact: Vital Driesen Buss.Dev.Mgr. +32-479 479- 461

To be able to provide top range Verification services, the Lab has a broad range of test facilities available, such as: • Climatic / Environmental chambers • Optical measurement room for luminance, chrominance and Uniformity incl. human perception ! • Temperature profile measurements • Electro-dynamic shakers (with climate chamber) • EMC-room • EMI and ESD testers • Water and dust ingress tests chambers • Wearing tests, Hand abrasion, Abrasive parts. Reliability & Acceleration test models • to focus on Increasing reliability levels of products • Cost efficient • Service cost reduction • Innovation/collaboration with know-how centers.

Pre-compliance, Compliance and Certification testing E-Mark (Automotive) IEC-60601 (Medical) IEC-61508 (Industrial / SIL)

IEC-61010 (Instrumentation) IEC-60950 (IT-E) IEC-60065 (Consumer)

The Lab’s constant drive to deliver reliable and high quality services in testing is reflected in its ISO17025 Accreditation.


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Paving the way for all technology-inspired companies in Flanders An interview with Mr Wilson DE PRIL, Managing Director of Agoria Vlaanderen What are the main themes Agoria Vlaanderen is focusing on? The main themes we are focussing on are competitiveness, innovation, talent, energy and environment and digitization.

© Agoria Vlaanderen

Could you present to us the 10 priorities that have been defined for Flanders? These priorities are listed below: 1. Enhance the competitiveness through lower costs. 2. Support the transformation of the manufacturing industry. 3. Additional public investments in innovation with a focus on industrial research. 4. More STEM graduates to fuel the business innovation efforts. 5. Keep the master degree ‘industrial engineer’ on 4 years. 6. Foster international business development, with more effort towards the emerging countries. 7. An energy and climate transition that is affordable and beneficial to the local industry. 8. Less gold plating in environmental policy. 9. An ambitious digital agenda for Flanders. 10. Industry organizations such as Agoria Vlaanderen should be official partners in the social dialogue.

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ould you remind us the mission of Agoria Vlaanderen? The mission of Agoria Vlaanderen is to pave the way for all technology-inspired companies in Flanders and facilitate business development, mainly by creating a business friendly environment and by providing expertise.

What actions do you undertake in order to promote these priorities? We lobby with the governments and administrations, we support our member companies with expertise and we facilitate their business developments efforts. Where needed we set up partnerships with other business organizations, with knowledge institutions or with education institutions. Sometimes we use public private partnerships to achieve our goals.

© Agoria Vlaanderen

© Agoria Vlaanderen

What are the key figures of Flemish technology industry? The Flemish technology industry is, with €1,867 million in R&D expenditure and 17,796 employees, the biggest R&D investor in Flanders (47% of total companies’s expenditure and 53% of total companies’s R&D personnel). The technological industry realizes an annual sales figure of €79,3 billion, which represents a value added created of €20 billion (that is 9,6% of Flemish GDP), and employs - directly - 190.000 persons (8,7% of Flemish employment). The total investment in equipment & infrastructure reaches €1,64 billion.

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WOOD.BE The leading knowledge centre for the woodworking and furniture industry WOOD.BE is the knowledge centre for the woodworking and furniture industry. The focus is on providing maximum support to the companies in this industry in their efforts to realise an innovative and sustainable future. General Manager Chris De Roock gives an overview of the services at WOOD.BE.

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an you briefly describe the organisation of WOOD.BE? “WOOD.BE is the new name for the Belgian Institute for Wood Technology, a recognised De Groote Centre, founded in 1947. In early 2015 the innovation platform Optimo was integrated into the centre. As a result WOOD.BE is able to deal with both technological and non-technological aspects of innovation. We rely on 26 – mainly highly skilled – members of staff. These include civil engineers as well as industrial engineers, masters in product development, bio-engineers with knowledge of the material wood and a number of bachelor level graduates for mechanical and chemical testing.” © Wouter Van Vaerenbergh

Which companies are affiliated to WOOD.BE? “This involves approximately 2,200 production companies from the Belgian woodworking and furniture industry, both SMEs and large enterprises. The impact of the woodworking and furniture industry is often underestimated: the Belgian woodworking and furniture industry actually employs no fewer than 18,740 people. WOOD.BE is active in all Belgian regions and across the national borders. We are open to cooperation with other organisations, enterprises and knowledge centres within the value chains associated with the woodworking and furniture industry.”

• Innovation: WOOD.BE advises, supports and guides its members in innovation of products, processes, services and business models. • Laboratory: WOOD.BE has a well-equipped mechanical and chemical laboratory available for conducting tests.

How is WOOD.BE organised? “We provide a comprehensive range of services divided into six departments: • Research and technology: WOOD.BE performs both collective and individual technological research and helps enterprises to solve technological problems.

• Certification: this includes CE marking of construction products, ISPM 15 for wooden packaging, sustainable forest management and procurement according to FSC and PEFC, etc. • Safety: WOOD.BE offers practical advice with regard to safety. • Standardisation: as sectoral operator WOOD.BE closely monitors the evolution of the most important standards for the wood and furniture industry.”

© Wouter Van Vaerenbergh

How does WOOD.BE communicate with its members? “The website is an important communication tool for us. We are currently working on a completely new website. Members also receive an electronic newsletter. Finally WOOD.BE regularly organises events for its members and other interested companies and organisations.”

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WOOD.BE Hof ter Vleestdreef 3 B-1070 Brussel Tel.: +32 (0)2 558 15 50 Email: info@wood.be http://www.wood.be


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Skyline Communications focuses on technological leadership Skyline Communications – based in Izegem – is the global market leader in multi-vendor network management for the telecommunications, satellite, IPTV and broadcast industry. Over the last ten years, Skyline Communications had a consistent growth of 25% per year. “With our end-to-end management system DataMiner - we offer a software solution to monitor, manage, optimise and control telecommunications networks and all devices connected with them,” explains Frederik Vandenberghe, Chief Financial Officer at Skyline Communications.

D

© Skyline Communications

ataMiner 9.5 stands out from every other platform in the sector, our product is state-of-the-art and unique in the world. It includes a unique distributed architecture that makes DataMiner one of the most versatile and robust NMS platforms. This 'open architecture' multi-vendor protocol engine is integrated with over 4,500 products and systems from more than 500 different manufacturers. DataMiner is currently used by leading operators around the world, and provides the complete management of some of the most prestigious broadcast and telecommunications infrastructures across all vendor and technology boundaries.”

Research, innovation and development “Telecom and satellite networks are subject to rapid technological development. The technology is becoming increasingly more complex and end customers are increasingly demanding. The recent developments in connectivity and digital media have sharply increased demand for ultra-performance and reliable telecom networks worldwide. To preserve the state-of-the-art technological lead, we continuously focus on research, innovation and development. We have several research teams who work on a mathematical level but also in the field of software development. We also work with higher education institutions. In recent years the team has grown strongly with specialised telecommunications, broadcast and ICT engineers from around the world. Last year we hired about

Bert, Frederik and Ben Vandenberghe, Skyline Senior Executive Staff

70 engineers and they all receive extensive training to become specialists in their field of knowledge.”

Network management

© Skyline Communications

“We carry out internal fundamental research into more intelligent software – able to make its own decisions – and more efficient processing and analysis of large amounts of data so

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that the software can perform better. For our customers, the filtering of real-time information is important in the proactive prevention of problems in their networks. Intelligent software allows a better understanding of a network's ‘behaviour’.”

Virtualization

© Skyline Communications

“Due to the onset of virtualization, it is becoming increasingly difficult for operators to gain a clear overview of their networks and infrastructure. Our software provides a solution. Furthermore, we are strongly focused on end-to-end automation of the entire work flow.”

Present in over 100 countries “Our family business now has projects running in over 100 countries. Customers include: Airbus, Al Jazeera, Deutsche Telekom, Discovery Channel, Disney, MTV, Proximus, Telenet, etc. In addition to the headquarters in Izegem we also have offices in Moscow, London, New York, Miami and Bogota. In this way our services and support are within easy reach of our customers around the world.”

Awards

© Skyline Communications

© Skyline Communications

“Skyline Communications was nominated for both the Technology Fast50 2014 and Top 50 Belgian Entrepreneurs 2013, and has won prestigious awards such as Export Lion 2012 and Most Promising Enterprise 2011. This year, we were mentioned for the third consecutive time in the Deloitte Technology Fast50. Currently we are working on the expansion of our headquarters which will provide muchneeded additional space and an enhanced appearance,” concludes Frederik Vandenberghe.

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Skyline Communications Ambachtenstraat 33 - B-8870 Izegem Tel.: +32 (0)51 31 35 69 Email: info@skyline.be http://www.skyline.be


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Weiss Technik Top quality and high performance climate testing systems, furnaces and infrared systems Weiss Technik Belgium is a subsidiary of the German based company Weiss Umwelttechnik GmbH. Weiss Technik focuses on the construction, sale, installation and servicing of climate testing systems, industrial, laboratory and vacuum ovens and infrared systems. Maximum customer support is paramount in the company philosophy. eiss Technik Belgium splits its activities into four business units: W • Cabinets and walk-in chambers for reliable and easily

than 2,000 installations were delivered with a maintenance contract. All current original spare parts are delivered quickly from stock or from parent company in Germany.

reproducible climatic tests The following phenomena occurring in nature can be simulated in the climatic cabinets and chambers: heat, cold, humidity, thermal shock, corrosion, sunlight, weathering, vibration, vacuum and overpressure whether or not under extreme conditions.

Regular inspection and preventive maintenance form the basis for the long-lasting and optimum operation of your equipment. Trained technicians, calibrated measuring equipment and comprehensive procedures guarantee maintenance to the highest quality standards. The service engineers

• Laboratory ovens, industrial and vacuum ovens, standard or custom-made The applications include heating, drying, tempering and sterilising. ATEX ovens, microwave ovens, vacuum ovens and convection ovens (also combined with IR) are part of the range. The Weiss Technik ovens are used in many sectors such as automotive, chemical industry, life sciences, electronics, wood, plastics, glass, textiles, metal, construction and agriculture.

© Weiss Technik Belgium

• Infrared heating technology This technology is used in many industrial sectors for a wide range of applications such as drying prints, curing of powder coating, laminating film, embossing of foil etc. It is possible to simplify and speed up many production processes using infrared modules or systems thanks to the compact highefficiency installations of Weiss Technik Belgium. • Maintenance, rapid interventions, calibration, etc. You remain operational thanks to the Service Team. The Service Team provides a perfect after-sales service. More

© Weiss Technik Belgium

© Weiss Technik Belgium

Saltspray cabinet SC-KWT-1000

Service intervention

Blended infrared module for embossing PVC foil

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are quickly available in case of defects and have the essential spare parts available in their service vehicles.

Rental Rental of a large number of installations is also possible: salt spray test chambers, convection ovens, infrared modules, temperature cabinets, climate cabinets, stability cabinets, shock cabinets, from 50 litres to 1m³ test space. Tests can also be carried out in the workshop in Liedekerke.

Sharing expertise

© Weiss Technik Belgium

Weiss Technik is the perfect partner for all your complex or less complex issues through its extensive experience in the field of climate simulation and heating processes and international testing standards. A team of experienced product specialist and highlytrained service engineers provide professional support to customers: production companies and research laboratories in Belgium and Luxembourg. The offer includes commissioning and operator training, conversion of existing installations specifically tailored to the customer, testing with demo units and calibration with calibrated measuring equipment. Weiss Technik is happy to share its expertise with you and always offers a solution to your commercial and technical questions on climate simulation and thermal processes.

© Weiss Technik Belgium

Climatic chamber with rotation system, UV lighting and ozon system

© Weiss Technik Belgium

Plant growth chamber SGC120 PG2

Weiss Technik Belgium Nijverheidszone – Begijnenmeers 63 - B-1770 Liedekerke Tel.: +32 (0) 53 68 10 10 - Fax: +32 (0) 53 68 10 20 Email: sales@weisstechnik.be - http://www.weisstechnik.be

Drying and heating oven Heat Event

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Weiss Technik Belgium – Your partner in advanced technology

Environmental Simulation

Infrared Heating Installations

Industrial and Labo ovens

Service Maintenance Calibration Rental

Need more information ? Please, feel free to contact us on +32 (0)53 68 10 10 or sales@weisstechnik.be !


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Becetel: Technological and scientific materials testing for industry, public and private sector Becetel carries out technological and scientific research in plastics pipes and fittings for gas and water distribution as well as for applications in sanitary and industrial use. The use of high-performance plastics materials - for infrastructure projects among other things - is growing and the dimensions are constantly increasing in size.

H

igh performance specifications are required for pipe material, focused on a long operational lifetime and safe use under extreme conditions, such as pressure and temperature, aggressive environments, traffic loading, etc. Becetel has a modern laboratory with specialised equipment and testing methods for simulation of the operational life of plastics piping systems by short term testing. These piping systems shall also conform to the European and ISO standards with respect to suitability for the intended use, quality, operational lifespan, etc.

© Becetel vzw

Becetel carries out tests on different types of materials (plastics pipes, electrofusion joints, butt fusion joints, valves, …). They include, among others, the “resistance to hydrostatic pressure”, the “regression curves”, “notch test”, “tensile test”, “peel test”, “crush test”, etc. In recent years Becetel has developed various testing methods. One of these is the PANT-test (Pipe Accelerated Notch Test) which makes it possible to assess and validate new plastics materials more quickly. After international validation by means of Round Robin testing, the PANT-test shall be normalised

according to ISO-procedures. Primarily gas and water distribution companies make intensive use of this method. Becetel has more than 1,000 business clients from all around the world. As an accredited laboratory (ISO 17025), clients may count on our support for their technological projects and ask for specific advice for their application.

© Becetel vzw

Becetel is always pleased to share its knowledge. Becetel annually organises an “International Plastic Pipes Conference & Exhibition”. This symposium is intended for contractors, gas and water distribution companies, telecommunications companies, industry, the public sector, various utility companies as well as producers of raw materials, pipes and fittings.

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Becetel® vzw Gontrode Heirweg 130 - B-9090 Melle Tel.: +32 (0)9 272 50 70 Fax: +32 (0)9 272 50 72 Email: philippe.vanspeybroeck@becetel.be http://www.becetel.be


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Becetel® is a totally independent ISO 17025 certified laboratory, capable to carry out a wide range of tests on plastics. With a focus on plastic piping and its accessories. Becetel® is a recognized laboratory for many inspection and certification bodies, like BCCA (Benor), Copro, Certigaz (NF136), DVGW, DIN-Certco,… Becetel® is also active in several normalization commissions and works as a subcontractor for other laboratories and institutes. Becetel® has the expertise necessary to respond to customer inquiries quickly and flexible. The company is run by Prof. Ir. Philippe Vanspeybroeck, a world authority in the field of fracture analysis and material properties.


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Wallonia: a land of innovation

© Studio THD - Photographer Thierry Dosogne

© Wallonie Design

© CRECIT


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Promoting research and development in the field of e-Health An interview with Mr Maxime PREVOT, Vice-President of the Walloon Government, Minister of Public Works, Health, Social Welfare and Heritage component via a GP - nurse partnership. In this way, primary care will be able to be more effective. It will also be an added incentive for doctors wishing to work in rural areas, which are especially affected by a shortage of doctors. It also works as a complement to the IMPULSEO scheme which I decided to keep in place to encourage doctors to work for a minimum of 5 years in areas with a shortfall. Naturally the framework isn’t limited to these measures; others have been put in place to address the management of chronic diseases, encourage multidisciplinary collaboration and encourage doctors to move into rural areas etc.

W

© Rights reserved

hat is your opinion on the health situation in Wallonia? We are certainly seeing momentum build up in the field of public health. On the one hand, the paradigm “an illness = a cause = a cure” is no longer the case, and you only have to consider how diseases are becoming more chronic to be convinced of that. On the other hand, we are seeing more women in the medical profession and this is further safeguarding the work-private life balance. In particular, this is being reflected in the form of a shortage of general practitioners in many Walloon municipalities. Added to this are the budgetary constraints which tend to limit the amount of time spent in hospitals and as a result a need to be creative in terms of funding health infrastructure.

By 2061, Wallonia will have twice as many people aged 80 or over as it does today. On your initiative, the Walloon Government has therefore decided to set up an independent insurance scheme. What exactly will this social security consist of? The aim of the independent insurance is to support dependency, whether due to age, disability or illness. In this way, citizens will be able to fund their care - whether received at home or in a care home - throughout their lives, and will be able to increase their physical and mental independence by means of a new solidarity between all Walloons. Independent insurance will also strengthen the home care sector by regulating allowances and the quality control of home care services. In concrete terms, everyone living in Wallonia will be automatically signed up to the “Independent Insurance” service of their insurance provider - this will usually be the person’s heath insurance provider. It will levy an annual

What are your priorities regarding public health? With the levers that are mine in Wallonia, I want to be able to act on three levels: - Encouragement of integrated, multidisciplinary approaches so as to put patients at the heart of the primary care process and to be able to understand chronic illnesses better; - Support in the development of e-health, whose role is truly to interconnect actors in e-health, from primary care to specialists who perform surgeries in hospitals or in their offices; - To give the sector breathing space through a public funding system adapted to the budget and able to meet its needs directly. This applies to general or psychiatric hospitals, as well nursing homes, integrated care associations and home care services. In a transverse way, what worries me is really the maintenance of quality of care and also its accessibility. Health must not become a luxury- it’s very much a societal matter and not about social class.

© Marviv 101

In July 2016, you proposed a framework plan to the Walloon government on the reorganisation of primary care in Wallonia. What action plans will be implemented to guarantee equal access to quality healthcare? The framework which I proposed aims to improve the mechanisms inherited from the Federal State and to strengthen them in order to confront the public health issues that I’ve just mentioned. These measures will seek to encourage the integrated management of patients, develop the provision of healthcare in the areas which currently have a shortfall and provide citizens with better information on existing systems. The implementation of the “ASSISTEO” model for example will allow for the further development of overall patient care management, which will notably include a preventative

Photomicrograph of a demyelinating MS-Lesion. Immunohistochemical staining for CD68 highlights numerous macrophages (brown)

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health and e-health. This is just one example among many, showing that the Walloon Government is facilitating initiative and development.

Malignant Mesothelioma, coronal CT scan. The increasing chronicity of the disease is one of public health issues

© ADEAR

This desire to encourage networking and the creation of synergies is also found in the way that economic activity parks are set to develop. Indeed, in the near future an economic activity park will be opening in Bouge (Namur) to welcome companies in the health sector and particularly those in the field of self-sufficiency, nutritional

An insulin pump connected to a subcutaneous catheter

The Walloon agency of Health, Social Security, Disability and Families is one of the main blueprints of the legislature. Where are you at in its implementation and what will be the next steps? This Agency was established and effective from 1 January 2016. It has another name, shorter the one you gave it: “The Agency for a Life of Quality”, abbreviated to “AViQ” in French. Its name reflects the aspiration that I wanted to breathe into it, and the Agency’s task is to manage the areas of Health, Family and Disability in a cross-disciplinary way. The ex-AWIPH and DGO5 staffs are to be grouped together within a single office located in Charleroi. The Agency is henceforth operational, and a management contract is being prepared. The real challenge will be to develop this sense of porosity and cross-disciplinary collaboration between the various branches of the Agency and also to develop a shared corporate culture.

© Stevenfruitsmaak

How is the Walloon Government supporting research linked to the main public health issues? The Walloon Government’s flagship research project is the Walloon Digital Plan, within which I have ensured that there is a health aspect, and e-health is in fact one of its main strands. This theme, which is crucial for the sector, is truly at the crossroads between the economic and industrial world on the one hand and the medical world on the other. For this reason, I want to encourage these two worlds to meet through a platform where professionals can interact. In this way, R&D projects in the field of e-health will be able to respond to real needs. This will also allow priorities in R&D to be identified.

© Mbbradford

mandatory contribution from members aged 26 and over. Anyone in a situation of dependency - whether temporary or permanent - as the result of an accident, disability or illness will thus be able to benefit (irrespective of their age) from the provision of home help services, which will enable them to maintain their level of independence.

Comparing a normal aged brain (left) and the brain of a patient with Alzheimer’s disease (right)

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The Strengthening of Leading-Edge Sectors such as Biotechnology and Aeronautics An interview with Mr Pierre VILLERS, Public Service of Wallonia – Operational Directorate-General for Economy, Employment and Research (DGO 6) – Department of Research Programmes It should be noted that half of the staff of this Direction is paid via European funds.

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ould you briefly describe the missions of the Department of Research Programmes? The Department of Research Programmes’ primary mission consists in supporting applied research projects submitted by Walloon companies, research centres, college and university centres. These projects are submitted in reply to recurring or non-recurring calls for proposals, launched or not by the Department, with the main objective to contributing to the social and economic development of our Region.

What are for you the strengths of the Walloon research actors? The research actors in Wallonia are quite numerous, which, at first sight, may appear puzzling. In addition to the administration’s central role, you have the competitiveness poles, which federate and facilitate a great number of advanced sectors, such as biotechnologies or aeronautics and which, I believe, need to be strengthened. Our expertise earns recognition beyond our borders. Need I remind you that IBA, a spin-off belonging to the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve, and which just celebrated its 30th anniversary, started with only 5 employees? Today, it employs 1,200 employees from all over the world! And thanks to its promising market, e.g., protontherapy, it will look for another four hundred high profiles in the next months. I could add many other examples: Diagenode, in Liège, Lambda-X, in Nivelles… just to mention a few. © DGO6

I am particularly proud to say that these calls for proposals are managed in a distinctly professional manner. Indeed, I have always insisted on working in total transparency, together with international experts who assess the proposals and then deliver their opinion to my Department. Therefore, only those projects which add real value to the Walloon economy are selected and proposed to the responsible Minister for funding. Could you briefly outline the activities of the Direction of Regional Programmes and the Direction of Federal and International Programmes? The Department is indeed composed of 2 Directions: the one of regional programmes and the one of federal and international programs. The first one manages the calls targeted at various research stakeholders, such as for instance WALLINOV, an entirely new programme in which universities and companies work side by side; CWALITY, which focuses on the experimental development and commercialisation of products for which there is a clear market demand; and FIRST, which provides young researchers with the opportunity to become acquainted with industrial research.

We mustn’t forget other stakeholders such as the NCP Wallonie, which is funded by our Department: it is housed within the premises of the Walloon Business Federation and offers customized guidance to enterprises that seek European funding. What initiatives have been taken to improve the scientific and technological level of companies, research centres, universities and higher educational establishments? The division of competencesin Belgium doesn’t allow Wallonia to take measures in the field of education, a field which stays with the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. Having said this, I always have been a fervent supporter of mixed careers: both in an academic environment and in the world of business. An example of this synergy lies in the BEWARE Academia programme, which is partly funded by the European Commission which granted us €13 million to attract qualified researchers from abroad into our universities, in exchange for the commitment to spend a quarter of their time in a local partner company. This project proved to be successful, since more than 80 researchers of all nationalities responded to our

The Direction dealing with federal and international programmes grants subsidies to the Walloon beneficiaries (particularly to small and medium-sized enterprises) who would participate in research projects within a federal, European or international framework. This Direction currently participates in 24 European and international programmes, allowing Walloon researchers to collaborate in RTDI projects with foreign partners, such as EraNets, Eurostars and Eureka!

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© DGO6

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of research projects that were introduced in the 2007-2013 and 2014-2016 programming of the structural funds ERDF and INTERREG.

call. The philosophy of the FIRST programme is practically identical, and it, too, involves higher educational establishments. Besides, as public grants are required but legally limited, innovative enterprises must open up and look for international collaboration. The times of myopic protectionism on new findings belong to the past. Today, a new product results from a multitude of discoveries behind which there are a great number of hidden contributors. This observation confirms the concept of open innovation which is based on cooperation and knowledge sharing. Therefore, research implies collaborations between regional and national stakeholders (SMEs, research centers and universities) but also international ones, since markets today are to be found beyond our borders. My priority remains the quest for balanced win-win cooperation between these stakeholders. Finally, I also would like to add that the budget assigned to the Walloon research centers has increased tenfold in the past 25 years, attaining today €30 million.

How did all these different actions contribute to Wallonia’s economic and social development? It isn’t very difficult to identify those enterprises which have been successful and continue on this path of profitability. On the other hand, it would be laborious to cite them all, since the list is long and includes, all the domains of the Marshall Plan. However, I would like to point out and insist on the fact that often it isn’t one single research project which contributes to the economic development of a country or a region. This oversimplification constitutes part of the collective myth surrounding Professor Calculus. In fact, it is rather a sum of actions and supports that lead to success. The conjunction of positive results allows the introduction of innovative products on the market. To make myself clearer, I often use the following example: 25 years ago, the cost of a BMW was €30,000; nowadays, its price has gone up to €35,000; and yet, this BMW comes equipped with several options such as power steering, a GPS, heated seats, an ABS breaking system, reversing cameras, electric windows, air conditioning, airbags, USB ports, start-up support, etc. These improvements result from the conjunction of mechanics, electronics and robotics, lean factory as well as plastic processing.

What sort of calls are you considering to launch by the end of 2017? Our current programmes, already mentioned, i.e. WALLINOV and CWALITY, but also CORNET, meant to impel collective research, and Eurostars, which supports medium and smallsized enterprises focusing on research, will continue. Besides, my Department carries on with a difficult task, the management

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Promoting internationally Walloon companies and research organisations Within the Public Service of Wallonia, the Department for Research Programmes actively calls SMEs, universities and research centres to take part in interregional and European programs. Proposals”, a short summary (in English) outlining the theme and specificities of a partnership project. Due to the strategic importance of the internationalization of research, DGO6 systematically invites the Walloon research centers to play an active role in these calls for proposals.

Proposed programmes are notably: • ERA-Net programme; • Joint Programming Initiatives; • The EUREKA Initiative; • EUROSTARS; • ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures); • COST; • BEWARE (within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions).

Number of projects filed in 2015, allocated budget and beneficiaries of the collaborative projects

The Department also leads research projects that are cofunded by the European Commission within the framework of the Structural Funds.

Program

Zoom on some of these programmes – with supporting statistics.

CORNET MANUNET EuroTransBio M-era.Net

1. Joint programmes, co-funded by several partner funding bodies across Europe, aim at creating synergies at European level, are declined in many ways in the Department:

Solar-era.net IRA-SME

1.1. The ERA-Net’s actions aim at promoting the co-operation and co-ordination of research funding activities launched both at both national and regional levelq in the 28 Member States and 12 associated States, thanks to a support to networking beteween research funding programmes and to their mutual opening. These actions are part of the wider perspective of building the European Research Area (ERA), based on the open method of coordination.

Number of Walloon projects submitted (and funded) in 2015

Theme

Collective research Manufacture Biotechnologies Sciences and building materials engineering Photovoltaic Small and medium-sized enterprises with low intern research capacity

total

Beneficiaries

Company

22 (5) 2 (2) 1 (1) 6 (1)

2 2

1 (1) 1 (1)

1 1

33 (11)

6

CRA

University

5 1 1

Budget granted (in euros)

1.115.610 526.282 575.444 411.183 138.210 332.188

6

1

3.098.917

List of the thirty-five countries with which Wallonia co-operates within the framework of international projects Austria Belgium Brazil Cyprus Croatia Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Georgia Germany

The ERA-Net programme was launched by the European Commission under the Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6) and was indeed amplified under FP7. Although the ERA-Net programme was redesigned under Horizon 2020, the European Commission continues to endorse it. It covers all scientific and technological domains and supports all activities tending towards effective coordination of research funding programmes (exchange of information, joint transnational programme, common evaluation system, common training programmes). 1.2. The CORNET programme is targeted towards accredited research centres (CRA), and since 2011 no longer enjoys financial support by the European Commission. Wishing to pursue the successful collaboration, a core group composed of four countries, including Belgium, decided to launch a call for proposals for international collective research projects.

Greece Holland Hungary Iceland Israel Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxemburg Norway Poland Portugal

Rumania Russia Slovakia Slovenia South Korea Spain Sweden Switzerland Taiwan Turkey United Kingdom

Incidentally, both France and Brazil (State of Sao Paulo) signed a bilateral research agreement with Wallonia. 2. The EUREKA Initiative pursues the mission of increasing European competitiveness (in the broad sense, since it has 41 member States and 5 observer States) by supporting those companies which implement pan-European projects to develop innovative products, processes and services with the help of research centres and universities.

The CORNET programme aims at financing consortia comprising at least two partners coming from two different countries or regions and applying to the CORNET calls. Proposals are evaluated by each bidding agency/department separately. A common ranking is established, based on the combined result of these evaluations. To participate in the creation of a consortium, it is possible to post on the CORNET website (https://www.cornet.online/), under “Ideas for

The EUREKA label enjoys international recognition and adds value to a project and gives its participants a competitive edge in their relations with financial, technical and commercial partners. Through a EUREKA project, partners develop new

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© SPW

© SPW

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technologies for which they agree on intellectual property rights and establish partnerships intended to penetrate new markets. This explains why Wallonia financially supports the Walloon partners in EUREKA projects. In 2015, a bilateral call for proposals was launched with Switzerland and 13 projects were submitted. Two were directly financed through the EUREKA initiative, and another one through EUROSTARS.

© SPW

Incidentally, this framework was extended in 2016 to include the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. The EUROSTARS programme was jointly developed by the EUREKA Initiative and the European Commission in support of research and innovation-intensive SMEs (meaning those which invest at least 10% of their turnover or have 10% of their staff in R&D), which are also market-oriented and with a high growth potential and involved in European partnering projects. The Commission’s financial support is worth €287 million for the period 2014-2020, which is covered by Horizon 2020.

Consequently, the Department for Research Programmes, Innoviris (Brussels) and Vlaio (Flanders) developed this programme based on the following principles: • A joint call by the three Regions; • A concertation on the projects to be funded; • Regional-level funding. The program owes its originality to interregional partnership.

Thirty-three member states of the EUREKA initiative decided to take part in its activities.

The initial pilot phase of the programme proved so conclusive that the BEL SME programme was renewed in 2016.

In 2015, the Department for research programmes took part in two EUROSTARS’ calls for proposals. Twenty proposals with Walloon partners were submitted and the nine most innovative ones were elected for funding in 2015 and 2016.

Lastly, in addition to the cultural and economic attachés, Wallonia recruited six scientific liaison officers (ALS). Deliberately based at the heart of research institutions worldwide, their mission is to promote synergies between their host country and the Walloon Region. These six liaison officers serve at their posts in Montreal (Canada), Munich (Germany), Lausanne (Switzerland), Boston (United States of America), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Uppsala (Sweden).

The number of projects filed in 2015, budget granted and beneficiaries of the EUREKA and EUROSTARS programs

Program

Number of Walloon projects submitted (and financed) in 2015

Beneficiaries

Enterprise

University

Budget granted (in euros)

EUREKA

2 (2)

1

1

356.053

EUROSTARS

20 (8)

7

1

3.231.104

total

22 (10)

8

2

3.587.157

Direction générale opérationnelle de l’Économie, de l’Emploi et de la Recherche Département des Programmes de recherche Place de la Wallonie, 1 - BE - 5100 Namur https://recherche-technologie.wallonie.be dpr.dgo6@spw.wallonie.be linkedin : dgo6 recherche

3. BEL SME is a new joint initiative of the three regional Research Ministers in Belgium to create synergies and promote collaboration among SMEs of the different regions.

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Coatings Research Institute – CoRI

© CoRI

Turn ideas into innovative and successful products CoRI stands as an independent research center with ISO17025 accredited laboratories, all set up in Limelette. Its activities focus around the technologies and sciences of paints, inks, and varnishes for various kinds of surfaces. CoRI cooperates with all partners in this sector, aiming at turning regulatory and environmental requirements into opportunities, and ideas into innovative and performance products.

Mrs Carine Lefevre, Director of CoRI

(roads, off-shore, wind industry, pipelines, preventive maintenance in view of cost reduction thanks to the development of cladding and maintenance tools) and the transport sector (trains with anti-graffiti coatings, aviation with new paintings for composite materials).

W

ith its twenty-six associates and ten laboratories (formulation, surface preparation, application, thermal analysis, various analysis (IR, GC), rheology, optical properties and colorimetry, mechanical tests, accelerated ageing, optical microscopy and SEM), CoRI is currently addressing fifteen collective research projects. Its clientele represents some 250 companies, 60% of which are small and medium-sized enterprises, both on the European and American continent. Over the last years, the sectors in which CoRI cooperates underwent wide diversification. Alongside its traditional areas, you may find wind industry, aeronautics and railway, the luxury market as well as industry.

Diversified activity fields

CoRI cooperates with all players in the value chain. We start with the suppliers of raw materials who will sell more easily a raw material, if it were integrated in the formulation of a coating. CoRI cooperates with manufacturers of paints; e.g., the core of its business, but also with their commercial and industrial applicators: in fact, CoRI develops for them equipment and applications for new generations of coatings and claddings and new tools. Finally, CoRI cooperates with equipment providers with the intention to introduce into the market new products and their associated processes.

© CoRI

CoRI focuses on a variety of achievements and expertise: formulation of paints, inks, varnishes Project Lovemi: picture of the Vocbox and multi-functional coatings; studies and Collective research projects understanding of the links existing between the in cooperation with enterprises formulation of paints, inks and varnishes and their performances; development of innovative, long-lasting By closely cooperating with the enterprises in the industry, and functional paints, inks and varnishes, all successful in CoRI focuses on the practical implications deriving from the terms of carbon footprint and emission of volatile organic scientific research it initiates. It takes part in several cladding compounds (VOC); development of application technologies projects with innovative functionalities, such as self-repairing (processes and equipment); study and upgrading of new raw functions and surface ease of maintenance. materials for the formulation of paints, printing inks and varnishes, up to TDS implementation involving research of new, better and more environment friendly raw materials of recycled or bio-sourced origin; the characterization of paints, inks and varnishes before and after application on any kind of surface; audits of steel and aluminum surface painting using powder paints with respect to Qualicoat, Qualanod, Qualisteelcoat and ECCA specifications.

Key sectors and partners

© CoRI

Recently, CoRI relocated its activities to facilitate enterprises in their search of job skills. Thus, it fosters two main lines: inflows in its four main sectors and their partners in their value chain. Its four core activities include building, industry (packaging, luxury and energy) for all its cladding requirements to functionalize, protect and embellish surfaces, infrastructures

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project aims at characterizing current powder paints that rely upon techniques which are relatively little used (such as measurement of the film constraints) in view of improving the existing formulations under a twofold aspect: the corrosion resistance in an offshore environment, and the use of thicker layers as well as the possibility of using two coats of powder in order to reduce the cooking process to a single step. This project, developed under the supervision of a steering committee of industrialists, should position CoRI as a research center for the development of powder paints, increase its expertise of offshore environment and widen its network of companies in connection with FMC. It also should allow CoRI to enhance its knowledge on paint powder formulation and its expertise in the protection against corrosion in an offshore environment. Lastly, CoRI should validate the development of equipment for measuring constraints in a natural environment and constraints in immersion. In the same enterprising spirit, CoRI is developing for the company Guilmin SA an integrated universal solution that can be industrialized for the production and distribution of pigment concentrates for the creation of vinylic and acrylic water paints as well as high solid alkyd paints with proven final performances in terms of quality and environmental friendliness, all in accordance with market requirements. These new industrial solutions are currently under validation and will be available on the market soon.

Towards a circular economy

© CoRI

The CoRI actively promotes a circular economy, which argues in favor of reemployment, recycling, industrial ecology and eco-design. From this perspective, CoRI helps the area of varnishes and paints develop new coatings from recycled and bio-sourced products. By considering yesterday’s waste as tomorrow’s resources, we seize an opportunity to create new products based on recycling and eco-design, taking into account the recycling at the end of the life of the product from the design of the product on. Recycling also means offering products which are cheaper than new products - to certain industries, so they may diversify their existing products. These new, secondary raw materials should give life to emergent processing industries, thus combining economy and ecology.

For instance, CoRI became involved in the Lowemi project, designed to develop a series of water paints for interior decoration, ensuring a strong - if not total - reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOC), while still improving the performances of this kind of paints. At the end of the study, CoRI support a Walloon paint manufacturer (Dothée) to put onto market two series of high-performance water paints for interior decoration, designed to meet European and Belgian regulatory requirements. This result materialized not only by working on the type of resin, but also on the different additives used to create a paint. CoRI also worked independently with the aim of marketing a predictive tool of actual VOC emissions to help manufacturers reformulate and develop efficient, innovative paints that fully meet European regulatory requirements in terms of indoor air quality and respect of the environment. A corollary, flagship project for CoRI, IPOC (efficient powder coatings for steel ship constructions), will be financed by the Walloon region, the Flemish region and Germany. The project partners are the German research center IPA and the FMC (Flanders Maritime Clusters). Launched in April 2016, this

CoRI Coatings Research Institute Avenue P. Holoffe, 21 - B-1342 Limelette Tel.: +32 (0)2 653 09 86 - Fax: +32 (0)2 653 95 03 Email: cori@cori-coatings.be http://www.cori-coatings.be/en/home.html 85


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GO2M

Secteur

Secteur

Secteur

CONSTRUCTION

INFRASTRUCTURES

INDUSTRIES

TRANSPORT

Chaine de valeur

Chaine de valeur

Chaine de valeur

Chaine de valeur

FORMULATEURS

APPLICATEURS INDUSTRIELS

EQUIPEMENTIER

FOURNISSEUR DE MATIÈRES PREMIÈRES

outdoor and indoor maintenance, etc.), the industry (development of powders, inks and varnishes), infrastructures (intelligent road paints, coatings for windmills and pipelines) and, finally, the transport sector (trains, aeronautics industry).

A subsidiary of CoRI and owner of a subsidiary in Paris (France), GO2M Belgium works on developing and commercializing aids for the formulation and recovery of the findings of collective research and creating prototypes of coating formulation in view of accelerating the placement of innovative ideas.

CoRI didn’t hesitate to rely on its own sources for the launch of GO2M. Since it became operational in 2016, the subsidiary may now profit from fundraising in view of developing its equipment. In addition, it will occupy a part of CoRI’s premises to minimize expenses. In the same “win-win” spirit, the equipment manufacturers and partners of CoRI have provided it with some equipment to limit investment costs.

R

eputed for its formulation skills, whilst having to face cuts in subsidies, CoRI had to develop economic activities to maintain its research teams. Therefore, it decided to create a subsidiary to assist industrialists in promoting the results of research through prototyping. To cover the whole value chain of the innovation process, from the generation of new ideas to industrialization: this is the GO2M mission, which directly benefits from the CoRI’s research activities that are recognized as a source of technological innovation applicable to the development of enterprises.

CoRI feels confident about the future perspectives of GO2M. This subsidiary did in fact build on a niche market: this implies targeting those industrialists who are still absent from the paint sector and who, therefore, ignore all the subtleties of formulations and the opportunities implied in the cooperation with the providers of raw materials. Thus, they invest significant funds into research, but their formulations suffer easy dispersal. Thus, their interest obviously demands they benefit from the expertise of the paint manufacturers partnered with CoRI to obtain processing formulations, bypass the traditional channel, and thus maintain a competitive advantage over longer periods. A win-win solution!

Launched on 6th September 2016, GO2M’s website emphasizes the dual character of the two subsidiaries: GO2M Belgium and GO2M France, through the acquisition of a laboratory based in Paris, which provides a prerequisite enabling them to work with demanding operators such as the SNCF. In addition, GO2M Belgium and GO2M France enjoy an active symbiosis at equipment level for physico-chemical characterization of raw materials, application tests and formulation. As for CoRI, it invested in high capacity tanks and blenders in view of developing test patches capable of attaining 100 kg, and prototypes which approximate an industrial model.

GO2M Belgique Avenue P. Holoffe, 21 - B-1342 Limelette Tel.: +32 (0)2 653 09 86 GO2M France 21, Bd Ney - 75018 Paris Tel.: +33 (0)1 40 38 98 70 Email: go2m@go2m.com - http://www.go2m.com

GO2M Belgium and GO2M France will be working with all the actors of the industry, including raw-material suppliers, manufacturers of paints, inks and adhesives, professional and industrial users, prescribers and end-users. They will be involved with construction (development of new generations of paints and varnishes for the treatment of chassis, optically active coatings favoring energy savings, coatings favoring

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© CoRI

Secteur

© CoRI

Your accelerated coating industrialization company


Belgian Research 2017_Mise en page 1 06/02/2017 09:34 Page87

Dothée SA The Specialist of the Eco-friendliest Professional Paints and Coatings Established in 1946, Dothée SA moved to Assesse in 2004, where it made its name with eco-friendly coatings and 90% of its production in aqueous phase. With a yearly turnover of €5 million, 66% of which derive from export sales, Dothée SA enjoys a team of 25 people devoting themselves to innovation.

W

© Dothée SA

ith five people dedicating themselves to R&D, in other words 20% of its working force, Dothée SA places innovation in the very heart of its activity. This drive permeates its expertise in technical paints for two main areas: building (rustproof paints, waterproof paints for façades, roofs, balconies and terraces, anti-graffiti paint) and infrastructures (bridges, ports and other large steel structures). also in Japan, thanks to a customer who specializes in the treatment of steel roofing for leading enterprises such as Nissan, Hitachi, Panasonic and Nippon Steel.

Currently, rustproof paint in aqueous phase represents almost 30% of Dothée SA’s turnover. It represents the flagship of the RD-Coatings range, a range of more ecofriendly aqueousphase water paints than solvent-borne paints. Created in 2001 exclusively for paint professionals, the RD-Coatings range includes decorative protection systems, sealing products for roofs, balconies and façades, as well as anticorrosion products.

On a more regional scale, Dothée SA often involves itself in collective research projects in collaboration with the CoRI (Coatings Research Institute). The most recent research projects include Retanchbio, with the aim of developing biosourced waterproof products in aqueous phase for roofs; and LOWEMI, working on the development of a decorative paint for indoor use without emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or noxious odors.

To ensure the best quality products for its customers, Dothée SA obtained the ISO 9001 certification confirming its good quality control and guaranteeing the consistent quality of all its products.

Both projects achieved significant results, even if paint manufacturers remain perfectly aware that they never feel fully satisfied with any paint. Developing a paint works like a recipe, although the perfect paint doesn’t exist. Therefore, any paint stands as a compromise of the various required characteristics.

This quality is at work on all Dothée SA’s construction sites. The company enjoys prestigious references: for example, in Belgium, the Heysel stadium, the Louise Village, the Saint-Jean Tower, the Linter castle and the port of Antwerp; but also, abroad, the Yankee Stadium and the Chrysler Building in New York; several steel bridges in Denmark and South Africa; and bridges like that in Dubrovnik in Croatia. Dothée SA appears

© Dothée SA

This latent dissatisfaction bears its own merits, since it forces Dothée SA to maintain its R&D efforts. Furthermore, the company looks forward to specializing even more in water products, and mainly in anticorrosion paints. This for two reasons: it stands as the first feature clients look for, and illustrates a sector which matches Dothées SA’s well asserted expertise: a sure sign of fidelity to its core business.

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Dothée SA Zoning "La Fagne" Rue Ernest Matagne 19 B-5330 Assesse (Namur) Tel.: +32 (0)83 23 38 02 Fax: +32 (0)83 23 38 03 E-mail: info@dothee.com http://www.dothee.com/


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In Favor of Fundamental Research of Excellence Motivated by the Researchers’ Curiosity An interview with Dr Marc VANHOLSBEECK, Head of the Direction of Scientific Research at DGENORS (General Directorate for non-compulsory education and scientific research) at the Ministry of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (French Community of Belgium) and competitive project selection which is based, at F.R.S-FNRS, on a peer review mode inspired by the European Research Council (ERC). Fundamental research therefore remains a primary focus, depending on the curiosity of researchers or research teams, which enjoy a large degree of independence regarding funds.

H

ow would you rank DGENORS’ principal tasks? First, we should remember that scientific research presents a shared jurisdiction involving all Belgian federal and federated entities. In this case, the Ministry of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (FW-B) has the authority to administer and finance fundamental research in the Frenchspeaking parts of Belgium, which have the responsibility of the General Directorate for non-compulsory education and scientific research (DGENORS).

© Rights reserved

On the one hand, the FW-B granted €142 million directly to scientific research for the year 2016. On the other hand, we estimate about a quarter of the current allocation to universities to be dedicated by them for scientific research (around €165 million per year). Although a large part of direct funding for research is allocated to the F.RS.-FNRS and their associated funds – since the F.R.S-FNRS receives a contribution of 64% by the FW-B -, two other devices complement their action and directly benefit the universities. Additionally, Concerted Research Actions (ARC) exist as collective, basic research projects which usually spread over 5 years (and may be renewed), acting in favor of inter-university collaboration, interdisciplinarity, and internationality. Furthermore, the special research fund (FSR) may be used by universities as they see fit, provided it serves scientific research (engaging staff, operating costs, purchase of equipment, project funding, support for mobility, and so forth).

Within DGENORS, the Directorate for scientific research (DRS) bears specific responsibility for representing FW-B or Belgium in the committees and working groups of the European Research Area (ERA) and Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, and vice-chairs two ERA related entities: the “Helsinki Group for Gender in Research and Innovation,” and the “Standing Working Group on Open Science and Open Innovation.” Likewise, the DRS provides support to the development in FW-B of research politics implied in ERA’s drive. Could you briefly outline the academic institutions of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation? Along with the 6 universities in FW-B (UCL, ULB, ULg, UMONS, UNamur, USL-B), the decree “Paysage” of 7 November 2013 created a new body: the ARES (Academy of Research and Higher Education), to coordinate the activities of the francophone tertiary education establishments and generate among them the development of cooperation.

I also wish to mention the Interuniversity Attraction Poles (IAP): in accordance with the 6 th reform of the State, these fundamental research projects, which require the collaboration of teams belonging to universities of both Communities, will in 2018 be taken over by the Communities and will be managed, in FW-B, by the F.R.S.-FNRS. We should not neglect either the European research infrastructures: the FWB funds the participation of scientists from our universities in projects like SHARE (longitudinal surveys on aging in Europe underway in 30 counties); LifeWatch (“big data” collection and analysis related to biodiversity); or ESSurvey (surveys on social attitudes and behavior in Europe) via the FNRS. Likewise, in accordance with the Charter for Researchers (EURAXESS), we have the FW-B funds “gender contact people” in universities (in charge of issues relevant to gender equity in research and research careers). We thus behold, collectively, the continuity between “policy making” at European level and concrete actions taken at regional level!

The decree organizes the universities and the other 3 types of higher education institutions – university colleges arts colleges and social advancement higher education– into “academic areas” based on the geographical position of their establishments. These poles intend to contribute to the promotion of higher education of FW-B overseas, to the development of interdisciplinary research, and to increase the consistency of educational programs. How is funding for scientific research in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation organized? Generally speaking, the research-funding policy relies upon 3 main principles: scientific excellence, bottom-up approach

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Further promoting research results An interview with Mr Gianni INFANTI, President of the Walloon Science Policy Council

C

ould you tell us about the missions of the Science Policy Council (CPS: Conseil de la Politique scientifique)? The CPS advises the Walloon Government on the preparation of regional science policy. In particular, it has the task of recommending methods to promote the development and effective coordination of scientific and technological research activities in relation to the economic, social and environmental needs of Wallonia. It also makes suggestions regarding the financing of science policy and evaluates regional science policy every two years.

© CPS

What is your opinion on the scientific policy of the Walloon Region? Innovation and R&D have an important role to play in the future of Wallonia. Faced with the current difficulties in Wallonia, I think that investments in this field could be one of the main ways of getting out of the crisis. Thanks in particular to successive Marshall Plans, our region has been able to double its budget credits for RDI since 2005 and the government is continuing to provide a satisfactory level of financing despite budgetary constraints. This is very positive. On what topics has the Walloon Government recently contacted you? The government contacted us concerning a change to the Decree on support for research, development and innovation in Wallonia with a view to complying with the European standard. We have also spoken out about the Wallonia smart specialisation project. In addition, we welcomed the Walloon Government’s willingness to incorporate the policy of R&D support into a global and integrated strategy orientated towards the industrial redeployment of Wallonia.

In your opinion, what are the main issues to come in the field of science policy? The fundamental issue for Wallonia lies in its ability to transform research and innovation efforts into sufficient economic and social benefits for the region. Although the ‘policy mix’ is relatively complete in Wallonia, it is obvious that the valuation of research results is still insufficient. This topic has been judged as a priority by the CPS. Thanks to the financial support of Jean-Claude Marcout’s Cabinet, we have carried out a study with the consulting firm IDEA, with the results to be announced by the CPS in the coming weeks.

What opinions and recommendations have you published recently on your own initiative? Although it is a Community competence, the Walloon CPS has looked into basic research, which is essential for Wallonia’s development and ability to face societal challenges. It seems essential to maintain excellence in basic research whilst supporting emerging groups but also to preserve the appeal of our research and teaching system; to reinforce the international positioning of our researchers and thereby to ensure the innovative capacity of our companies from a strategic perspective. Knowing that the evolution of human resources available for R&D has been identified as a weakness in the Walloon innovation system, the CPS has also produced a report in which we suggest implementing an integrated strategy with three objectives: to make the choice of a scientific career in secondary education a positive choice; to retain youngsters in this area of study in higher education; and to change their perception of scientific careers, making them more accessible and appealing.

Another challenge for Wallonia is to strengthen the participation of Walloon companies and universities in European R&D programmes. If you compare the results of Walloon and Flemish teams, it must be noted that the Flemish teams submit three times as many projects and - thanks to a higher success rate - have four times as many projects financed. It is therefore important for Wallonia to be more active at this level, as it represents an opportunity for it to seek additional resources. On a personal level, given that science policy is a regionalised matter, I think that the main challenges are to be found at the regional level. Beyond the various collaborations that we already have with foreign universities, we now need to strengthen collaboration at a national level in order to create or strengthen collaborations with universities in other regions of the country.

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Unblocking obstacles to innovation An interview with Mr Vincent REUTER, General Manager of the Union of Walloon Enterprises (UWE)

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How does UWE support innovative enterprises and bearers of innovative entrepreneurial projects? UWE acts along three lines. Through its lobbying effort it proposes tax measures and financial incentives. By the management of NCP Wallonia, it fosters cooperation between SMEs and research units, thus facilitating small enterprises to overcome their small size and achieve access to an international level. By coordinating the operational cells of competitiveness clusters, UWE conveys to the Walloon government the companies’ desire for administrative simplification. © UWE

ould you reveal us the UWE’s key figures? The UWE serves as an interbranch organization and counts some 7,000 members, including 22 sectoral federations, which cover almost all sectors of the Walloon economy and represent 2/3 of private jobs, excluding freelancers. Its mission means to ensure the region’s economic and social growth by developing and creating private enterprises. Therefore, it exerts a lobbying effort at regional government level, with respect to trade unions and member enterprises to lay out the best legislative and regulatory framework for enterprises.

The UWE directs project holders towards administration or competitiveness clusters, provided these projects meet their strategic plans. I foresee serious opportunities for growth improvement over the next coming years. However, as a basic condition, we must rectify the innovation gap in Walloon’s SMEs, which don’t lack ideas but find it hard to transform them into new products, services and processes. The time urges us to unblock the barriers to innovation and so convince SME owners that if innovation doesn’t necessarily require big money it remains crucial.

What are the R&D key figures in Wallonia? Over the last years, a very large effort has been made for R & D expenditure, both in the private and public sectors. We wish to emulate Lisbon’s objective of 3% of GDP: this goal appears even more encouraging as, since 2008, circumstances are anything but straightforward. Out of these 3%, 80% of total R&D expenses come from enterprises (vs. 63% of European average). Having said this, you observe a double concentration of R&D expenses: they concentrate on a small number of sectors (pharma-biotech, chemistry and aerospace total by themselves 63% of R&D expenses) and on a small number of large enterprises: GSK, UCB, Sonaca, Techspace Aero, Sabca and Solvay, etc. This clearly exhibits an insufficient effort from SMEs, whose small size often handicaps their R&D and their ambitions for international markets. 87% of Walloon enterprises employ fewer than 10 persons.

© UWE

What is your view on R & D policy in Wallonia? Enterprises find it quite positive: their means remain quite substantial at the regional level, and their concentration into six competitiveness clusters, set up around well defined strategic axes, prevents their dispersion. Despite the crisis and consequent budget difficulties, I commend the Government’s decision to protect R&D expenses.

UWE’s last general meeting on October 4 th, 2016

© UWE

What are the expectations of Walloon enterprises with regards to R&D? SMEs appear embedded in a vicious circle: to grow, they need to innovate, but innovation results from spending on innovation or R&D, which often requires a preexisting growth. I hold to the conviction that the enterprises’ growth problem in Walloon economy stands as our most daunting challenge. We must help SMEs to reach a higher scale where they may afford 20 to 50 salaries or more. Admittedly, we already have an arsenal of financial incentives in support of R&D and innovation. But these incentives could improve through a suitable administrative simplification. A good example for simplification lies in the device of technology checks, which represent a facilitated use of financial incentives.

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Taking advantage of Horizon 2020 An interview with Mr Pierre FIASSE, European Project Developer at NCP Wallonie this has reduced the success rate compared to FP7. However, the H2020 program remains a great opportunity for innovative SMEs. By 1 June 2016, 158 projects involving 79 Walloon players had been funded, for a total amount of € 79 million. Two thirds of the funded Walloons are companies.

C

ould you remind us of the NCP Wallonie’s missions? Launched in 2002 on an initiative of the Wallonia government and hosted by the Walloon Union of Entreprises, NCP Wallonie serves as an interface between research programmes financed by the European Commission (Horizon 2020, Eurostars, ERANET) and Walloon research players (Companies, SMEs, Universities, research centres, associations and public authorities). Its core mission consists in increasing the participation of Walloon players in European research programmes and to maximize the results of the latter. © NCP Wallonia

What are the key characteristics of the Horizon 2020 program? With around € 80 billion of funding, Horizon 2020 is the largest European research and innovation program of all time. It encompasses the entire value chain, from basic research into the early market applications. Horizon 2020 stands out by the simplification of administrative regulations: a unique financing rate is used for all the players of one same project (100% for research programmes and 70% for innovation programmes) and a flat rate of 25% is enforced to reimburse general costs. Technically speaking, Horizon 2020 is organized around 3 pillars: scientific excellence, industrial leadership in key technologies and society challenges defined by the European Union.

How can Walloon SMEs participate in the Horizon 2020 program? Several times a year, the European Commission launches calls for projects in which all types of players can meet. These projects are collaborative (they should generally gather at least 3 partners from 3 different countries) and competitive (only the best are chosen).

Specifically, players must move up or join consortia to respond to these calls and submit a proposal that will be evaluated by international external experts. The collaborative aspect is one of the key points for success: each consortium should bring together European partners who have the best skills for the project. How can you help the Walloons increase their success rate? The text of the proposal is the only element available to SMEs to convince the evaluators. Early contact with NCP Wallonia is therefore highly desirable. Not only will we direct them to the most appropriate call for proposals for their project idea, but we will also proofread their proposal. We will make every effort to avoid their frequent mistakes by checking the items on which they will be judged and turning their proposal into a coherent, balanced and relevant one.

Horizon 2020 was launched three years ago. Can we already make a first assessment? In general, there is a sharp rise in the number of proposals submitted. This success can be explained by the way in which calls are written: less prescriptive than in the previous framework program FP7. In addition, by integrating the component innovation - and thus being closer to the market -

Facilitated access to market The Commission launched two new tools that provide SMEs with faster access to the market. The first, the “Fast Track to Innovation” offers a “time-to-grant” of six months and a “time-to-market” of 36 months. It provides funding for activities such as validation tests, pre-normative research, certifications, performance testing / pilot / test benches and validation of the business model. The second tool, the “SME Instrument” allows a SME to carry alone its project. It is therefore not compelled to mount a consortium. This instrument allows SMEs to develop more strategic projects. They benefit, based on a highly competitive selection, from a coaching during the 3 phases of the project.

H2020: A real opportunity for innovative SMEs European growth is made possible thanks to SMEs. The European Commission has simplified the procedures, created new opportunities for financing and increased the share of the budget devoted to them. This amounts to € 8 billion. In the current context, it is an opportunity! Also, participate in a European collaborative project enables SMEs to benefit from significant co-financing for their research and innovation and promote research into new markets.

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Give your company a boost with Agoria Wallonia Agoria is the Belgian Federation for Technology industry. Agoria is paving the way for all technology-inspired companies in Belgium which seek to contribute to the world's advancement by developing or implementing innovations. More than 1,700 member companies, accounting for a total of a little over 275,000 workers, are relying on the three pillars of Agoria’s services: advice, business development and creating the ideal business climate.

© Agoria Wallonia

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eronautics, Space, Security & Defence Industries, Building, Contracting & Technical Services Industries, Digital Industries, Manufacturing Industries, Materials Industries. It is to these high-tech industries that Agoria devotes its energy. Sectors which make up a total of 3.400 companies and 40% of industrial employment (that is, more than 57.000 people) in Wallonia, giving a combined turnover of 16 billion Euros, 73% of which is from exports. Moreover, the Walloon technology industry invests massively in R&D: in 2012, its spending reached €344 M, that is nearly 30% of the total of the industrial sector in Wallonia and it employed more than 2.900 people (40% of the industrial research staff of the region).

The third challenge: Green technologies. Agoria wishes to involve the technology industry in the dynamic of the “green economy” and has defined 2 directions to this end: reduce the environmental impact of industry members while preserving their competitiveness; and promote new technologies and green services. “All the sectors of activity are concerned and the reduction of their environmental impact relies heavily on technological innovation” declares Thierry Castagne.

Agoria Wallonia is applying itself to this task in association with MecaTech, Tweed and the Walloon government. The Federation has participated in the setting up of the Green IT Innovation Centre (Mons) and encourages the involvement of its members in the projects launched by this network of businesses.

Thierry Castagane, General manager Agoria Wallonia

From day one Agoria has supported the putting in place of a new industrial policy in Wallonia, particularly focused on the 6 competitiveness clusters. The Federation has particularly invested in the MecaTech Cluster, which is focused on mechanical engineering. “The competitiveness clusters have really boosted research” Thierry Castagne, general manager of Agoria Wallonia, is pleased to announce. Moreover, the Federation supports different technological clusters in the initial stages and as a complement to the competitiveness clusters: Infopôle Cluster TIC (ICT), Tweed Cluster (energy-environment), E-health, ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems). In parallel, Agoria Wallonia has identified the three challenges that the technology industry must rise to. The first challenge: “Embracing technology, embracing ambition”. It is imperative to maintain and develop activity in Wallonia by boosting innovation. “We must reduce the wage costs weighing upon R&D” exclaims Thierry Castagne. One of the solutions: increase to 100% the tax exemption mechanism for researchers, currently set at 80% and very useful for the development of R&D in the regions. In 2012 Agoria and its partners have also launched a new program focused on industrial productivity, Made Different (www.madedifferent.be), derived from the European “Factories of the Future” initiative.

© Agoria Wallonia

The second challenge: Education. On a quantitative level, Agoria promotes technological careers with its teaching and university partners (cf. www.ingenieursbelges.be). The results are there to be seen: in Francophone Belgium, the numbers going into civil and industrial engineering schools went up by 17% between 2005 and 2013. On a qualitative level, the Federation is acting to permanently adapt teaching to industrial needs in the three large domains of activity identified by the European Union by 2020: energy/environment, nano & biotechnologies and information systems.

Greentechs represent many opportunities for growth of the Walloon technology industry.

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SynHERA: the efficiency of a network An interview with Sabine DOSSA, Manager of SynHERA

Could you introduce us to SynHERA? Formerly ADISIF Interface, SynHERA is the network of 19 University Colleges (UC) and their associated research centres in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. It supports the University Colleges and their associated research centres in order to valorise their research projects and to match skills between the University Colleges and the Walloon, Brussels and international research stakeholders. In addition, SynHERA is willing to offer University Colleges’ researchers a space for sharing and reflexion. Why did you change the name? The name was changed at the end of July 2016 in order to better represent what we do. In effect, ADISIF was focused on the promotion of results of research carried out by University Colleges of Applied Sciences, who were the original founders of the network. But end 2014/beginning 2015, the University Colleges requested that it extend its skills and reach to all categories of the University Colleges and to all the University Colleges in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. Hence the name SynHERA: Synergie Hautes Écoles/Entreprises pour la Recherche Appliquée (‘Synergy University Colleges and Companies for Applied Research’). The network seeks to bring added value to the economic world in terms of research and innovation, in collaboration with the University Colleges. What other changes have taken place? We have put in place a quality management system in order to be able to efficiently and professionally respond to the expectations of our more numerous and diverse partners. This management system obtained the ISO 9001 certification in July 2016. Furthermore, the change of name was contemporaneous with a new governance in line with the reality of the network’s existence: the heads of the University Colleges and Research Centres are now actively involved in SynHERA. We have also created a strategic group which meets once a year with representatives of various key players in academic and private research and regional subsidiary bodies in order to better understand the expectations of our partners regarding applied research and to make sure to satisfy these expectations through our missions.

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University Colleges

Establishments

+800 Researchers

350 Actions directed at companies every year

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Unique Network for Research among the University Colleges


Services to the benefit of the network Starting a research dynamic in less than a year.

Current project calls in a few clicks! search, the Scientific Advisors of the SynHERA team are constantly on the lookout. Calls are analysed by our specialists and a compiled on a platform for project calls. Classified by educational categories and by key words, researchers/promoters can quickly find global information about projects calls.

HEPL has, in less than a year, propelled its nutrition department into the field of research. Nicole Nihant, a teaching fellow in nutrition, accepted the responsibility of implementing the new research dynamic within her department. With the help of SynHERA, the first meetings were organised, a working environment chosen and the first projects identified. According to Nicole, this collaboration ensured that everything ran smoothly: “Without them, nothing would have happened so quickly or gone so well. SynHERA was with us step by step, through every stage, from visiting companies and securing intellectual property rights, to submitting the project”.

Quickly two projects began with the FIRST Haute Ecole grants. Encouraged by this initial successes, the “Paramedical” department of HEPL does not intend to stop now that it is doing so well. The teachers and students alike want more, and proposals from companies begin to flood in. Inspiration also come from training days and meetings with researchers from other University Colleges, organised by SynHERA. According to Nicole Nihant, the research is on a roll and is not about to end there!

How can we enhance contact between trainees and entrepreneurs?

Looking for funds is an important part of the researchers/promoters’ work. In order to facilitate their re-

www.adisif.wordpress.com/

Trainings adapted to researchers’ needs The different topics it tackles are:

It is important for a research project to get off to good start. A young researcher can, at first, feel lost and alone when faced with requirements and obligations which he or she knows little about. Every year SynHERA organises a training session which covers the essentials that are vital to master when beginning a research project.

The management of a research project

The basics of intellectual property

Communication with stakeholders Valorisation of results

These themes are interspersed by talks from researchers and industry experts. www.synhera.be/fr/Services-aux-HE/ Formations

SynHERA is ISO 9001 certified

The “stages des pôles” programme was launched by competitiveness clusters within the project calls framework of the Marshall Plan. Joined since by industry federations, it provides a web platform allowing companies to find their ideal trainee. Indeed, SynHERA has developed a database allowing companies to get in contact directly with the internship coordinators at the University Colleges and Universities in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. In addition, the “stages des pôles” plat-

form allows both students and SME managers to post their requests for internships online. SynHERA’s collaboration in this project means that the platform gathers the contacts for the internship coordinators in both the University Colleges and Universities. SynHERA manages these in a unique data base which can be found at the following address: www.synhera.be/fr/Services-aux-Entreprises/Trouver-un-stagiaire

SynHERA is now ISO 9001 certified! This certification is an excellent recognition of the professionalism of the team and the quality of the services offered to its partners. At the end of 2014, SynHERA decided to formalise its Quality approach in a process-orientated vision and a satisfaction target for its various partners (University Colleges, teachers, researchers, companies from commercial and non-commercial sectors, administration etc...).

The aim was to put in place specific tools to enable the best possible integration with researchers, promoters, companies from commercial and non-commercial sectors and other partners of the SynHERA network. This ISO 9001 certification indicates that the quality management system is able to provide services that meet partners’ requirements as well as regulatory requirements.


Some projects from the network

Why does the UCs’research interest industries? For Tilman, a plant protection products laboratory, finding out about research being undertaken in University Colleges was a pleasant surprise. The pressure to valorise the results and their potential commercialisation is one of the greatest strengths of the FIRST HE projects.

Spices to fight diabetes Type 2 diabetes is a growing global health problem against which there are still very few means of fighting. Combining cinnamon and turmeric extracts in the form of a dietary supplement, diabetes could be prevented and delayed. This research project, named LIPOCANEL, lead jointly by the University College Liège Province (HEPL) and the University of Liège (ULg), has convinced the subsidiary bodies on the basis of its relevancy and its innovative nature. Mr. Tilman, the CEO of the family business, accepted the bet of an academic partner, having weighed up the investment risks first. He has declared himself confident and enriched by this experience as well by the exchange of knowledge between the Research Centres and his company.

Producing electricity in Streams FORS, the research centre associated to the University College HENALLUX, developed a water turbine wheel to be installed in small waterways which have a small gradient (1 to 2m), therefore allowing the production of 1 to 5kW of power. This installation is 100% adjustable to different water depths and has the distinctive feature of being easily transportable. .

Maths for all The department of Teaching and Applied Mathematics Research of the Francisco Ferrer University College conducts research based on didactic interest in mathematical games, exploring the playful and educational potential of digital media. This research has resulted in the online publication of several educational materials and training tools, the development of classroom animations and communication during events.

A Spin-off under construction at the UC Charlemagne In the UC environment, the creation of a Spin-off is a rare but nevertheless completely possible outcome. Proof of which is that a research project aimed to produce and market a range of food supplements for animals. Thanks to the purple bacteria, one can influence the egg yolk coloration and provide interesting nutritional and vitamin properties not only for the hens, but also for the final consumer.

An app to study mobility MOBILOC was developed to collect and, through a platform, analyse data about mobility flows in the Luxembourg province. The purpose of this app is to anonymously process information on the movements of its users, and then to translate this into statistical data and thus propose alternative transport solutions for getting from A to B.


Simulation laboratories to aid training The project aims to build, with the nursing, midwifery and/or medical students, validated simulation scenarios which will then generate evidence-based care protocols. These will be submitted to professionals in the field as an ongoing training method.

Biapp - the app to identify fish The technology being proposed is for the development of an app which will transform visiting the aquarium into an interactive and fun experience. The Biapp app will use graphic techniques and animations to represent the organisms there in a very realistic way. The game was built referring to the concept of “a serious game”.

Preventing discrimination in the classroom This research looks into the different treatments that pupils receive according to their ethnicity. The objectives are to identify the mechanisms of ethnicisation identity that are used in relationships at school in order to defuse them and to develop and distribute tools (training and methods of raising-awareness) adapted to teachers in the educational category of the University College.

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Innovation in hydrometallurgy for the biological recovery of metals The Meurice Research and Development centre has developed the SIMORGH project, an innovative technology based on the principle of cell encapsulation to obtain a high yield in metal extraction, with almost no chemicals. The immobilisation offers a simpler and more efficient alternative to the conventional ‘two step bioleaching’ processes.

Producing plant extracts rich in tyrosinase inhibitors The ROOT-IT project aims to develop an innovative technology for the production and purification of plant extracts rich in tyrosinase inhibitors, by producing fast-growing roots at a pilot-scheme level (50kg).

How to deal with contradictory injunctions? This research stems from a tension which arises in the professional lives of practitioners of specialised education and in the literature regarding delivering aid jobs: a divergence, even sometimes a brutal collision between, on one hand, the aims of specialised education, and on the other, the evolution towards a management society.


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Š Thales Alenia Space Belgium


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Skywin: Collaborative innovation and operational excellence An interview with Mr Etienne POURBAIX, Director of the Skywin competitiveness cluster is to develop components and know-how needed to produce reliable and efficient compact instruments of observation, and thus propose to the market a very compact and innovative observation instrument.

an you tell us about the Skywin cluster’s goals CAs and strategy? with all of the business clusters in Wallonia,

© Skywin

Skywin’s goal is to bring together all of the players in industry, research and training in our sector, aerospace. The cluster also runs both of our project tenders every year in terms of R&D, training and investment. Additionally, we are active on an international level, where we can hone our aerospace expertise in other countries, take part in trade shows with AWEX, promote B2B meetings and develop partnerships with international consortiums. Finally, Skywin works to defend the interests of the Walloon aerospace sector when dealing with the ESA and the Ministry of Defence in particular.

Created from the bottom up with our members in 2006 and rebuilt in 2013, our strategy is based around 6 key axes: composite materials and industrial processes, metallic alloys and industrial processes, on-board systems, airport services, space systems and applications, modelling and simulation. Besides, the “drone” component was added in 2016 to two of these 6 axes: “on-board systems” and “space and drone systems”. Here we focus on the integration of particular sensors on drones and the development of data processing systems in order to make the most of the obvious synergy between space and drone applications. As you can see, our strategy can adapt to new challenges and incorporate current technological developments.

Additionally, two innovative collaboration projects focusing on the development of tools and methods for aerospace additive manufacturing were approved on the 2nd of July 2015 as part of our 13th project tender: AERO+, headed by SAFRAN Aero Boosters and FASAMA, headed by Sonaca. And let us not forget the projects submitted to the 2016 call for projects: many of them targetted additive manufacturing for aerospace applications.

Can you talk to us about your training activities? Since it was founded, Skywin has provided more than 200,000 hours of training. In the first phase, the cluster approved several training projects which were directly linked to R&D projects. This was especially true for a project currently near completion which was connected to the ACP project: designed for technicians and engineers, it covered the use of digital modelling tools for composite materials.

Can you run us through a few examples of innovative and collaborative projects approved by the cluster? Out of the 38 R&D projects approved for the 15 project tenders, I would choose two of them: the ACP (for aircraft and composites, see text box 1) and ACTIO. Approved during the project tender in 2009, ACTIO is headed by Deltatec, a SME, in partnership with 2 other industrial groups (AMOS, Spacebel) and 2 research organisations (Ulg-CSL and UCL) for a total budget of €3 million.

© Courtesy of Safran Aero Boosters

The objective of the ACTIO project is to respond to the evolution of observation instruments towards more commercial environments by addressing two areas of research: increase the spatial resolution of the instruments while keeping them in microsatellites; and develop economically attractive solutions, applicable to many commercial spatial RFI. Specifically, the project aims at: determining a bold and unprecedented mechanical solution to enable a microsatellite PROBA-type to host a optical observation instrument with high resolution; providing solutions to the difficult issues of selecting a component-based instrument adapted to globalized business environments; studying the components of instruments optimized in terms of price and performance, specifically targeting optical mirrors and electronics; validating all components of the instrument for a high resolution extension. The purpose of the project

The manufacture of composite components is taking on special significance, and requires completely flawless production methods. Here is part of a composite booster, designed by Safran Aero Boosters.

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© Courtesy of SABCA

The members of the Skywin clusters make a significant contribution to various programmes led by Airbus. Here, a “Lower Shell” can be seen under a large piece of A380 fuselage, produced by SABCA in Brussels.

© Courtesy of Cenco International

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Skywin members’ activities also include the design and construction of aircraft motor test beds.

Following the overhaul of our strategy in 2013, Skywin opted for a different approach: going directly to see the 20 most active members and assessing their training requirements with them. This approach was implemented in collaboration with our training partner WAN (Wallonia Aerotraining Network), and concluded with the development of CAMPUSS, a framework project with a budget of more than €4 million.

The latest investment project which we approved on the 2nd of July 2015, as part of the 13th project tender, was the SOBINV2. This is headed by Sobelcomp, a small business active in the composite materials sector, which is growing through the acquisition of new premises. It certainly looks like small Walloon businesses believe in the future of the aeronautics and space sector!

CAMPUSS can be broken down into 3 key areas: hard skills (training engineers to use new simulation tools – CAD); operational excellence (to improve production competitiveness) and soft skills, much in demand from our members (project and team management, negotiation with partners and suppliers, stress management, etc.). CAMPUSS was launched in 2014 for 4 years with a management committee including ten industrial establishments. Arrived mid-term, this great example of Skywin’s bottom-up approach will now focus more specifically on SMEs and the 4.0 industry, the impact of which will be huge on industrial processes and training. That is why Skywin will associate with other Walloon competitiveness clusters in 2017 in order to develop a training offer that will allow our regional economy to make the transition to the 4.0 industry.

What kind of services do you offer your members? We ensure full and permanent technological oversight, with the organisation of regular technological conferences based around specific themes. For these events, we invite guest speakers with experience in some of the finest organisations, frequently from abroad. These conferences are perfect vehicles for brainstorming, and frequently bear the fruit of ideas for collaborative projects. Next, we work to monitor how projects are started up, offering coaching services for the development and completion of a project (which often involves finding the right consortium with the right research partners). The aim is to give the project the best possible chance of being selected.

We should also talk about the approval, as part of the 13th project tender, of an excellence training project for mechanical development and assembly processes: FOREX, headed by Sonaca and WAN.

Skywin in facts and figures - 150 members, including around 115 industrial members (more than 90 small to mid-sized businesses). This covers 95% of the Walloon aerospace sector, and thirty research and formation organisations,

What can you tell us about the investment projects approved by the cluster? In contrast to our collaborative projects, investment projects are headed up by a single player in line with a strategic development plan. For the past eighteen months, we have seen very high demand for these investment projects. They were especially visible during our last project tender: 6 small businesses submitted an investment project. This is proof that the sector is growing and that it is reinvesting in production means (building extensions, new testing equipment acquisitions, etc.) to meet increasing demand.

- A cumulative turnover of €1.7 billion (80% in aeronautics and 20% in space), - 7,000 direct industrial employees, - 67 approved projects (38 in R&D, 19 in investment, 10 in training) for a budget of €222 million (€141 million of which coming from public funding).

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© Courtesy of CAPAUL

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Productivity and excellence in terms of aeronautical component manufacture are key factors which enable Walloon SMEs to take their place on the world stage.

As for exports, we take charge of tracking and coordination for major international trade shows (Le Bourget in France, the 2017 edition of which bodes well with more than 50 registrations in October 2016, that is 7 months before the event, as compared with the 48 participants in 2016, Farnborough International Airshow in England, Singapore Airshow, etc.). How we represent our cluster abroad is always in line with the expectations of our members, even if we frequently dare to take part in new trade shows to prospect new markets. The cluster also offers its members a market tracking service, enabling them to freely access the excellent market studies performed by Frost and Sullivan.

ACP: framework-building project for composite materials Approved during our first project tender in 2007 and headed by Sonaca, the ACP research and training project (aircraft plus composite) has brought together 8 industrial partners and 7 research organisations for a total budget of €19.3 million (€15.3 million for R&D and €4 million for training). Their objective: to develop the composite materials industry in Wallonia. ACP opened the door for 10 other projects aiming at integrating composite technologies in production workshops in order to increase the efficiency of industrial processes.

I should also highlight the MACH initiative, inspired by a project launched in Quebec in 2011. Using our collaboration with the Aéro-Montréal aerospace group, we decided to create an initiative in Wallonia to support local businesses and help them increase their overall levels of quality in terms of both operational excellence and supplier-contractor relations. The principle behind this approach, jointly financed by the government of Wallonia, is simple: a major purchaser sponsors a small business, which agrees to follow an in-depth improvement plan in order to meet increasingly demanding tenders. As part of this Walloon initiative, 4 small businesses were selected in 2014. Their feedback has been very positive: on one hand, they form a privileged relationship with their sponsor, and on the other, they learn about their internal organisational problems which they can then work to overcome. The MACH initiative was relaunched late 2015 to form a second cohort: 4 SMEs have

This is most notably the case with Tecshpace Aero, which launched several composite material projects with applications for boosters, carters and drum components. These projects have led to products which are now on route to the market. This technological road map, which is moving closer and closer to the market, can also be used for the development of increasingly commercial and increasingly compact satellites, and for additive manufacturing in the field of metallic compounds (with 3 projects set up alongside the MecaTech cluster).

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joined the initiative and 2 of the first 4 selected SMEs decided to start a new coaching process. For the first time, non Walloon purchasers volunteered to coach the Walloon SMEs. That speaks volumes about the MACH initiative’s increasing visibility. Additionally, the cluster organises an annual series of small seminars with high-profile guest speakers (Boeing, Airbus…), who present the strategic future of their company in front of an audience of industrial professionals. These events enable our members to strengthen their networks and benefit from high-flying training programmes. Lastly, Skywin represents Walloon industrial companies to improve cooperation in the field of military activities: when a contract comes up, potential foreign suppliers have an active interest in learning about the Walloon economy. As such, they can use the cluster to learn about the sector and come into contact with Walloon industrial companies through B2B meetings. This helps Walloon companies increase their visibility.

to visit Wallonia… while we wait for more tangible results. We apply the same patience in our collaboration with the Samara region in Russia – a collaboration which is difficult to get back on track, given the current political climate. However, our cluster is ready and waiting for business to resume between the European Union and Russia. In the meantime, Skywin took advantage of the 2015 edition of Le Bourget air show to sign 2 new agreements: one with Luxemburg (in the space sector), and the other with the Pays de la Loire region via the EMC2 competitiveness cluster, one of the organisers of the Composites Meetings in Nantes in November 2015. Skywin was there. Also as part of the aftereffect of the 2015 edition of Le Bourget air show, Skywin is striving to develop space collaborations with the American state of Alabama, namely Huntsville, which hosts a NASA campus.

How are you implementing your international development policy? Skywin has signed 8 agreements with international consortiums. On a European level, the cluster is a member of the EACP (European Aerospace Cluster Partnership), a place to exchange good working practices, share experience gleaned from international trade fairs and much more. The EACP also plays a role in the representation of its members in smaller trade fairs where they may not wish to make an appearance. Moreover, the EACP has at its disposal teams working on governance problems, economic and technical problems, technological development strategies and other issues. Furthermore, they provide a discussion platform for the constitution of consortiums with the aim of participating in European projects (Horizon 2020, CleanSky).

In short, the cluster is striving to maintain and cultivate our various collaborative projects, even if they don’t always bear fruit immediately. Setting up partnerships abroad is just the first step, but we’re just facilitators after all! For you, what are the major issues yet to come in terms of research and training in the aerospace industry? Our sector is facing the advent of the 4.0 industry at all levels of the supply chain: the ongoing digitalisation is blurring the boundary between the design office and the production floor. Engineers and workers will have to learn to work together more than ever before. This is also true for aspects related to maintenance. A genuine cultural change is underway and Skywin is ready to play its part to help its members cope with it. The greatest challenge will undoubtedly be to raise SMEs’ awareness of this evolution: if they don’t jump on the bandwagon they will ultimately be thrown out of the supply chain.

The Skywin cluster has also entered into bilateral partnerships. This is the case with our French counterpart, Aerospace Valley, based in Toulouse. The final objective of this partnership is to implement joint projects to fulfil project tenders in both Wallonia and France. I should mention that since the end of 2014, the Walloon Government has opened up project tenders to nonWalloon industrial and academic partners. Thanks to this, we predict a number of beneficial and innovative research collaborations. For instance, Skywin and Aerospace Valley are taking part in the European project « Abroad »: the aim of this project is to help SMEs to develop largest export activities, i.e. beyond European boundaries. In this prospect, a number of countries has been selected (Brasil, Japan, the American West Coast, Mexico) and each member of the project was assigned one of the target countries in order to organize a prospecting mission before taking European SMEs on site. Skywin was assigned Brasil: we will perform a prospecting mission early in 2017 and hope to return with SMEs at the end of 2017.

Another major issue is the acceleration of our production rate: Airbus has imposed a near doubling rate in 3 years, forcing production units to speed up while maintaining their technological skills. That is why there were so many investment projects submitted in 2015: production capacity had to be increased rapidly. The entire supply chain is affected by this trend: everyone will have to maintain full operational excellence and implement production improvements across the board - while remaining competitive, of course.

Similarly, Skywin has started to collaborate with the other French competitiveness cluster, ASTech Paris Region. The vicepresident of ASTech is also a member of our project selection jury… but of course, is sworn to confidentiality! © Courtesy of Safran Aero Boosters

Quebec also plays a part in our international development project. I’ve already talked about Aéro-Montréal, but they are not our only local partner: we’ve also signed an agreement with CRIAQ (the aerospace research and innovation consortium in Quebec). And if you’re not worried about going a little further afield, we’ve also signed a contract with the SIATI, a group of Indian aeronautics companies. As such, we have organised visits for Walloon industrial partners in India, we’ve participated in the Aero India trade show and invited Indian industrial groups

The manufacture of high-value components in the space sector is also the speciality of some of the Skywin members in Wallonia. Here is a “butterfly” valve from a VULCAIN motor for Ariane.

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Thales Alenia Space Belgium For over 50 years, Thales Alenia Space Belgium has been number 1 in Belgium for electronic space applications for satellites and launchers.

Our satellites open up new horizons

Leader in power distribution aboard satellites, Thales Alenia Space Belgium supplies essential equipment for satellite platforms.

A key player in European aerospace in the areas of telecommunications, navigation, earth observation, exploration and the construction of orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a Joint-Venture between the Thales group (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%). Together with Telespazio, Thales Alenia Space makes up the Space Alliance and offers a full range of solutions and services. Thanks to its expertise in dual missions, constellations, flexible payloads, altimetry, meteorology and optical and high-resolution observation, Thales Alenia Space is the natural choice of industrial partner for assisting countries in the development of their space programmes. Thales Alenia Space had a turnover of over €2 billion in 2015 and employs 7,500 people in 8 countries.

As world leader in power conditioning and distribution aboard satellites, the range of products covers the needs of micro-satellites as well as large geostationary satellites used in telecommunications, observation, navigation, exploration and meteorology. Thales Alenia Space Belgium is also at the forefront of electronic flight products: power supply for plasma thrusters, power supply for travelling wave tubes, DC/DC converters and other specialised electrical products like the PCU. The PCU (Power Conditioning Unit) is the electrical core of the satellite that manages the electrical energy between the solar panels, the batteries and the different equipment of the satellite.

Power electronics for the space industry, our core area

Aboard all European launchers

In Belgium, Thales Alenia Space is represented by its subsidiary Thales Alenia Space Belgium in Charleroi and Leuven. With a turnover of €71.5 million in 2014, Thales Alenia Space Belgium has expertise in several high-tech areas. Thales Alenia Space Belgium is Belgium’s number 1 for electronic space applications for satellites and launchers, a world leader in power conditioning and distribution for satellite and the biggest supplier of electronics for European launchers. Our staff of 700 offer high-quality products and services day after day to our customers throughout the world.

Thales Alenia Space Belgium is the largest supplier of electronics aboard Ariane 5. It designs and manufactures over 50% of its electronics for each Ariane. These items support the following functions: on-board power distribution, aborting of the launcher in the event of an incorrect trajectory, control of the nozzles to keep the launcher on trajectory, calculation of the launcher’s position in space and separation of the stages of the Ariane and the fairing that protects the satellites in flight. The company Thales Alenia Space Belgium also participate in development of the safeguard system for Ariane 6. The Russian launcher Soyouz also counts on Thales Alenia Space Belgium for its safeguard system, the only system to be provided by Europe. The Soyouz launched from French Guiana are actually equipped with our safeguard system, allowing the motors to be shut down if it deviates from its trajectory. The company is also contributing to the production of the small European launcher Vega.

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Future Plans

Ariane family, 1 to 5

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One of the major objectives of Thales Alenia Space is to enjoy the benefits of the competitiveness programme now in place for 3 years to respond to market changes and breakthroughs coming from overseas. For this, Alenia Thales Space is launching new products on the commercial market. In the field of telecommunications, Spacebus NEO, a new range of geostationary satellite platforms from Thales Alenia Space, fully meets the demands of launcher


© Thales Alenia Space Belgium

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Cutting-edge technology

Our competences at the service of the space industry

competition, flexibility and multi-compatibility expected by operators and will include an all-electric version. Thales Alenia Space offers new products in the area of Earth observation - Earth-Observer optic and export radar. For this, Thales Alenia Space relies on the contribution of its Belgian subsidiary with its development of the DPC (Digital Programmable Controller), new technology that will be embedded in the new generation of avionic equipment destined for the Neo Spacebus and the dream products of Thales Alenia Space in the areas of optic observation and high-resolution radar, or scientific missions like EXOMARS. The DPC component, 100% European, both digital and analogue, is a real technological breakthrough for the space industry.

THE IDEAL HIGH-TECH PARTNERSHIP Thales Alenia Space Belgium offers a complete range of quality technological skills, technical expertise, services and tools as well as high-performance manufacturing sites and extensive experience in applications and equipment that require high-level reliability.

Thales Alenia Space Belgium

✓ World leader in power conditioning and distribution aboard satellites ✓ Europe’s no. 1 in electronics for launchers ✓ Over 50 years of experience ✓ High capacity for innovation ✓ High-performance production capacity ✓ Quality, reliability, flexibility ✓ Member of a large international group.

A further objective is to capitalise the company’s expertise in low-orbit constellations in order to get involved in new upcoming projects. Thales Alenia Space has what it takes to meet the challenges of tomorrow in this area. Thanks to their contribution to constellations such as Globalstar, Iridium, Galileo and O3B, Thales Alenia Space Belgium has become the world leader in power conditioning and distribution aboard satellites. The opening of the new Thales Alenia Belgium site in Leuven is also in line with Thales Alenia Space’s strategic plan that consists of strengthening its presence in key countries with high levels of investment in the space industry. The aim is to generate new synergies with small-to-medium businesses, scientific laboratories or universities in order to stimulate innovation. In terms of investment, Thales Alenia Space Belgium is devoting a significant part of its turnover to R&D. The Belgian branch increased its share in R&D by 26% between 2014 and 2015. Belgian and Walloon investment in aerospace also involves providing support to Thales Alenia Space Belgium enabling the development of new products and the generation of sales on the commercial market that can increase the impact of public investment.

Thales Alenia Space Belgium Rue Chapelle Beaussart, 101 - B-6032 Mont-sur-Marchienne Tel.: +32 (0)71 44 22 11 - Fax: +32 (0)71 44 22 00 Email: info.belgium@thalesaleniaspace.com http://www.thalesaleniaspace.com 103


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BioWin: Providing growth for SMEs in the health sector in Wallonia An interview with Mrs Sylvie PONCHAUT, Managing Director of the BioWin competitiveness cluster emergence/development of R&D projects; developing expertise; developing companies in international markets; developing networks and largescale structuring projects.

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hat are the key figures for the biotech and medtech sectors in Wallonia? With 22,000 hospital beds, the health sector in Wallonia is the European leader in Phase I of the clinical trials. It also has total private expenditure of 1.2 billion euros on R&D. Over the period 2005-2015, 995 million euros of private capital was raised by 143 SMEs who were members of BioWin. The health sector in Wallonia also weighs heavily in terms of jobs: 48,000 direct and indirect jobs. Finally, it stands out for its favourable tax environment, financial incentives to support R&D and a unique location for logistics at the heart of Europe.

As part of the deployment of the Marshall Plan 4.0, BioWin is focusing on internationalization and interdisciplinarity in order to promote these strategic goals. The cluster will be offering its members new opportunities for R&D collaboration with the best ecosystems in the world, near or far (Flanders, Massachusetts, Israel, etc.) and will be providing help to set up European projects.

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Could you talk to us about the cluster’s strategy? Smart specialization, an international outlook and technological leadership: that’s BioWin’s triple goal for 2015-2020. The cluster’s role is to accelerate innovation to respond to the public health challenges of the future and to develop knowledge, jobs and the competitiveness of everyone involved in the health sector ecosystem in Wallonia. By 2020, BioWin aims to make Wallonia a region internationally known for its world-class academic, clinical and industrial research environment in the cluster’s technological domains.

We are also planning to internationalize the Training department. BioWin will be identifying the best training programmes abroad linked to its members’ activities and to the key technological domains in our region. The cluster will also be recruiting the best international trainers.

To add to the value chains and consolidate the ecosystem, the work done by BioWin in close collaboration with AWEX to attract foreign investors will be reinforced. To ensure consistency with the smart specialization strategies deployed in Europe, BioWin will be giving priority to areas of activity and technology sectors in which Wallonia has competitive advantages on a world scale.

To take up these challenges, BioWin will continue to follow the strategic goals that it deployed at the outset: supporting the

This strategy should enable us to develop our 4 areas of academic and clinical excellence (immunology, oncology, cardiovascular diseases and neurology), consolidate our 7 areas of industrial excellence (biopharmacy/vaccines, biomanufacturing, radiations applied to health, cell therapy, implanted medical devices, nonimplanted medical devices & instruments, in vitro & in vivo diagnostics) and incorporate our 3 areas of interdisciplinarity: digital technologies, cross-sectoral technologies and healthcare.

Key figures for the BioWin cluster (2015) - 7 world leaders and 143 SMEs; - 7 accredited research centres; - 5 universities with 400 research units, 11,000 researchers and 3 university hospitals; - 36 R&D projects that have involved 214 partners, generated 104 patents, helped to create 5 companies and developed 39 products and 14 services for a total budget (public and private) of 114.08 M€; - Support for the creation of 3 technology platforms and a network of bio-banks; - 3 technological partnerships with the United States; - 4 technological and commercial partnerships with China; - 17 granted training projects for a total of EUR 29,6 million, specific trainings followed by 15.000 people to develop technical, scientific and managerial skills to support the growth and competitiveness of the sector. A one-stop shopping platform including continuous trainings in Wallonia for the Health sector. Advisory support from the Skills Development Department.

What services do you offer your members? BioWin covers over 90% of the health biotechnologies and medical technologies sector in Wallonia. The cluster therefore has a clear view of the technological value chains and an indepth knowledge of the stakeholders in the region. This allows it to offer its members the most appropriate services in terms of R&D, internationalization, skills development and technology platforms. With regard to R&D, BioWin combines the accompaniment of projects arising from regional and international calls, from emergence to commercialization, with one-off assistance to SMEs and start-ups to support their economic development.

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The Cardiatis Multilayer Flow Modulator (MFM®) represents a paradigm shift in the treatment of aneurysms.

Looking at internationalization, the cluster works with the world’s most innovative regions to help its members find the best partners. It focuses on networks and partnerships, forging links with clusters and/or science parks, identifies the technological domains in which the members of each entity can develop collaborative projects and carries out an initial selection of the entities that may be of interest to Walloon members. One of the real advantages of the cluster is the personalized, individual support that members receive from BioWin’s representatives in Europe (Italy, Switzerland, France…), the United States (Massachusetts) and China, to help them meet the partners they need to drive their technological and/or commercial development.

Could you give us a few examples of R&D projects that have been awarded the cluster label? In the “CANTOL” project, iTeos and These innovations, which were made possible with the support of UCB, UNamur and UCL, have been protected by patents.

The cluster also works to support human capital, a strategic focus for supporting its members’ innovation and growth through the following actions: contributing towards the forward management of skills and talents within each sector, encouraging consistency in the region’s training initiatives, supporting the development of a regional skills/talents pool, helping to create bridges between university courses and the industrial world, organizing calls for regional training projects and helping to sustain the services/programmes developed for these purposes. As leader of the BioPharE project that led to the creation of a catalogue containing the training offer of several training establishments operating in Wallonia, BioWin is always ready to provide its members with guidance on their intra-company training needs, issues and goals.

Another promising project led by the start-up in collaboration with Eppendorf Array Technologies, Euro genetec, UCL, ULg and ULB, “RHEUMAGENE” aimed to develop a reliable and discriminating early diagnostic test for rheumatoid polyarthritis (and different forms of undifferentiated arthritis) in order to be able to prescribe the most appropriate treatment and limit the progression of the disease’s disabling symptoms to the minimum. This led to the production of the “Rheumakit”, a molecular diagnostics kit sold in Europe since 2014 and supported by a secure Web platform with a reliability level of over 90%. Today, DNAlytics is looking to go further and develop a predictive treatment response method. As a result of the European funding that it has just received, DNAlytics could soon be carrying out a clinical study of a thousand patients in Europe.

Finally, the cluster encourages and accompanies innovation platform projects and collective infrastructure projects that aim to fill a gap in the development of the biomedical activity in Wallonia. It has helped to set up 3 platforms for cell therapy, proton therapy and big data and a network of bio-banks.

Could you give us a few examples of training projects that have been awarded the cluster label? I’d like to highlight BioWin’s efforts to encourage sandwich training courses, which have a key role in promoting consistency between academic courses and industrial requirements.

DelphiGenetics has capitalized on the “DNAVac” cluster project to join forces with the American company AXAXIA to develop an original technology for immunizing cows with a view to producing antibodies to treat inflammatory intestinal pathologies in humans. The project offers Delphi Genetics a dual advantage: it provides an entry into the American market and an opportunity to develop biopharmaceutical products.

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The aim of the training project is to set up a collaboration programme between higher education establishments and companies in order to improve the provision of sandwich training. If we can close the gap between the needs of companies and higher education courses (bachelors’ and masters’), we will be helping graduates and companies by improving the specific skills that the companies require.

Walbiostent: a multidisciplinary research programme Led by 2 industrial partners (Cardiatis, coordinator and Bio.be) and 3 academic partners (UMons, Charleroi University Hospital and UNamur), the Walbiostent project aimed to develop a revolutionary multi-layer stent or flow modulator (MFM) to treat cerebral aneurysms and a medical system for minimizing the risk of thrombosis.

The launch in 2008 of the Masters’ sandwich degree course in industrial science, specializing in Analytical Engineering, by the Haute Ecole Louvain en Hainaut and the launch of 5 pilot Masters’ sandwich degree course experiments in 2011 were both moves in the right direction. We now hope that these Masters’ course will become part of the fabric of the educational institutions that have monitored the experiment and that the idea of sandwich training will be extended to other higher education establishments and even universities. Sandwich training offers real added value to higher education as it creates synergies between companies, the Hautes Ecoles and students through the exchange of information, experiences and projects.

The project was completed in August 2012 after 45 months, and led to a tubular metal mesh-like structure used to regulate blood circulation and reduce pressure while maintaining the permeability of the arteries and lateral branches. The technology developed by Cardiatis is covered by 9 patents and has been commercialized in Europe and South America. Over 4,600 cases of aneurysms have been treated worldwide since the stent was invented. The company recruited forty people and raised nearly 15 M€ between 2009 and 2014. Since then, Cardiatis has developed ˝Core Lab˝, which uses digital simulation techniques to process patient data and provide the doctor with a customized stent and recommendations for fitting it. Today, the company is aiming to broaden the applications of its MFM technology to reduce the risk of cerebral embolisms. This will require the BioWin R&D project consortium to develop a new type of stent known as ˝EMPEROR˝: the project was awarded the label in June 2015 and has received funding of 4.9 M€.

What partnerships have you developed in Europe and abroad? BioWin has signed an initial partnership with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) and developed 3 joint R&D projects between BioWin members and Massachusetts SMEs. The cluster also signed a number of agreements in October 2015: one with CQDM, a Canadian precompetitive research consortium that finances the development of innovative technologies and tools to improve the productivity of biopharmaceutical R&D and accelerate the process of discovering and developing safer, more effective drugs; and Alsace BioValley,

a French competitiveness cluster. Today this latter agreement led to the funding of one R&D project between an Alsatian and Walloon SME. Since many years, BioWin has also developed several collaborations and concrete matchmaking activities with European clusters (Lyonbiopole, Atlanpole Biotherapies, Eurobiomed, Medicen, BioAlps, etc.) and maintains close links with the Israeli R&D ecosystem, which is very complementary to the Walloon ecosystem. Thanks to its implication into several European networks (CEBR, EDCA, etc.),

© MaSTherCell

What do you think is the BioWin cluster’s greatest success story? I’d like to point to the success of an entire sector: cell therapy. The sector is led by 5 very rapidly growing companies: Celyad, Bone Therapeutics, Promethera Biosciences, Novadip Biosciences and MaSTherCell (cf. boxed article 3). This concentration of world-class players is supported by a dedicated technology platform; it’s quite exceptional and augurs well for Wallonia’s increasing attractiveness in a promising sector for the regional economy.

MaSTherCell is representative of the boom in cell therapy in Wallonia.

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challenge is to integrate the industry 4.0 concept in order to reindustrialize Europe. This is an important part of the Marshall Plan 4.0 and we must build it into our R&D projects and structures. It’s crucial to the future of our economy and competitiveness.

BioWin reinforces its visibility strategy and more importantly its smart specialization strategy (cell therapy, radiopharma, vaccines, etc.) and our members’ technologies. What do you think are the great challenges to come for the Walloon biotech and medtech sector? I see three. The first is an absolute necessity to support and fund high-quality upstream research, in other words fundamental research, because that’s where the future therapeutic applications will come from. This is a crucial European issue. The second challenge, for Wallonia and the European Union, is to create a context that favours the growth of SMEs. Wallonia’s SMEs currently employ an average of 30 to 50 people; they could rise to between 200 and 400 employees if the government were to introduce the right tax incentives and financial instruments. Finally, the third

MaSTherCell: the rise of cell therapy in Wallonia To respond to the request of the 3 industrial stakeholders in Wallonia at different stages of development in the field of cell therapy, the Walloon government authorized the BioWin cluster to set up an infrastructure to manufacture cell therapy products (Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization, CDMO).

© BioWin

The project led to the creation of MaSTherCell. MaSTherCell offers a broad range of services linked to cell therapy and is also an attraction for European and international cell therapy companies looking to commercialize their products in Europe. Hence the recent acquisition of MaSTherCell by the Israeli company Orgenesis: MaSTherCell consolidates its position in Wallonia while Orgenesis benefits from Wallonia’s cell therapy expertise. A win-win agreement that further increases Wallonia’s visibility on the international scene.

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Logistics in Wallonia: A strong relationship between companies and universities has become part of our DNA An interview with Mr Bernard PIETTE, Director of the Logistics in Wallonia competitiveness cluster

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© Logistics in Wallonia

hat are the key figures for the logistics sector and the strengths of Wallonia as a European logistics hub? It is difficult to cite figures for the logistics sector, since its parameters lack clear delineation: logistics remains a highly transversal discipline. It is customary to say that all industrial enterprises have logistics, and that enterprises dedicate between seven and fifteen percent of their resources to this function. According to the Logistics Performance Index, in 2016 Belgium ranked sixth (after being third in 2014) in the world. This achievement results from its ideal location in the European market, its leading infrastructures (like the port of Antwerp or the Liège airport), and the presence of all four modes of transport (rail, road, waterway and air) that allows enterprises to utilize a complete and integrated model without failures in the supply chain.

Could you highlight the cluster's strategy? I would like to begin by pointing out that when setting up the Marshall Plan, the Government defined a series of strategic objectives and assigned responsibility for their implementation to the competitive clusters, depending of the sector of activity concerned. The Marshall Plan, therefore, seems to be a successful alliance between the public and private sector and the bottom up/top down approach. Today, a strong relationship between companies and universities has become part of our DNA.

The Logistics in Wallonia cluster has reshaped its strategy in April 2015 in response to the rising number and the diversity of its members (some develop electronic sensors; some others propose innovative mobility solutions for the people…). This strategy is being implemented at the moment. Our strategy relies on one vision, one mission and five strategic axes. Our vision: we want Wallonia to be the reference for logistics and innovation in terms of mobility, for the benefit of all players. Our job means to strengthen and sustain the logistic attractiveness in Wallonia. With this in mind, Logistics in Wallonia involves the stakeholders in an innovation process, anticipates probable technological, nontechnological and environmental changes, and activates the resources required to the creation of value and activities. This explains the five strategic pillars; e.g., innovation, business community, management and development of human capital, international, marketing and communication. This strategy incorporates a new visual identity for the cluster with a new logo and a new baseline: “connectmoveshare”: connecting people, enterprises and regions, moving both people and commercial goods, sharing our research results, our expertise and our best practices.

© Logistics in Wallonia

Could you briefly outline the Logistics in Wallonia offer of services? Our main objective desires to encourage the emergence of projects, from conception right through to final implementation.

Aerial view of Trilogiport

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Our team then identifies project ideas, accompanies the selected ideas throughout their formation, and certification processes. It also develops accompanying measures for the development of collaborative projects whose functioning remains little known to organizations. It also fulfills the role of moderating and facilitating relations to ensure proper


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Winners of the 2014 Lean and Green initiative

to do. This is the case of drugs. To detect a fake drug, one should take it out of its packaging, grind it and analyze its active ingredient. In addition the test is destructive, because one can no longer administer the drug hereafter.

implementation of the project. Finally, it proposes its communication services to ensure added value to the project results. Could you tell us something about the R&D projects certified by Logistics in Wallonia? Historically, the cluster developed two main categories of research projects: railway technologies and IT applications in logistics. Logistics comprises three distinct flow types: transport flows, flow of information and cash flows. The future challenge lies clearly in the flow of information, which becomes increasingly complex with the advent of the “Internet of things,” and in ensuring consistency among these three flows.

In order to solve this problem, the Walloon BiiON company decided to innovate with the collaboration of ULg and ULB’s research departments as well as 3 companies: Guardis, Arlenda and Taipro. Their goal is to develop a technique to get the "fingerprint" of a drug. Their solution will enable to deliver the veracity of a drug without destroying it, without opening the box and within seconds. Thus, the monitoring will be possible throughout the entire supply chain. It will also be possible to know quickly if the drug is still effective. Indeed, a drug that has been poorly preserved can be administered but will not be effective because its active ingredient has been destroyed.

I would like to highlight two ongoing research projects. The first one is MOBITS (MOBility oriented intelligent Transport System). This project aims to contribute, via an intelligent transportation system to improve and streamline urban mobility, thus encouraging a modal shift from car to public transport. The project led by Thales Belgium SA was filed with the Walloon Government in the framework of the 11th call for innovation projects.

This innovation would not be possible without the support of the Walloon Government. Under the Marshall Plan 4.0, financial aid for innovation has been implemented and are boosting projects led by Walloon companies. These projects enable value creation in Wallonia and above all job creation.

A Belgian subsidiary of the French multinational company, Thales Belgium SA has formed a consortium of Walloon companies, each contributing to the MOBITS project, proving by the way the strenghth of Walloon expertise in the field. The consortium consists of two large companies (Thales and SRWT), two smaller ones (Eonix and Vetasoft) and two accredited research centers (Multitel and Cetic).

What initiatives have been taken in the area of training? In our sector as well as in others, the difficulty resides in matching education provision to the real market demand. Training operators have sometimes a truncated vision of the market's demand. The Logistics in Wallonia cluster has thus decided to develop an external and detailed vision of the above market by analyzing some 5,000 employment opportunities in Wallonia and in Brussels, published on the Internet between 2012 and 2016. This analysis resulted in the publication of a first brochure back in December 2014: “Employment in the Transport and Logistics sectors in the French-speaking part of Belgium.” Its conclusion remains the same today: the professionals of the supply chain do recruit but they represent only 20% of the employment offer. The other 80% concern industrial companies such as retail, food and pharmaceutical industries, without forgetting the new players that are public

Eventually, MOBITS will give birth to an integrated, dynamic information system. It will allow passengers and public transport operators to have a perfect view of transport supply available in real time. Beyond the product, jobs will be created by this project: more than 70 jobs are planned from 2017 on. The second project deals with forgery. Entitled Vibra4Fake, it started from an observation: counterfeiting is a thorn in many industries. If for some, it is easy to differentiate right from wrong, for others, this difference is tedious and complicated

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Jean-Claude Marcourt, Walloon Minister of Economy and Bernard Piette, Director of Logistics in Wallonia

organizations, starting with hospitals anxious to optimize flow management in order to minimize financial losses. This information now makes itself available to the actors of professional training (FOREM, universities, colleges and universities) with which we have developed excellent discussions. The objective, in the long term, is to take into account the results disclosed by the brochure in order to improve the training offer… even if it will take some time! In the meantime, the Logistics in Wallonia cluster intends to turn this work into an observatory of vacancies in logistics.

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What partnerships did you develop? Logistics in Wallonia has developed regular relations with counterpart poles and clusters in Flanders (see the project “Lean & Green”), in France, Germany, and related areas. The cluster also developed contacts with logistical associations in Poland (via WBI), Turkey and China. We remain concerned about Poland for several reasons: investment in logistics is high and enjoys a good interaction with Russia through its rail network, thus making possible the elaboration of innovative projects. Turkey represents another large marketplace, with an ideal position between Asia and Europe. In addition, thanks to its accession process to the European Union, Turkey can take part in various European projects. In Istanbul, the cluster deals with a logistics association. The situation remains, however, complicated and is not conducive to building relationships in spite of the increasing exchanges between Turkey and Europe. As for China, we renewed the memorandum of understanding we had signed in 2011 with a logistics association based in Shenzhen that specializes also in e-commerce. We already assisted a first investor in Wallonia in the development of European logistics bases for the Chinese e-commerce. We are also in touch with the 5 biggest transport companies in China and are willing to propose Wallonia as a basis for implementing their future activities in Europe.

How do you keep the Business Community of Logistics in Wallonia alive? We remain determined to create a community of actors bonded by a sense of belonging to one family. To achieve this, we established a sound momentum with the organization of some twenty events per year. In 2015, more than 1,400 people took part in the different events. For example, the cluster's general meeting gathers approximately 150 people per year.

Nevertheless, these different contacts must be concrete and must be given substance by finding opportunities in European programs in view of substantiating these partnerships. Our French counterpart Nov@log and our Turkish partner have thus been integrated in a European program – an excellent opportunity to exchange good practices.

Besides, the team within the cluster has made it a point of honor to visit the enterprises on the spot. We have contacted some six hundred different enterprises and organizations. These factory visits ensure that we can help them in their projects and connect them to our network and our expertise. Could you tell us about Biolog Europe? Launched a few years ago, this initiative aimed at developing logistics activities applied to healthcare. Indeed, this activity area was not that severely impacted by the 2008 crisis and requires a high added value logistics activity with a high level of precision. In that prospect, we decided to focus on the development of endogenous activities (with a view to create links between the activities of the major healtcare players and those of logistics companies) and exogenous activities, by prospecting in the area of US pharmaceutical and biotech companies willing to settle in Europe: 3 or 4 of them have already invested in Wallonia and about 40 others are contemplating to invest in Europe. It is thus our goal to attract them to our region.

What about Innovation Picth 2016? A successor of the projects purse, this event aims at gathering our whole network once a year in November around innovative ideas. The principle is quite simple: each member has 3 minutes to present a project in 3 slides, getting the opportunity to find partner companies and a funding scheme, usually within the framework of the Marshall Plan. How would you describe the international policy of Logistics in Wallonia? Our international policy includes our innovation dynamic particularly through European projects. This approach finds

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Container terminal in Arhus

support by the 4.0 Marshall Plan, which has defined two major priorities: circular economy and IT. IT remains fundamental for the Logistics in Wallonia cluster in view of the implementation of the Walloon digital agenda. We also wish to highlight ITS (intelligent transport systems), which are still unrecognized in the region. The ITS refer to the communicating infrastructures, the systems for exchanging information between the infrastructures and their vehicles, the open data generated by public operators and exploitable by private operators, and so on.

The key numbers for the Logistics in Wallonia cluster - Over 320 members (of which 81 large enterprises and 138 SMEs), vs. 170 at its creation back in 2006; - Twenty-one certified projects of which sixteen are research projects and five training projects; - A total budget for these projects of 74.7 M€ of which 54.9 M€ are public funding.

Consonantly, we always contribute to reducing the environmental burden of the transport and logistics sector with the label “Lean & Green,” an initiative which saw the light in the Netherlands and which accompanies enterprises working on a twenty-percent reduction of CO2 emissions within five years. To date, eleven Walloon enterprises acquired this label.

In China alone, the market of express parcels reached the amazing figure of 21 billion in 2015! Therefore Chinese companies are on the verge of outstripping such leaders as UPS and DHL on the European market. Similarly, the Internet of Things will play a key role in the evolution of logistics. Other factors, such as big data, should also impact logistics: several research projects certified by the Logistics in Wallonia cluster already utilize big data applications in view of improving the consistency of pieces of information, made increasingly miscellaneous by the ever increasing number of information sources. I also think of the “container concept” of “smart cities” and all it implies in terms of optimal mobility and cohabitation between the transport of construction materials and the transport of people in order to obtain more livable cities. This makes our research project UrbanZen all the more beneficial.

The Logistics in Wallonia cluster enjoys good representation at international transport and logistics trade fairs. Every year, it hosts a collective pavilion at the Transport & Logistics Fair in Munich and at the SITL in Paris Nord Villepinte, two biennial key events for the sector. In October 2016, it also held a collective Belgian pavilion, at the China International Logistics Fair (CILF) in Shenzhen. What changes lay ahead in the sector of transport, logistics and mobility? We are witnessing an acceleration of technologies involved. Doubtless, e-commerce stands as the major issue, which will heavily affect our consumption, buying and transport patterns.

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MecaTech: Hybridization of Technologies and Innovations to Mechanical Engineering An interview with Mr Jacques GERMAY, MecaTech Cluster

implementation of synergies among key players, some of which at first glance seem quite unlikely (for example, IBA cooperates with AMOS and the Ateliers de la Meuse in order to develop its new system of proton therapy to combat cancer).

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hat are the key figures for the Walloon mechanical engineering sector and the MecaTech cluster? If we assess the first eighteen calls for projects, we count a total of 105 projects (72 research projects, 14 investment projects and 19 training projects) involving 283 players (45 large corporations, 135 SMEs, 77 university laboratories, 18 research centers, 5 higher schools and 3 competence centers; e.g., overall 536 participants). This represents an investment of €293 million, of which €100 million derive from private funding (€79,9 million for large enterprises and €119,7 million for small and medium enterprises).

© MecaTech

MecaTech chose two main key perspectives to draw up its strategic framework. The first one consists in the development of finished products, machines, and various equipment for consumption or industrial production. The activities around finished products are very important, in so far as they generate greater added value; they are less dependent on order givers, and are more resistant to downturn than activities done as subcontractor. The second perspective consists in the development of technologies and new processes. The projects of the MecaTech cluster organized themselves around four technological areas (1. new materials and surface func tionalization; 2. global and additive shaping manufacturing; 3. micro-technologies and mecatronics; and 4. intelligent maintenance and production). These four sectors cannot be exclusive, since we often diversify the product value chains in terms of technologies and we must stay open to new technologies and ideas.

The companies involved in MecaTech have known an important growth as well in terms of employment as in added value. Employment developed from 2005 to 2014: + 66% for SMEs, and + 20% for large corporations, whereas the sector of mechanical engineering indicates a fall of 5%. The same applies to added value: + 107% for SMEs and + 76% for large corporations vs + 11% for the sector. Gross tangible and intangible assets reveal a healthy vitality: + 125% (from 1,285 to 2,889 million) for all member enterprises, and even + 152% (from 470 to 1,186 million) for SMEs alone. Furthermore, the MecaTech cluster participated in the setting up of 3 platforms in order to respond to the sector’s new opportunities: Symbiosis (use of molecular biomimicry technologies in functional coatings), Reverse Metallurgy (metals recycling lead by Jacques Pèlerin, the CRM and various industrials), and Proton therapy (IBA and various partners).

Could you give us some examples of cluster-certified R&D projects? Let’s start with IBA’s WIN-GTR project, which intends to develop a mechanical structure allowing full rotation of the radiation head around the patient under hadron therapy treatment. For its part, PHOENIX targets the development of an integrated global enhancement process of the organic matter contained in metal crushing waste, in order to produce alternative hydro-liquid carbons, metal and carbon concentrates to be used in steel industries. GREEN+ focuses on developing energy recovery groups on the stale air through an integrated, compact double flow system. ECOLAS’ objective means to save energy in the production methods by using the new, clean and efficient laser techniques. There are two objectives in this respect: to apply new semiconductor laser technologies (laser diodes) to the treatment of materials sectors still driven by classic technologies, and to develop new sources and interfaces in order to resolve the problems linked to particular applications. LIONEL’s objective means forming an innovative product and process for the production of soft intraocular lenses from a nano-composite type material.

Could you briefly resume the cluster’s mission and strategic axes? The Walloon Government entrusted MecaTech with the following objectives: create jobs and stimulate economic activity; act as a driving force for the Walloon sector of Mechanical Engineering; and contribute to the re-industrialization by structuring and implementing innovative projects with an international vocation combining large corporations, SMEs, universities, research and competence centers. Mechanical engineering relies on an increasingly varied base of knowledge as well as scientific and technological knowhow. The cluster encourages innovations and especially disruptive innovations via hybridization of technologies and

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Could you expand a little on your training activites? MecaTech’s nineteen training projects reside in partnerships with FOREM, Technifutur/Technocampus and the Automotive Campus. They co-exist in intimate association with technology development projects. The cluster also partners with some Agoria programs such as “Factories of the future.” It focuses on advanced technologies outside the competencies of the training operators.

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What kind of services do you offer to your members? In order to support the development of their project(s), our cluster actively organized different services. Their setup and monitoring include search for partners and competencies (enterprises, laboratories, research and competence centers, higher schools and universities, etc.), assistance in the compilation of the dossier and of formalities with the administration, In addition, MecaTech has developed a mapping tool of the Walloon companies in mechanical engineering (more than 800). They are regrouped in different fields of application (medical devices, automotive industry; recycling industries, green energy,…) and different technologies. Each field of application and technologies has been covered by strategic analyses and market researchs. For those activities and international development, MecaTech entertained a special relationship with AWEX and its agents throughout the world.

At the same time, MecaTech takes part in a great number of coordination meetings dealing with the regional policies with other Walloon competitiveness clusters. Some projects have even been rewarded with a bipole and even a tripole certification. Examples of these are Legomedic (automatization and “continuous” processes with the BioWin cluster) and Thermam (additive manufacturing with the Skywin cluster). How do you implement your international development policy? Initially, our cluster concentrated on the neighboring countries, to avoid branching out: The Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, Lorraine, Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine, NordPas-de-Calais, Switzerland, Rhône-Alpes, Pays Basque (covering the” blue banana” area). MecaTech also takes part in the Vanguard project involving 27 Regions. In a second phase, after having attained the critical mass, MecaTech acted selectively in order to conduct more remote actions in Massachusetts, Québec, and Romania.

MecaTech encourages communication; for example, via networking events of the key players of mechanical engineering in Wallonia; the support given to members in their participation in AWEX’ action abroad; the publication of a newsletter; the organization of a kick-off meeting for each certified project; and a large number of relays with the press. The Cluster offers also services regarding intellectual property and consortium agreements, thanks to their special relationship with PICARRE, Innovatech. The cluster assists its members in their research for funding (access to specific fundings of the Walloon competitiveness clusters, familiarity with the various public funding sources, relations with public and private investors).

MecaTech was co-involved in different European Projects, such as for example the launch of Intermat, a Meta-cluster with Materalia (Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne) and Luxinnovation (Luxembourg) or the INTERREG INTERMAT GR

What partnerships did you develop? The cluster relies on a small team which wants to remain small. It networks with a variety of active agencies within the Walloon ecosystem (…). It is absolutely vital to have our specialty domains partners (market research, intellectual property, etc.) in order to develop our own area of specialization and cover a large span of technologies and business domains.

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ATAC CONCEPT

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Development of new concepts of auxiliary converters of electric power available on the catenary into usable electrical energy on board a train. Background: the conversion of electrical energy available on the catenary into usable electrical energy on board a train may be used: • for the traction of the train; • to power various auxiliary equipment: heating, air conditioning, lighting. The objective of Atac-Concept project: • develop new concepts of auxiliary power converters for better integration in their environment: o increased energy efficiency; o drastic reduction in the volume and mass for better integration into the body of a car; o reduction in noise. Partners: Alstom, Thales Alenia Space, Weisshorn, Cissoid, Cerdecam, Jema, ULG, UCL.


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the INTERREG GR (Grande Région) project “ROBOTIX Academy” gathering 5 partners. Another project on the topic of the Internet of Things is under revision. Last, but not least, MecaTech members (enterprises, research centers…) take part directly in European programs. MecaTech collaborates with NCP Wallonie to encourage the participation of its members in these programs. To summarize its international development strategy, the cluster follows several guidelines: focusing on actions that may lead to projects, relying on the selectivity of geographical areas while giving a priority to adjacent countries and on Industry 4.0/Digitalization/Automation. MecaTech is also collaborating with AWEX-Invest in Wallonia to raise awareness about Wallonia’s attractiveness among foreign investors.

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How would you assess your development strategy? A first phase focused on a broader strategic framework with a top-down approach, targeting finished products and integrated services, as well as four “key enabling technologies” (KET) set out above. In a second phase, the pole played an increasing role as a driving force (suggesting projects based on complementarity between enterprises, and creating a connexion between them). In a third phase, MecaTech decided to develop a more professional approach, connecting its members by setting up a mapping of the Walloon expertise (see above).

(Grande Région) project, based on materials and processes in partnership with four clusters and four universities. More recently, following MecaTech’s strategy on Industry 4.0/Digitalization/Automation, the cluster co-submitted 3 European projects related to this topic. Two of them are already accepted: the INTERREG France-Wallonia-Flanders project “FACTORY 4.0” which is gathering 7 partners and

Solar Perform New generation, tower type solar power plants, operating at temperatures above 700 ° C, are developing due to their high efficiency. These plants consist of a critical element that is the solar receiver. This consists of thermal absorbers which must withstand extreme operating conditions: high thermal gradient, day/night cycling... and this for a lifetime of 25 years whilst ensuring the highest performance.

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Certainly maintenance operations are possible, but these operations should be strictly limited because of their difficulty (the tower has a height of 200m), and because of the cost that would be generated by the plant shutdown. Therefore, the resistance of the absorber tubes, face to the mainly thermomechanical constraints, is a key issue for the viability of the entire solar power plant. It is this question which is the primary purpose of this project. In parallel, we will consider a point which involves both mechanical and optical properties: how meet optimally the strict optical specifications by effects of mechanical shape. Partners: CMI, CRM, Lithcote Europe, ULG.

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o policy to promote the integration of digital in products (mecatronic) developed and marketed by the members of the cluster (those products cover different fields: maintenance, automotive, medical devices, connected objects...); o digitization of industrial processes to improve quality, productivity and competitiveness; o development of new skills within companies specializing on the digitization and automation of business and particularly SMEs. Among the skills to offer let us mention: simulation, automation, high computing, big data, addidtive manufacturing, actuator sensors, intelligent maintenance, microelectronics, power electronics, microfluidics, digitization of integrated chains.

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This process of “digitization of the industrial fabric” must be based on enhanced cooperation between SMEs, large companies and leaders. To do this, we must match the needs of companies engaged in digitization of their products and processes with the expertises and services offered by companies specialized in those domains.

We implemented this approach to facilitate hybridization of technologies and synergies between players. This gave life to a fourth phase generating clusters of core competencies; e.g., materials, nanomaterials, surface functionalization, waste management, sustainable energy, safe and sustainable production and maintenance practices, medical devices, transport/automobile, construction, machines and equipment, and more. At the current stage of our development, we are working on the development of complete but fine-mesh value chains (additive manufacturing, automation, etc.) in connection with “Etude IDEA CONSULT” (commissioned by the Minister J.-C. Marcourt and DG06) in industrial sectors. We now integrate service economy with circular economy right from the start of a project (some twenty projects are already dealing with this issue with 158 major players including 76 enterprises), and we remain alert to seize new opportunities such urban agriculture, “reverse metallurgy,” and biomimicry. However, the priority for the future is linked to the main future challenges.

The second challenge concerns the transition towards service functionality and circular economy. This transition involves material and product recycling but also energy and materialsaving technologies, including additive manufacturing technologies. Unlike the substractive production process, which incurs great losses of materials, additive technology ensures material savings by depositing successive coats in order to create digitally the most complex shapes. The additive manufacturing technologies have their place in the automatization processes and the IoT. Doubtless, this technology promises excellent innovation and development prospects in the sector of mechanical engineering!

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What are the main future challenges in mechanical engineering? The first big challenge is the numerical revolution. Consequently, the strategy and activities of the MecaTech competitiveness cluster will be placed, during the next three years, under the sign of digital and this at three levels:

At a time when companies increasingly argue in terms of flows, management has turned into the art of piloting an integrated set. MecaTech encourages automation among its member enterprises because it will help them to increase their competitiveness and turnover. Besides, automation provides a powerful tool for the transition to the digital management of SMEs. JTEKT, Procoplast, Citius, Technord and WOW beautifully reflect this tendency, which means adding intelligence and productivity to a “process” and to the products, but also developing the automation engineering. These five enterprises created in the last five years 350 new jobs, proof that re-industrialization promises a future even in high-wage countries.

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WBC Incubator Highly Specialized Coaching in the Medical and Environmental Sectors An interview with Mr Serge PAMPFER, General Director of WBC Incubator

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ould you describe the origin of WBC Incubator? WBC Incubator came into being at the end of 2006, in tandem with the creation of the competitiveness clusters that were the basis of the first Marshall Plan. At that time there already existed a regional incubator which specialized in engineering sciences, and the initial idea was to reproduce this model for life sciences and biotechnologies. The fact that GIGA’s research center in Liège started up at roughly the same time, with its vision for the rapid creation of several companies within its integrated “science, training and business” environment, clearly played a role in the genesis of WBC. Nevertheless, the incubator’s ambition from the very start embraced a regional, Walloon context.

Even if your project isn’t “alive” in the purest sense of the term, and even if it were a simple device or software for medical applications, here at WBC you will find the expertise you need to attain commercial success. Today, WBC has a portfolio of some 40 enterprises, a majority of which involve biomedical enterprises. Other companies work in the agrifood or environmental sectors, while some are more industry-oriented. About three quarters of these companies presently engage on the market with at least one service or product on offer. This is an extremely convincing sign of the maturation in Wallonia of the sectors of life sciences and biotechnologies, also with WBC’s support.

What kinds of services do you offer researchers with a business start-up project? We begin by spending a significant amount of time to grasp and understand our researcher’s goals fully. What is his/her motivation? What unique value does his/her technology propose? What market needs does he/she want to meet? Finally, and above all, what is his/her ambition and that of the company he/she wants to create with WBC? In other words, why and how does he/she want to change the world? We principally focus on the innovation and translation into products and services which will have a real impact on users and clients, especially if they are patients suffering from an illness that is very difficult to diagnose and heal from.

This explains why WBC doesn’t own or manage any accommodation building on its own. A “physical” presence anywhere might probably have biased WBC – or at least its perception – towards one campus rather another one. Whether we operate in Sart-Tilman (ULG), Gosselies (ULB), Louvain-la-Neuve (UCL) or even in the industrial parks of Crealys (Gembloux) or Novalis (Marche-en-Famenne), WBC remains decidedly neutral. Besides, the fact of WBC’s being an incorporated for-profit company perfectly fits the definition of its mission, which is to facilitate the economic, commercial and industrial aspects of emerging companies. In fact, our main action means assisting and financing other companies with a thoroughness of implementation and a quest for efficiency which pertain typically to the business world. This working method results as the product of our extremely complimentary board of directors, which counts among its members representatives from universities, clusters, industries and investors, all particularly aware of the evolution of the Walloon entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In a second phase, after having have fully understood the project’s dynamics and its specific challenges, we usually assign to the project holder a pre-qualified manager to structure the creation of the emerging company. Together, they must convince investors and industrialists with a proposal which we hope to have made all the stronger and clearer.

Could you enumerate some key figures for the WBC Incubator? In 10 years, we have examined some 200 dossiers. This means an average of 30 to 40 new dossiers per year now that we have reached our routine pace. For life sciences and biotechnologies, it is a huge figure but it translates well two things: first, the extraordinary proliferation of this sector in Wallonia; and, secondly, the superb network we have patiently built up within the Walloon entrepreneurial ecosystem. Today, we enjoy very strong ties both with university interfaces and with investment networks and project presentation platforms. SRIW, Invests like Meusinvest and Sambrinvest, DGO6, and AEI count today among WBC’s most privileged partners. © Shutterstock

I would like to add a third element: after 10 years of activity, project holders know that we rely on the most advanced expertise resources in the areas of health and environment!

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WBC possesses its own “seed money” and may thus support a part of the start-up costs of the company, in exchange, for example, for an equity participation in the company. The relation between the young company and WBC may then continue for another 6 years, a period during which we will keep feeding the project through our expertise, guidance, networking and new injections of capital, which in some cases may come up to a total of about half a million Euros. What counts for WBC involves acting as an important vector to cross the inflexion points and acting as an accelerator. Governance forms another crucial element of our accompaniment, and this justifies our being generally present at the board of directors of the companies which comprise our portfolio.

agronomic crops with the SkyWin cluster… It becomes reasonable to assume that today WBC enjoys a very strong and complicit relationship with all the competitiveness cluster in Wallonia, a perfectly normal assumption, given that “Life” is everywhere! What new great challenges do you think you will meet over the next few years? Whilst innovation used to be relatively confined to laboratories as well as to specialized and super-equipped research centers – certainly in the case of life sciences and biotechnologies – we perceive today a proliferation of hotbeds of “biotech” inventiveness and creativity which tends to be much more fragmented and diversified. This happens all over the world and even in Wallonia. WBC’s challenge for the next few years lies in “switching over” to these new hotbeds in order to serve those most ambitious or disruptive.

What relations have you developed with the Walloon competitiveness clusters? When we started, some 10 years ago, our reference cluster was rather BioWin, since the great majority of our projects tended to be biomedically-oriented. Since we wished to see WBC firmly seated on the sector of life sciences and biotechnologies, we quickly widened our strategic and operational relationship towards the Wagralim cluster (especially for nutritional projects); and thereafter, towards the GreenWin cluster (for example, for bioremediation projects). Likewise, the MecaTech cluster is seeing the emergence in its sector of medical devices and equipment projects that are likely to be boosted by some support from WBC.

To meet the growing expansion of our relentless survey of the best projects in Wallonia, we started, together with our board of directors and our partner CIDE-Socran, an in-depth study of what we call is “citizens’ biotechnology.” A wonderful adventure shapes itself for WBC, and I believe that it is well worth it. In November 2016, I spent a whole week in the United States to present the coaching model developed by WBC to American investors and incubators-accelerators, and our select audience acknowledged and praised how innovative and proactive we are in boosting the success of our businesses.

Very soon after our creation, realizing that many “biotech” products require special transport and storage conditions, we also started to cooperate with the Logistics in Wallonia cluster. And finally, we are talking about drones for the monitoring of

© WBC Incubator

WBC offers an advanced tool to create economic value by the emergence and coherence of a new industrial fabric in Wallonia, based on life sciences and biotechnologies: we mean to pursue our mission along this particularly ambitious path.

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WBC INCUBATOR Tour GIGA +3 Avenue de l'Hôpital, 1 B-4000 Liège Tel.: +32 (0)4 246 51 10 Email: contact@wbc-incubator.be http://www.wbc-incubator.be/


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Consolidating the Research status of the “Université catholique de Louvain” An interview with Prof. Vincent BLONDEL, Rector of the “Université catholique de Louvain” (UCL) of Europe, despite limiting its number of members. The aim of the organisation is to contribute to addressing major societal issues in Europe by promoting the role of research in finding innovative solutions. UCL is one of two Belgian universities - along with UGent - to have been selected to join this new organisation.

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© Jacky Delorme

he Louvain 2020 plan establishes the objectives of UCL from now until 2020. In terms of research, what are these objectives? With regard to research, UCL is a Research University and intends to reinforce this positioning. I also specify that 2016-2017 is the Louvain year of scientific adventure and that this red thread marks many of our activities. In practical terms, we had defined 5 axes: to recruit and keep researchers whose results are internationally recognized; to set up a coaching and accompaniment system for researchers to reduce their administrative burden and free up creative time for them; to use our own means as a lever for obtaining external funding; to support postgraduate training and attract foreign postgraduate students; to reinforce our promotional work, make researchers more aware of the issue.

UCL is also pleased to have leaped up 39 places in the Times Higher Education 2016-17 rankings, where it now occupies 128 th position.

What are the key figures for research at UCL? 225,000,000€ was granted to research in 2015 (including 173 million for external contracts). 30% of the university’s overall budget comes from external credits obtained by UCL researchers. The university also issued 259 postgraduate degrees in 2014-2015 and has a total of 21 research institutes, over 3,000 researchers, 29 technology platforms, 29 ERC Grants and 21 Francqui Prize-winners. UCL is the leading university in the French community in terms of taking part in European programmes.

Is this policy bearing its fruits? Yes absolutely. This year, we received more applications and more results for the European Research Council (ERC) scholarships: 7 scholarships for the 2015 round and 6 for the 2016 round, but we still don’t have all the results. We collaborated with the Wallinov project in the Wallonia Region along with our Research Administration team in order to optimise projects and contracts. We have also increased the visibility of our FNRS researchers’ carreers. We must now consolidate and maintain our efforts.

The team of Prof. Françoise Van Bambeke of the Louvain Drug Research Institute of UCL and KU Leuven demonstrated how a drug used against fungal infections (caspofungin) makes a class of antibiotics (fluoroquinolones) very effective with respect to golden staphylococcus biofilms.

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Profs Nathalie Delzenne and Patrice Cani received the Lucien Dautrebande International Prize. Their research group was one of the first to demonstrate that the nutritional modulation of the intestinal microbiota is capable of influencing the onset of cardio-metabolic disorders, paving the way for new therapeutic management.

© Alexis Haulot

© UCL

I would also like to mention UCL’s participation in the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities, which unites the forces of research universities across a representative territory

© UCL

Can you tell us something about the areas of excellence of research at UCL and the Louvain4 consortiums? The University excels in a variety of areas such as nutrition, pain relief, mathematics, philosophy, microbiology, climatology, economics, oncology, political science, education, new materials. If we look at participation in the 7 th European framework programme, UCL has a total of 174 projects in nanoscience, transport, safety, science and society, and 61 projects already funded under Horizon 2020.


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Louvain4 has also introduced a transverse, multidisciplinary approach to priority societal themes. The key words are “breaking down the borders” and “critical mass of researchers”. We currently have 7 Louvain4 consortiums: Louvain4Nutrition, Louvain4Ageing, Louvain4City, Louvain4Education, Louvain4Energy, Louvain4Water and Louvain4Evolution.

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Could you give us an overview of the research highlights at UCL in 2016? Research at UCL is above all led by people. In 2016, the university hired 5 new FRS-FNRS qualified researchers: Hosni Idrissi in materials sciences, Wen-Hui Lien in oncology, Patrick Meyfroidt, working in land-based ecosystems in relation to human and environmental aspects, Sébastien Moureau, whose research concerns the transmission of Arabic alchemy to the medieval West, and Magali Paquot, active in linguistic complexities in interlanguage.

UCL is the first francophone university to join the prestigious The Guild network, which brings together the best research universities in Europe.

How does the Louvain Technology Transfer Office promote research for society? The Louvain Technology Transfer Office (LTTO), which is made up of Sopartec and the Research Administration, manages the funding of research contracts, the identification of inventions in the laboratories, the protection and management of intellectual property, technological maturation and commercialization (through licences and/or spin-off creations).

In electrical engineering, Prof. Jean-Pierre Raskin was awarded the Blondel Medal, a prestigious international prize for research in the field of science and the electrical industry and - in Shanghai - the SOI (Silicon-on-Insulator) Award. He developed an SOI technology capable of eliminating the interference within integrated electronic circuits which pollutes phone communications. Since 2012, all smartphones have been fitted with this technology.

Over 70 spin-offs have been created, generating over 2,000 jobs, based totally or partly on the results of research carried out at UCL. These include Ion Beam Application (IBA), Iris Group, IBT, Telemis, Viridaxis, Promethera Biosciences, Xylowatt, Keemotion, Iteos Therapeutics, E-Xstream, Domobios, Novadip Biosciences, Tessares, 3D-Side, Axinesis, Synabs, etc. (www.ltto.com)

Prof. Frédéric Laugrand, a tenured professor in the Anthropology Department at Université Laval, has obtained a mandate of scientific impulse, Ulysses mobility (MIS Ulysse, which encourages highly qualified researchers who are active abroad to come to the French Community of Belgium) to come to UCL. His research focuses on animals at the heart of divinatory practices in circumpolar regions and in Austronesia. Profs Nathalie Delzenne and Patrice Cani (Louvain Drug Research Institute) were awarded the prestigious International Prize of the Professor Lucien Dautrebande Pathophysiology Foundation.

The VIVES Louvain Technology Fund is a multi-sector technological investment fund that invests in UCL’s spin-offs and startups in Belgium and neighbouring countries. VIVES II is funded by a dozen leading Belgian and European investors such as the European Investment Fund (EIF), SFPI-FPIM, Fortis Private Equity Belgium, Bpifrance, ING Belgium, Sofina, Axa Belgium, Belfius, IRD (France), Nivelinvest and Sopartec. The fund aims to invest in developing start-ups, from technological validation to commercial maturity. The funds (VIVES I - €15 million and VIVES II - €4 3 million) are managed by Sopartec, UCL’s technology transfer company.

In the field of Health Sciences, Prof. Françoise Van Bambeke’s team at the Louvain Drug Research Institute - featuring researchers from KU Leuven and the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology - demonstrated how a medicine used today against fungal infections renders a class of antibiotics highly effective against Staphylococcus aureus biofilms.

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Regarding promotion, we are also particularly proud of the agreement signed between ARGENX and ABBVIE in the field of immuno-oncology. This agreement is the fruit of an intensive collaboration between the biotechnology company ARGENX and the teams of Profs Pierre Coulie and Sophie Lucas from the Duve Institute at UCL, world renowned in the field of immuno-oncology. This collaboration has developed an innovative therapeutic approach to stimulating the immune system of cancer patients.

The “Louvain4” advocate a transversal and multidisciplinary approach around priority societal themes. Among them, the Louvain4 Nutrition.

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Finally, UCL has gained the support of the Brussels-Capital Region for 3 spin-offs (programme Launch): SpineDy (Computer assisted surgery planning tools), ATS (Advanced Tracking systems) and Fonytest (Piled foundations dynamic testing). Three First spin-offs have benefited from the support of the Walloon Region: Madeso (Materials design solutions), Sensroad (Non-destructive Road inspection) and Inginious (Cloud Service for IT skills evaluation).


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Pr. Yann Garcia’s Research Team – IMCN MOST A Unique Expertise in the Development of Bistable Functional Materials With over 203 articles published for more than 6,200 quotes, Pr. Yann Garcia’s research team relies on its four postdocs and its three postgraduates to pursue high level research in the field of molecular magnetism and advanced functional materials.

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relies on its Mössbauer park to offer services of scientific characterization on iron-based materials; a more sophisticated technique but complementary to X-ray powder diffraction analysis, for instance currently employed by NASA to study minerals on the planet Mars.

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r. Yann Garcia is active within three COST networks (hybrid materials, molecular spintronics, spin state technology), member of the International Board for the Applications of the Mössbauer Effect (IBAME) and president of the French-speaking group of Mössbauer spectroscopy (GFSM) since 2007. Pr. Garcia is involved in the edition of scientific journals of reference. Yann Garcia also pursues leading-edge research studies which are very well recognized in molecular magnetism and Mössbauer spectroscopy circles.

At present, Pr. Yann Garcia’s laboratory personnel must answer the need of upgrading its stock of instruments to meet its operating needs, which may induce them to search for sponsors or industrial partnerships. On the scientific front, Pr. Garcia’s research team remains determined to pursue the development of bistable functional materials for use in everyday life: a challenge at their fingertips!

Thanks to its unique expertise in Belgium, Pr. Garcia’s research team has developed an indicator defining the maximum temperature threshold for combustible material; a freshness sticker for the cold chain in mass retail and, just recently, a safety labeling system for heat-sensitive vaccines. Pr. Yann Garcia’s research team also developed a material that functions like a metallic mercury sponge, to prevent, for instance, children’s possibly ingesting the mercury beads that are present in some thermometers.

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Pr. Garcia’s research team investigates smart materials which may change their color and magnetism when exposed to an outside stimulus such as temperature, pressure, luminosity, gas emissions, etc. These are the so-called optical bistable materials, meaning materials that display two different colors at the same temperature. The research team focuses on synthesis, characterization, and formatting of spin-transition molecular materials.

Prof. Yann Garcia’s Research Group: the whole team

Aware of the innumerable applications made possible by the characterization of these new materials and their optimization, Pr. Yann Garcia’s research team currently cooperates with Onera in the field of shock detectors in aviation: airplanes may receive a surface coating including these materials and, in case of impact, this would change the color of the surface, making it possible for the airline companies to know immediately if the said impact lies on a sensitive part of the airplane. At the same time, Pr. Garcia’s team is working on a new range of alcohol and acid detectors; for instance, identified by a colr change. The same research team is also developing photochromic and magnetic materials operating at ambienct temperatures – a promising approach to multifunctional materials. Finally, Pr. Garcia’s research team

Université catholique de Louvain Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences Molecules, Solids, Reactivity (IMCN/MOST) Place L. Pasteur 1, bte L4.01.03 B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium Tel.: +32 (0)10 47 28 31 - Fax: +32 (0)10 47 23 30 Email: yann.garcia@uclouvain.be http://www.uclouvain.be/262038.html 120


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The Laboratory of Mycology of the UCL Valorization of fungi in the Agricultural and Food Areas A center of biological resources dedicated to fungi, the laboratory of mycology of the Université catholique de Louvain (Earth and Life Institute – Applied Microbiology) relies on a multidisciplinary team of 35 people working in the areas of fungal diversity, taxonomy, ecology, physiology and agronomy.

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UCL- ELIM - Laboratory of mycology

UCL- ELIM - Laboratory of mycology

ed by Prof. Stephan Declerck, the for the production of antibiotics. The laboratory of mycology combines third project, an INTERREG project basic research with applied research, (SMARTBIOCONTROL), brings tobased on an exceptional heritage of gether Flemish, Walloon and French 30,000 living strains representing more partners. It uses an integrated than 1,200 genera and 4000 species, approach to develop new fungal biopreserved within the BCCM/MUCL control agents of diseases affecting collection. Two pillars structure its wheat and potato crops. Lastly, the research activities: agri-food mycology, H2020 project SOLACE brings which studies the role of fungi in food together a consortium of 24 partners production processes; and agri-environfrom the academic and industrial mental mycology, which concentrates on world. It aims to develop innovative 5 major themes: (1) taxonomy, phylogeny solutions (particularly by symbiotic Microplate test with potato leaves treated with fungal and biodiversity of fungi in natural fungi) to improve the efficacy of crops bio-effectors and challenged with the pathogen environments (e.g. canopies of tropical Phytophthora infestans in the use of water and nutrients. forests, flowers…) and anthropized ones (e.g. agricultural crops); (2) studies of trophic chains and hostThe laboratory of mycology plays an active role well beyond pathogen or symbiont-host relations; (3) diversity of lignothe borders of the European Union. It just engaged in two cellulolitic fungi; (4) use of fungi in bio-stimulation of plants projects with Latin America. The first project (conducted in the (e.g. potato, sweetcorn, banana), bio-protection towards Yasuni National Park in Ecuador) works on the isolation of biotic and abiotic stresses (e.g. drought, salinity) as well as fungal microorganisms in sites with hydrocarbon pollution and bio-remediation of contaminated soil (degrading pollutants investigates their role in the decontamination process. Ecuador such as hydrocarbons); (5) production of fungal bio-effectors also benefitted from another project alongside Bolivia and for the protection of plants against biotic stresses. Peru: the European project VALORAM, which targeted the improvement of potato production using arbuscular Currently, the laboratory of mycology takes part in four mycorrhizal fungi and other soil beneficial fungi and bacteria. European projects. The first one is a Marie Curie Innovative Training Network project (MICROMETABOLITES). It engages Doubtless, the laboratory of mycology can avail itself of its 7 partners and 12 PhD students in the search of secondary international experience to meet the three major challenges metabolites produced by micro-organisms present in which mycology researchers will have to address in the future medicinal plants, in order to increase the production of these years: (1) increasing knowledge about fungal diversity (only metabolites. In the same context, the laboratory of mycology 5% are currently known) using cutting-edge tools such as the participates through MUCL in the “ASAFEM” project, an next generation sequencing; (2) developing innovative ERA-NET ERAFRICA project. This project aims to isolate techniques to grow not cultivable fungal organisms to study secondary metabolites from endophytes or wood-rotting fungi them and (3) refining our understanding and use of these fungal microorganisms in the various areas of bio-economy.

Field trial in the Andes (Peru) with potatoes inoculated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

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Earth and Life Institute - Applied Microbiology (ELIM) Laboratoire de mycologie Croix du Sud 2, bte L7.05.06 - B- 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve Tel.: +32 (0)10 47 46 44 - Fax: +32 (0)10 45 15 01 Email: stephan.declerck@uclouvain.be http://www.uclouvain.be/mycology.html


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Innovation: A State of Mind An interview with Mrs Véronique CABIAUX, Executive Director of the Agence pour l’Entreprise & l’Innovation (AEI)

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© AEI

éronique Cabiaux, you are the Executive Director of the Agence pour l’Entreprise et l’Innovation in Wallonia. What are your missions, and how can you help enterprises in their technological development and innovation needs? The AEI pursues three main goals which are hinged together to form a system. We work to ensure that enterprises, all those that need it, can be informed, accompanied and guided by and towards those operators best suited to help them with their problems or projects. They may be either general operators (for example, IEC, Chambers of Commerce, UCM, et al.) or specialized operators. They may be technological (Universities and knowledge transfer offices, approved research centers, as well as Innovatech, which helps enterprises to enter technological processes, the specialist of intellectual property PI², incubators, et al.) or non-technological experts (such as Wallonie Design or operators in social economy). Therefore, we can deduce that these enterprises, small and larger ones, meet great difficulties in identifying who can help them among the many existing and available services. But you cannot just give them a large catalogue that nobody will read! Therefore, you must show them permanently and practically, which solution remains most relevant and valuable for them. I keep saying that complexity, although it cannot be avoided, must become transparent. In addition, we are working on the creation of a single, virtual service which will satisfy the requests of enterprises to find, in a single location, all information they need. I’m convinced that our way of approaching these two goals proves quite innovative.

models seek to establish themselves. You can tell that they align with a societal evolution and meet a real need. I am particularly thinking of the social market, cooperative and supportive, of circular economy, service economy, short circuits and industries. Via different programs, we contribute to the development of these new models, but this must not exist as a shadow economy: we also want to make sure that these models may “percolate” into more traditional companies, since it can also be a very important innovation factor for them.

What about the upstream part, in other words, the entrepreneurial mindset? This is of course crucial, and represents our second mission, all the programs and measures that we implemented in order to heighten public awareness of entrepreneurship: young people, of course, in synergy with educational establishments, but also women, who seem less likely to create enterprises, or those entrepreneurs who suffer momentarily difficulty and whom we must save from losing their entrepreneurial approach and help to rebound… Mind, we must do more than sensitize them: we must also watch out and create a sort of “continuity” in order to ensure, as far as possible, a likely concretization. We note a recurring problem that we meet in young people who have been sensitized: 60% declare themselves ready to create their own enterprise. Two years later, however, they are down to 45%… Therefore, we must ensure to maintain this inspiration, by helping them channel their idea into a project… Therein we feel this approach meets our primary mission.

In fact, your approach to innovation is quite broad! You are quite right. Innovation exerts itself by far as a culture and a state of mind, rather than a process or a sector. Of course, we cooperate with all actors of the technological world I mentioned before. However, the innovative aspect in our approach lies in the fact that we count on a part of our network - the so-called frontline operators who are generalists: they are acting closely with enterprises and may become relevant prescribers. They make general diagnostics, they follow the growth processes of companies, which the researchers do not necessarily master. When a researcher has a technological request, he tries to find an answer: but it isn’t he who wonders if the company enjoys a market, if it integrates all its research into an adequate framework for its development. It is not his role. Instead, these front-line business operators possess a global vision; and consequently, they may prepare the enterprise and constructively seek for useful elements in the technological world.

What can you tell us about innovation? Our third mission is precisely a mission of innovation, where you should be at the same time operational and prospective. Let me explain: you know as well as I do that new economic

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Design, a vector of economic and social innovation An interview with Mrs Clio BRZAKALA, Director of Wallonie Design

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© Antoan Kurti

ould you remind us of the genesis and mission of Wallonie Design? Wallonie Design is the result of a dual observation formulated in a study in 2004: a failure to take design into account as a tool for economic development and a lack of coordination between public institutions working in design. Created in 2005 by Walloon Minister for the Economy Jean-Claude Marcourt, Wallonie Design is therefore presented as the Walloon platform for design, an integral part of any development and innovation strategy.

programme of the Walloon Government that places creativity and innovation at the heart of the regional project. To this end, we organise annual calls for proposals dedicated to the creative industries: design, of course, but also architecture, publishing, photography etc. Finally, Wallonie Design is responsible for the general management of Reciprocity, the international design triennial in Liège of which the next edition will take place in October 2018: design is relayed there as a vector for social innovation.

Could you tell us about your partnership with the Agency for Enterprise & Innovation (AEI) and, in particular, the European project “Tech Design”? Tech Design began in July 2015 and will continue until 2020. It is a technological intermediation action within the Résinnov portfolio of the AEI and is funded by the ESF and Wallonia. We go to meet Walloon technological operators (research centres such as the CoRI or Sirris, university interfaces, Picarré, InnovaTech etc.) in order to raise awareness of the importance of using design to support business development projects.

What services do you offer to businesses and designers? Our services are defined by 5 verbs: raise awareness (in the interests of design), inform (on design), guide (towards designers or SMEs), connect (with institutions) and promote (the work resulting from these collaborations once initiated). In concrete terms, we respond to over 100 specific requests annually from businesses and designers, organise visits to Walloon companies to promote their skills and create bridges with designers and arrange workshops on diverse topics such as sense analysis for food packaging. In addition, we develop tools and content to facilitate understanding and use of design. We finally manage calls for proposals that allow winners to gain €40,000 to develop from prototype to market. 40 projects have already been supported, including A+Z Design, which developed an innovative technology to create textiles, and the interactive book for children developed by Epic Agency.

We carry out studies to develop diagnostic tools and patterns that these operators may use to establish the interest in using design with their project promoters in connection with industry, technology and engineering. We want to put design throughout the innovation process, and sometimes even upstream of the R&D process.

© Wallonie Design

© Wallonie Design

This project is very stimulating because it leads to exchanges of knowledge and good practices between all the AEI partners and it generates a multiplier effect with cross-pollination, which is highly favourable to the dynamics of the projects. In total, awareness should be raised among 300 companies and technology operators over the period. Wallonie Design will do its part by bringing two of its key competences together: connecting and promoting.

In which related projects are you the operator or partner? These are European or cross-border projects that can benefit from the expertise of Wallonie Design. Our platform is thus the financial partner of the Interreg V project called TRIPOD, a crossborder project between Flanders, Wallonia and France that is intended to integrate design into enterprise. Wallonie Design is driving the “promotion” module of this project, which started on 1 October 2016 for a period of 4 years. In addition, Wallonie Design is one of the operators of Creative Wallonia, a framework

Visit to Conceptexpo

Visit to Mecanic Systems

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The Walloon Public Service Science Institute (ISSeP) A Unique Expertise in the Service of Environment and Public Health A true sentinel of the environment for 25 years, the Walloon Public Service Science Institute (ISSeP) uses 3 tools to fulfill its task: a body of experts, a certain number of laboratories and specialized equipment. An overview of a leader in metrology and active contributor to European research.

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ISSeP has also gleaned recognition for its fire laboratory, the only one in Belgium. In this “Room Corner test,” which houses the most diversified products, we make it possible to test the fire behavior of various materials, which leads to certification validating the compliances with legal requirements. Forty-five private clients used this service in 2015. In addition, ISSeP’s fire laboratory performs post-accidents’ analyses on behalf of justice: its experts are responsible for determining how and where the fire started and how it spread. © ISSeP

SSeP relies on the expertise of some 300 agents (one third working on the ground, another third in the laboratory, and the last third on the analysis of results); 3 laboratories and an array of field equipment, specialized analysis equipment, and test benches. Covering the whole of Wallonia, ISSeP organizes its activities around 4 major axes: measurement and data collection; assessment of potential and future risks; research and technological development; and the reference laboratory, which is entrusted by the Walloon Government to check the competences and available means of private operators applying for approval. Currently, there are 28 approved laboratories in Wallonia.

Another novelty in 2016 lies in ISSeP’s new laboratory that works on nanoparticles and nanomaterials. Its objective means to facilitate industrialists in formulating an appropriate policy with regards to production, storage and transfer. This laboratory, moreover, performs analyses of flammability and explosiveness of nanoparticles for validation of new products.

Benedicte Heindrichs, general manager

A leader in metrology As a successor to the Institute of Mining (INM created in 1902), ISSeP relies on 40 years of experience in the surveillance of air quality. Today, the Institute intervenes on all environmental matrices. Its unique skills have led it to collect, analyze, and interpret samples of air, ground, sediments and even waste products. It runs 30 sites for the measurement of air quality, and it deeply involves itself with issues of water quality: it performs a yearly mean of 1,800 samples and 350,000 measurements in surface waters.

A dynamic research ISSeP’s research activities focus on two poles. The first pole concerns research projects on external funding. Four European projects are already underway, including two INTERREG V projects. The first one, ALARM, concerns improvement of cross-border emergency response, coordinated training exercises, and operational management of transnational risks “in favor of unbounded safety.” This tripartite initiative aims to develop operational cross-border cooperation between actors in civil safety on either side of the FrenchBelgian border, at various levels (risk analysis, programming, and crisis management) and on a wide spectrum of crossboundary risks. It brings together 26 French and Belgian

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© ESA-ATG medialab

ISSeP’s reference laboratory earned the ISO 17025 certification for its quality management system. In 2016 it extended its accreditation to ISO 17043, after 3 years of hard work to join the very exclusive circle of six Belgian operators empowered to organize inter-comparison experiments between accredited laboratories for the domains “waste” and “water.” ISSeP welcomed with pride this new feather in its cap.

Fire behavior tests on a wooden ceiling element in the RCT (Room Corner Test)

European satellite Sentinel-2

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sludge produced from DWTP); Mesganthrop (development of a responsible approach of the management of anthropized environments through the implementation of on-the-ground measurement tools); PNM-STACK (PM and Nanoparticles Measurement – Standardized Techniques Available Comparison in stack) or Smartpop (spatial planning of the population growth in Wallonia, and particularly in Liège, to shape Smart Cities). In December 2016, the Institute selected 10 new projects out of the 18 projects submitted by the researchers: another proof of the vitality of intern research!

© ISSeP

Successful regional collaborations

Tests and sorting of biota alongside Ourthe

partners, be they institutional, operational, technical and scientific, officials and experts on the implementation of civil protection policies.

Besides its activities on the European level, ISSeP acts at the regional level. It takes part in the competitiveness cluster Skywin where it organizes working groups in Earth Observation. On this basis, it ensures data validation and acts as an interface between companies and public authorities. ISSeP organized a first seminar on this theme in 2016; and in 2017, it will take part in several tradeshows to raise awareness of the opportunities for satellite technologies. In parallel, ISSeP participated in CARMAT, a project approved by the MecaTech cluster: this project, steered by the Recoval company, gathers 35 enterprises, 78 SMEs, 56 university laboratories, and the technology platform “CRM-ETP,” all aimed at increasing the recyclability of steelworks’ slag. Here again, the Institute shares its know-how in terms of measurement and product validation.

The second INTERREG V project, VALSE is a study focusing on valuation scenarios of sediments and other materials. ISSeP involves itself as lead partner of this project, which covers the 2016-2020 period and gathers 12 French, Walloon and Flemish partners for the validation of cross-border sectors for the recovery of materials. This project intends to implement works in full size (landscape ridge, cycling path) favoring their successful integration in the local environment and their sustainable usage. It participates in the demonstration of the feasibility of reusing material and the benefits of circular economy.

ISSeP simultaneously cooperates with the competitiveness cluster BioWin in the BIOCLOUD project, which concerns the development of a measurement system with exchanges using electromagnetic waves in collaboration with the UCL regarding a gene therapy strategy to cultivate stem cells for tissue reconstruction. Within this framework, ISSeP organizes the monitoring of parameters and works towards the implementation of a radio link for data transfer via radiating cables.

An equally significant, European project, ICOS-WB, devotes itself to the investigation of the impact of CO2 emissions on the vegetation in the fight against climate change. It stands as an ESFRI project (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures), which provides funding of infrastructures to measure CO2 emissions with a view to obtaining very high quality, high-throughput measurements over long periods of time. The program relies upon 80 measurement points covering the multifarious land-based and marine ecosystems. Through this project, 3 stations (young forest, masting woodland, vast culture) established themselves in Wallonia. As for ISSeP, it assumes responsibility for process validation.

At the beginning of 2016, ISSeP joined GreenWin to work on projects related to green economy and sustainable development. A single objective links all these projects for ISSeP: to stay at the cutting-edge for all the environmental matrices and its specialty areas. This nexus implies the cooperation with academic and industrial partners and the development of own research programs. With the constantly renewed will to validate the processes and verify the environmental and health impact of new products and industrial processes. In other words, a genuine, public service mission!

“Copernicus” constitutes ISSeP’s fourth European cooperation. In fact, the Institute fully understood the interest of using satellite technology launched aboard of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 for imaging processing and building prospective scenarios on the population’s or vegetation’s evolution, etc.

ISSeP Liège Headquarters Rue Chéra, 200 - B-4000 Liège Tel.: +32 (0)4 229 83 11 Fax: +32 (0)4 252 46 65 Email: direction@issep.be http://www.issep.be

The second pole is equity-based research with the support of a federal mechanism that offers a partial exemption from payment of the withholding tax on the wages of knowledge workers. Thus, ISSeP can secure €2.8 million per year and employ 25 full-time researchers to develop its own projects. These projects include BioBos (production of biodiesel using

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Center for Education and Research on Macromolecules – CERM Polymers to serve coatings, biomaterials and energy As an integral part of CESAM (Complex and Entangled Systems from Atoms to Materials) and of the department of chemistry of the University of Liège, the CERM develops proven expertise thanks to its academic strength, its three permanent FNRS researchers, its three senior scientists, its three post-doc researchers, its twenty-two postgraduates and six technicians and administrators.

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© CERM

ith its twelve nationalities, the CERM produces some thirty-five publications and two patent registrations per year. It specializes in the synthesis of polymer materials along two main lines: the development of innovative materials (controlled radical polymerization, ring-opening polymerization); the development of polymer chemistry more respectful of the environment based on the supercritical CO2 – with a unique platform in Europe that allows synthesis, implementation, foaming process, extraction and polymer impregnation in the sector of functional coatings, biomaterials and energy.

Nanocomposite hydrogel film combining transparency and high mechanical resistance

basis of patents against royalties. Incidentally, the CERM initiated start-ups such as Symbiose Biomaterials, borne by a collaborative research project on bioinspired coatings, and EyeD Pharma, based on the development of -drug-eluting implants for ocular pathologies.

The CERM enjoys a wide range of research partnerships, starting at European level with the projects INTERREG BioMIMedics (development of biodegradable innovative biomaterials for biomedical applications) and Organext (development of organic solar cells). In addition, the CERM cooperates with all Belgian universities, especially through its participation in the IAP network via the fundamental research project “Functional supramolecular systems” (development of polymers self-assemblies of application in adaptive responsive systems, energy devices and porous materials).

The CERM currently remains involved in seven collaborative research projects, two of which concentrate on the development of a new kind of chemistry to synthesize polyurethanes from carbonates, obtained from and with a lower degree of toxicity on the environment, in comparison to the molecules used at present. The CERM also involves itself in projects related to the implementation of biomaterials which have already passed clinical tests, as well as the development of new processing methods such as electrospinning, to design scaffolds stimulating cellular regeneration or various medical implants. Finally, the CERM goes into greater depth on the green technology of supercritical CO2 to design sterile medical devices (suture threads or implants) with anti-inflammatory properties.

The CERM can capitalize on important industrial partnerships with Solvay, Solvin, Arcelor Mittal, Saint-Gobain, UCB, Dupont, Bayer, and a great number of SMEs. Particularly, the CERM co-conceived a patent intended for the development of a biomedical implant eluting a contraceptive agent (the patent is being exploited by Mithra), it ensures the preparation of one of the components of intraocular yellow lenses produced by PhysIOL and develops new trends for future products on the

© CERM

Doubtless, the CERM stands well equipped and ready to address the five major challenges which confront it. From developing synthesis techniques to implementing greener processes (organocatalysts, solvent-free processes, chemical reactions based on atom economy), to help advance chemistry, and develop polymer materials for energy or multifunctional coatings with aqueous processes or without solvents, or develop competitive biomaterials, the CERM seizes upon any opportunity to deepen and make relevant its expertise.

200-milliliter and 50-liter reactors allowing the use of supercritical CO2 for synthesis, impregnation or foaming of polymer or composite materials

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Center for Education and Research on Macromolecules (CERM) - Université de Liège (ULg) Institut de Chimie (B6a) Agora, Allée du 6 Août, 13 B-4000 Liège, Belgium Tel: +32 (0)4 366 34 91 Fax: + 32 (0)4 366 34 97 Email: c.jerome@ulg.ac.be http://www.cerm.ulg.ac.be/


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Centre spatial de Liège – CSL Develop Technologies in the Service of Space A center for applied research belonging to the Liège University, the Centre spatial de Liège relies upon 110 people working on around 80 projects for a yearly turnover of €15 million. The Center draws its funding from scientific partnerships and R&D projects on one hand, and industrial agreements on the other.

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ounded in 1959 as part of the Service of Astrophysics of the Liège University, the CSL owes its existence to the ancestor of ESA, which strived to conduct tests upon and calibrations of optic scientific instruments. Its renown quickly gathered momentum, and since 1976 it stands as the first coordinated testing unit of ESA: all scientific optic satellites must pass through the CSL in pursuit of their space qualification. CSL carries out these tests in vacuum-sealed, atmospherically closed tubs which may attain a diameter of 6.5 meters. Many industrialists have already used this process, including, for example, Airbus Defense and Space.

© CSL

Along with these test activities, the CSL creates instruments and optical qualification methods for ESA and NASA with the support of BELSPO. It also develops competencies in thermal, mechanic and electronic engineering, as well as surface engineering in connection with the realization of these instruments, not counting skills in the processing of the radar signal. The CSL, moreover, develops technological partnerships by launching R&D projects with research centers and Walloon and European industrialists. The objective of these upstream researches: innovation and development of technologies which may be used for land applications, to further economic development.

MIRI mirror

all implied challenges especially in terms of heat dissipation. On the other hand, the mechanical and thermal engineering laboratory hosts a doctoral student whose work concentrates on the space applications of additive manufacturing. In fact, 3D printing offers the opportunity to realize much more “exotic” and performing forms than mechanical machining. The CSL is responsible for the design of an optical baffle using the additive manufacturing method and which will be placed in front of an optical instrument to avoid parasite lighting. This perspective commands great interest for one of the center’s industrial clients.

Without surprise, the CSL comes up in almost all running ESA projects. As an example, the Center takes part in Solar Orbiter, a major joint mission developed by ESA and NASA: its optical characterization and metrology laboratory will carry out the design of the optic side and associated structures in view of an instrument which will work in the ultraviolet domain, with

© CSL

The CSL cooperates with the industrial world and works on the technology transfer with different applications in micro-optics, in the microfluidics industry and in medical services. It developed a special technique for polishing telescope mirrors via ion etching; in other words, on the nanometer scale. This technique has been outsourced to the company AMOS which has been using it for about ten years. A striking example of excellence research at the service of industrial cooperation!

COROT baffle

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Centre spatial de Liège Université de Liège Liège Science Park Avenue du Pré-Aily B-4031 Angleur Tel.: +32 (0)4 382 46 00 Fax: +32 (0)4 367 56 13 Email: csl@ulg.ac.be http://www.csl.ulg.ac.be


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EPHEC University College Practical and Vocational Education with Pedagogical Proximity With three sites (Woluwé, Louvain-la-Neuve, Schaerbeek), EPHEC offers its 6,400 students 8 bachelor full-time training degrees (HE EPHEC), 8 educational degrees in further education (EPHEC Promotion sociale), but also Continuous education programmes (EPHEC Formation), all provided by some 350 regular lecturers and a large number of independent associate lecturers.

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ince its creation, EPHEC has excelled in offering first-cycle specialized education in business-related and technical fields which enable students to find jobs where their specific knowledge and their practical skills are required. EPHEC is positioning itself as an Entrepreneurial School, and was recognized as such by the AEI (Agence pour l’Entreprise & l’Innovation) of the Walloon Region as well as by the Brussels Region.

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As a non-profit making association, EPHEC has set pedagogy as its core value. It aims at offering practical education and vocational programmes and at promoting pedagogical proximity with the learners. We want to embed learning and training in a practical approach and develop our programmes in line with the expectations of the industry and in the interest of society as a whole. We also want to foster pedagogical intimacy to encourage individual competencies and skills: we offer, for instance, flexible schedules to enable top-level sports figures to practise their sport and study at the same time. We rely on open and diversified learning and teaching methods to encourage the students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset.

We have developed research expertise in a number of educational areas: guidance-oriented education; the added value of an individualized E-portfolio; the conditions for the successful implementation of a digital strategy; the effectiveness of tutoring activities and, more recently, of entrepreneurial education.

The pedagogical approach is spread over the 3 years of the Bachelor degree and mainly involves: • In the 1st year: the basic technical knowledge needed for the chosen field of practice, by closely linking up theory and practical applications; • In the middle of cycle: the understanding of the tools and techniques that may be used in the workfield; • In the 3rd year: preparing for employability.

Further education programmes (evening/part-time): encouraging skilled employment The EPHEC School of Further Education organizes bachelor degrees recognized by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (equivalent to full-time BA degrees), as well as higher education certificates and a specialization in tax law. These programmes are presented in a modular form to allow students to follow an individualized go-as-you-please pathway, whereby the validation of gained professional experience allows them to ease their individual study paths.

At the end of the cycle, students in each of the full-time curricula are offered the possibility to choose a major pathway through a range of specialized courses, thus building up a better operational know-how likely to improve their professional integration.

© EPHEC

EPHEC, moreover, aims at developing permanent and continuing education in areas related to management and technology, to support high-skill employment. For two decades, the continuing education department of EPHEC has been organizing its “tax law workshops”, a real must for bookkeepers, accountants and auditors as retraining courses. For some years now, EPHEC has organized short, professional retraining modules for insurance intermediaries.

The EPHEC Entreprendre wall celebrates the business creations of EPHEC students and graduates.

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In 2013, EPHEC’s continuing education department, basing itself on EPHEC’s areas of excellence, started to introduce short, specific training courses focusing on important competencies to help improve integration and progression in the professional world.


© EPHEC

© EPHEC internship

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A company presents the students with the practical case that will be the subject of their "marketing challenge".

EPHEC students take an academic stay at the University of California, Riverside, coupled with an internship at Walt Disney World Resort.

Fostering the entrepreneurial mindset of students

company active in the service sector), business start-up projects with professional coaching, the participation of professionals in the boards of examiners, simulated job interviews, creating a professional e-portfolio, etc.

An entrepreneurial mindset characterizes all our degree courses. Our Louvain la Neuve (LLN) campus benefits from the support of AEI, awarding the label of entrepreneurial school. An EPHEC Entrepreneurial Business Unit was created, working with different partners of the Yncubator (CEI, Mind & Market, AEI, IAD, Azimut, UCL-LSM) . We also promote and help the mapping of support programs in favour of start-ups. We proposed to all EPHEC LLN students a series of monthly workshops that focus on the entrepreneurial mindset.

Our collaboration with enterprises to enhance the development of hard and soft skills among our full-time students culminates with the 15-week internship which they carry out at the end of their studies. This secures their employability and almost unfailingly results in job offers.

A strong global presence

Another EPHEC Entrepreneurial Business Unit was set up in Brussels. Thanks to a subsidy from the Brussels Region for “support for entrepreneurship”, our campuses in Woluwé and Schaerbeek can offer Brussels students some support to start up an enterprise, in partnership with JobYourself, one of its business cooperatives (Brussels Emergences) and with Wikipreneurs. It includes individual and collective coaching, a free access to the “Bruxelles Emergences” TEST pathway and to open co-working spaces, etc.

EPHEC University College remains fully in line with the objectives of the Bologna process and seeks to further the international relevance of its curricula. Students may – if they wish- take part in one of the numerous international weeks organized by many of our academic partner institutions. EPHEC itself organizes some of these project weeks devoted to topics related to marketing, accounting and computer technology. This year, 250 students will embark on an academic mobility scheme lasting for at least one semester. With a total of 155 destinations in 42 different countries both in Europe and increasingly outside Europe, some of these academic exchanges lead to double degrees. We even offer the possibility of a “triple degree” in marketing with a Flemish University College and a Danish institution.

Finally, since December 2015, the academic status of “Student Entrepreneur” has been officially recognized within the University College. This helps students who have achieved this status reconcile their studies with the creation of an enterprise: flexible schedules, leave of absence for entrepreneurial reasons and access to a range of support schemes.

With the backing support of its “External Contacts Unit”, EPHEC University College wants to intensify close links with enterprises, professional bodies and local operators acting in the entrepreneurial sector.

Over one hundred guest students will join EPHEC this year to continue their studies. A growing number of students will also conduct their practical training semester abroad. Many of our lecturers also take part in academic mobility programmes, which lead to profitable exchanges between higher education institutions from different countries.

This is conveyed in a number of ways, e.g.: courses provided by professionals, participation of our lecturers in the activities of professional bodies in line with our own degree programmes ; guided company visits; the annual organization of “Job Days” on our three campuses; invitation of professionals and business creators to join our round tables and give their feedback on our teaching activities; focusing on practical work and case studies as well as professional coaching (a “marketing challenge" competition proposed every year by a

EPHEC Avenue K. Adenauer, 3 - B-1200 Woluwe-St-Lambert Tel.: +32 (0)2 772 65 75 E-mail: ephec@ephec.be - http://www.ephec.be/

A desired partner for enterprises

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HELMo Gramme

© HELMo Gramme

Recognizing the Capacity in Technological Research of Industrial Engineers An interview with Mr Juan HERRERA, Director of HELMo Gramme

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hat are HELMo Gramme’s key figures? HELMo Gramme welcomes some 550 students, divided in two cycles, and totals some sixty to seventy graduates per year. Moreover, it builds on about a hundred teachers, i.e., forty FTEs.

© HELMo Gramme

Would you briefly describe your training offer? As part of the technical division of the Haute Ecole HELMo in Liege, HELMo Gramme organizes a three-year, transitional Bachelor’s Degree in industrial science, and a two-year Masters in industrial engineering science with two orientations: industry and sustainable power engineering, in collaboration with the ULg. In addition, HELMo Gramme plans bridging paths for professional students desiring to become engineers, and organizes, in coordination with the ULg HEC, a Masters named “Industrial & Business Engineering.” At the end of a three-year masters’ period, the graduates obtain two qualifications: that of industrial engineer, and that of managing engineer. Our training courses build on five major points: versatility with a special focus on soft skills; industrial firms’ awareness of our reputation; the EUR-ACE labelling following the receipt of the CTI certification (the French Commission des titres d’ingénieur) by our graduate engineers; and the many learning courses per project which, combined with several participations in competitions, contribute to the development of skills appreciated by companies.

What partnerships did you develop with industrialists? In the second training year, we organize visits to industries; in the third year, we plan six-week immersion courses; in the fourth year, we organize technical visits and cultural tours abroad; and, finally, in the last year, we monitor thirteen-week professional internships which lead to an end-of-studies work. We have also decided to establish an advisory board of ten industrialists, which will have an active role in the governance of the school. Finally, we organize company forums in which some fifty engineers, mostly graduates from HELMo Gramme, convene to talk to third-year undergraduates about their experiences in the industry. Lastly, I mention that we have a database of some hundred enterprises that openly welcome our trainees.

Would you give us a brief overview of your applied research activities? HELMo’s GRIG (Centre de Recherches des Instituts Groupés) defined seven key strengths: optimization, numerical simulation and calculations; mecatronics; measurements and data processing; manufacturing processes; programming; materials chemistry; and medical biotechnologies. Currently, the CRIG undertakes four FIRST Haute Ecole projects, which last two years. PING aims to develop a barrier layer that prevents preferential migration of a glue with solvents (now banned) from impregnating the surface of table tennis paddles. This project falls within the framework of the industrial chemistry pole. MOPI undertakes to design a probe capable of measuring, under real conditions, the concentration of air pollutants in ground water. This project also falls within the industrial chemistry pole. OSAM pursues the development of rules for support management in designing, layer by layer, 3D metal pieces. The project is part of the manufacturing process pole. Lastly, RESPHAN dedicates itself to the development of a phantom which reproduces the breathing motions of patients, and the movements undergone by the tumor in the context of lung cancer. This project falls within the thematic pole of mecatronics.

Which are the main challenges that industrial engineers will meet in the future years? I can identify three challenges. The first one focuses on enriching technical skills with managerial and economic skills. The second challenge concerns learning foreign languages against the background of increasing labor mobility. The third challenge will be the recognition of the technological research capability of industrial engineers alongside their practical skills.

HELMo Gramme Quai du Condroz, 28 - B-4031 Angleur Tel.: +32 (0)4 340 34 30 - Fax: +32 (0)4 343 30 28 Email: gramme@helmo.be https://www.helmo.be/CMS/Institution/Instituts/ HELMo-Gramme/Accueil.aspx 130


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Haute École de Namur-Liège-Luxembourg – HENALLUX Continuous Training, Applied Research and Development of Services At the start of the Academic year 2016, HENALLUX counted 6,300 students divided into 5 categories: economy, paramedic, pedagogy, social and technical (including IT). With its 800 teachers (part of whom are local professionals), e.g., 450 FTEs, the Haute Ecole currently conducts some 20 academic and industrial research projects and trains 2,220 persons per year (1,700 of whom in the paramedical category) as part of the continuous training.

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© Studio THD - Photographer Thierry Dosogne

ENALLUX organizes 16 bachelors (including a new one in Mechatronics and Robotics, the first alternating bachelor of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, whose program it defined in partnership with Agoria benefiting from a European funding), three masters (sciences of industrial engineering; computer systems architecture; engineering and social actions) and four specializations: three in the paramedical category (perioperative care; SIAMU; community health) and a new specialization in Management of Multimedia Documentary Resources for archival purposes in institutions. In addition to this rich, initial training offer, HENALLUX introduced several projects to ARES, including a new orientation for the bachelor “Computer Science and Systems” called “Security of the Systems,” based on a European computer competency reference guide. The Haute Ecole hopes to initiate this project at the start of the academic year 2017. In the same spirit, HENALLUX obtained the accreditation by the Commission of the titles of engineers (CTI) for its training of industrial engineers. It introduced, besides, a four-year bachelor for nurses responsible for general care, in accordance with a European Union directive: it also closely monitors the current development of the initial training of teachers.

carried out by the FoRS center (Continuous training, Research and Services to society). With its knowhow related to the training of industrial engineers, to the Master in computer science, to social engineering, nursing services and pedagogy, FoRS also benefits, in the technical sector, from the experience of vocational bachelors in electromechanics, maintenance, automation, and computer sciences.

© Studio THD - Photographer Thierry Dosogne

A proximity establishment, the Haute Ecole splits its 11 sites among the provinces of Namur, Luxembourg and Liège. Its bachelors and masters intend to be decidedly vocational, in direct connection with a strong involvement of the economic world. By means of their final dissertations, the students analyze real life situations or respond to projects proposed by professional circles. As for master students, they involve themselves with HENALLUX research activities via the writing of their dissertation. These applied research activities are

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The current industrial collaborations of the Technical Category include the ENERGRID project (modelling, development and implementation of a prototype of distributed management of nano-grid systems); a FIRST – Enterprise project tabled by Air Coolers to determine the exchange coefficients of the Skyvefintype exchangers; a technical support study (the Lesse brewery: design of a new energy plant for the brewing process) and BECARV, a technical feasibility study for an “automated control application of structural equipment in a clean room,” both upon request of the DGO6. To these you must add shortterm subcontracting projects such as the implementation of a pellet machine (PrimEnergy); a semi-industrialized machine for sorting out mushrooms (Vegepack); linking a geothermal stock with a aerothermal heat pump (Greenelec); the development and implementation of a solar tracking system, the HyperTracker (Greenelec Europe SE). These diverse activities prove that life-long training, applied research and development of services are part of HENALLUX priorities. Finally, these activities result in publications and communications in various symposia in Belgium and abroad.

HENALLUX Rue Saint-Donat, 130 B-5002 Namur Tel.: +32 (0)81 46 85 00 E-mail : info@henallux.be http://www.henallux.be/


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From science to business: innovation is the drive of impact of the academic research An interview with Dr Michel MORANT, President of the LIEU Network, Vice-President ASTP-Proton

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How are you promoting the know-how of universities and higher education institutions internationally? Academic research is always carried out on international level, with international connections, international partnerships. LIEU international activities are focused on two main goals: finding the best partners for doing research and innovation with our academic teams - for licensing technologies with the highest likehood to reach the market, especially when no relevant industrial partner is available locally - and helping SMEs to step into international cooperation, into international networking. We are also supported by the WBI (Wallonie Bruxelles International) and ALSs (Scientific Liaison Officers, who are dispatched around the world) for the development of scientific collaborations with other countries. Moreover, with the WBI and all of our partners, we strive to identify key locations and themes of particular relevance for Wallonia. Š Ulg

hat are the aims of the LIEU Network and what results have you achieved? The universities and higher education institutions in the Federation WallonieBruxelles have a great deal of potential for innovation, which they want to use for the development of the region. This is the aim of KTOs (Knowledge Transfer Offices), also known as interfaces. In 2003, these organisations decided to work together and create the LIEU Network, which is supported by the Walloon Government and the Conference of Rectors. The LIEU Network was set four objectives: to promote the scientific resources of universities and let the access to them easier for companies, to develop research collaborations between companies and research units, to operate the tech transfer, from scouting inventions to licensing and spin-off creation, and to support the teams in a continuous process of professionalisation. The results are that the KTOs and the LIEU Network have collaborated, over the past five years, with over 1,000 companies, and have signed close to 1,500 research agreements, filed 490 patents, created around fifty spin-offs and carried out 520 transfers of technology. As such, they have had a tangible impact on the regional economy.

LIEU Network also belongs to various international technology transfer organisations such as the European ASTP-Proton and the American AUTM. LIEU has also relationships with the C.U.R.I.E. network in France and the BLEUs Network in Quebec with the purpose of best practice exchange.

Could you tell us about the thematic working groups in the LIEU Network? We quickly realised the benefit of organising ourselves into thematic working groups (WG) that bring together the promotion advisers from the various institutions according to their field. The LIEU Network comprises 6 thematic working groups: agri-food, biotechnologies, energy and environment, materials, humanities and social sciences, ICT, micro and nanotechnology. These thematic working groups are now becoming actual technology platforms, operational gateways to the labs for companies seeking access to university expertise: they analyse the requests from industry, direct them to the academic teams who are in the best position to handle the technical challenge and assist them in setting up collaborations. These platforms are also platforms to promote new results, new licensing opportunities, new technologies which are available for companies. Of course, these platforms work in close collaboration with relevant partners, especially Competitiveness clusters and Business clusters, cluster industry research centers or sectorial federations.

What services do you offer to the 10,000 researchers of the WalloniaBrussels Federation? A researcher’s primary job is to carry out research, with all this entails in terms of scientific publishing and excellence. With this in mind, it is the responsibility of LIEU and KTOs to mobilise researchers and support their efforts throughout the innovation process and also to contribute to the regional development. This mobilisation ranges from awareness-raising actions and intellectual property, to research contracts and funding, even though researchers are much more familiar with this than they were 15 years ago. Responsibility of LIEU members is to help researchers to bring projects from TRL (Technology Readyness Level) 2 to TRL 4, 5 or even TRL 6. This includes managing IP (Intellectual Property), achieving the proof of concept, looking for relevant partners, setting up agreements, and finally transferring properly the technology to the more suitable partner to get to the market. Additionally, LIEU helps in the promotion of laboratories among companies, using industrial language and standards, instead of pure scientific approach.

What collaborations have you formed with Walloon Competitiveness Clusters? LIEU and academia have a good record of collaboration with the 6 Walloon competitiveness clusters and work at different levels. When calls for tenders are being launched by the government trough the clusters, each thematic working group helps the clusters to identify university teams that may be interested. LIEU also assists them in drawing up projects submitted for public funding and help them map out regional university research potential. LIEU also helps promoting the results generated by cluster projects and is typically involved in brokerage events organized by the cluster, such as the BioWin Days. It is important that the LIEU Network and the clusters coordinate their efforts to achieve optimal effectiveness.

Could you tell us about the three service areas for companies in the LIEU Network? Our first area is providing access to university expertise that can meet the needs of companies. This is a considerable task as the knowledge and technologies available are highly diverse. Our second area is the organisation of meetings to match offer and demand. Finally, our third area is assisting in implementing research collaborations and technology transfers. It is essential

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that these fundamentally different environments of research and business understand each other and work together in the interest of both sides and regional development.

creation of spin-offs and the transfer of research results. University trainings or master classes in the high-tech sector, or people exchanges with the private sector are also key factors for connecting industry and academia. The same situation can be emphasized for research collaborations, which are significant factors in the joint generation of knowledge in close collaboration with the companies. Open Innovation is the base of all interactions with companies, and also the base of the funding system in Wallonia, as it is in H2020.

What goes on at the Lab’InSight events? The Lab’InSights (www.labinsight.be) are academia-industry matchmaking events which are focused on a specific technology. These events are organised by LIEU, involving the relevant thematic WG, the relevant academic or industry labs, the companies, competitiveness clusters and other clusters. The event itself is organized in a university, with a presentation of the overall scientific potential of the universities and higher education institutions in the field concerned and B2B meetings. Researchers and CTOs of companies meet face to face and can exchange about their challenges and opportunities. The website, www.labinsight.be, summarizes the whole information and provides access to materials created for these events: details of expertise, PowerPoint presentations, videos and databases of laboratories. The aim of the Lab’InSight events, for the universities and higher education institutions, is to present themselves collectively to companies, with the aim of beginning strategic collaborations in the mid-term.

How is the LIEU Network involved in the AEI Network? The Walloon Agency for Entreprises and Innovatin (AEI) leads a wider network for innovation in Wallonia, because innovation requires a continuous chain of actors, with some specific added value in the process. While academia and LIEU are at the begin of the chain, specific supports help to mature the projects, such as Picarré, which provides IP mapping to KTOs and companies, or Innovatech which coaches SMEs in the innovation process or NCP Wallonie for helping to apply to EU fundings. The AEI provides also support for entrepreneuship and creativity to SMEs, and researchers have access to these activities to. With the Creative Wallonia programme, new creative approaches, as Fab labs, or Venture labs, provide facilities to innovative entrepreneurs, or entrepreneurial students. Cross fertilisation is also the purpose of SPOW, the Science Parks of Wallonia, with attractive programmes like Liege Creative or Luxembourg Creative. The LIEU Network is embedded in the AEI innovation system in order to provide a one stop shop to any innovator, whatever he is from academia, from companies, or in stand alone.

What has the LIEU Network achieved so far in terms of technology transfer and spin-offs created? Since the nineties, more than 250 spin-offs have been created, that is about 10 a year, of which about 80% are still active. However the development of research is not limited to the

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An interview with Prof. Calogero CONTI, Rector of the University of Mons (UMONS)

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How could research at UMONS get the most impact in society?

and 440 PhD students, are based on several laboratories from several faculties and cover all research aspects: from fundamental to applied researches. Each Research Institute works in close cooperation with the UMONS Technology and Transfer Office to promote valorization of results and the technology transfer to Industry and society. For example, we could mention close collaboration with local business clubs, competitiveness clusters through the Walloon Marshall Plan and events between companies and our research Institutes. The UMONS Technology and Transfer Office stimulates entrepreneurship by actively supporting the creation of spinoffs. In 2016, several spinoffs have been created, among which: - Hovertone, dedicated to interactive multimedia experiences; - B-Sens, aiming at the development of new sensors based on optical fibers for safety and health; - iTTENTION for the measure of visual impact of all graphic realizations (websites, folders, ads…).

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hat are Umons’s main strengths as regard to research? The University of Mons, including 7000 students and 1200 employees, actively participates in the public debate and interacts with the society through continuous dialogues and knowledge exchange, nationally and internationally. From 8 years ago, the University of MONS has clarified its research structure by creating and funding 10 research institutes. The motor of our reflection has been based essentially on a top research associated to a transdisciplinary level in growing, innovative and societal key domains such as Life sciences, Energy, Innovative materials, Digital Innovation, Human and societal development and Integrative medicine.

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These 10 research institutes (Biosciences / Complexys / Energy / HumanOrg / InforTech / Materials / Numediart / Risks / Health / Language), including in 2016 a total of 700 researchers

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© UMONS

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- A new Research Center for Energy with breakthrough technologies will soon be operational. This center will be dedicated to smart grids, biomass exploitation and the development of energetically efficient buildings. - The Smart cities “Wal-e-Cities” portfolio’s main goal is to create devices and software that will deliver services and respond to needs in the following four themes: mobility, energy and environment, transparent market data exchange and finally improving citizen living environment.

In parallel, a special focus on the coaching of the PhD students has been realized. A lot of actions have been implemented to increase the success of their PhD thesis and finally their transition into a future academic or non-academic career. We can talk about (i) the possibility to obtain UMONS PhD grants, or private-public (industry or academic) co-funded PhD grants, (ii) the possibility of the proofreading of their scientific articles and (iii) the possibility to increase their language skills. Today, these efforts are fruitful as evidenced by some interesting indicators and events. • Although we are cautious with the international university rankings and their interpretation, in 2016, the University of Mons has entered the prestigious QS world university ranking and immediately reached the second position among Belgian Universities and 87th in the global ranking for its scientific production. • A significant increase of large and collaborative scientific projects is observed at both regional and international levels.

What research partnerships have you developed at regional, European and international level? The University of Mons is concerned to develop and increase its relationnships with neighboring regions such as Northern France and Flanders. In this context, we can be glad that 12 Interreg France-Wallonia-Vlanderen projects have been accepted in the last 2016 call for a total budget of 6.7 M€. We could for example cite the ISAID project which aims to build a transregional platform to handle support given to people with intellectual disabilities.

2016-2017 will see the starting of 41 projects supported by the European Fund for Regional Economic Development funds for a total budget of 30 million euros. These projects are collaborative projects including hundreds of industrial, research centers such as MATERIA NOVA and MULTITEL and other regional partners. We could cite without any exhaustiveness: - The “Low-carbon footprint materials” portfolio aiming at the development of sustainable and composite materials from bio-sourced resources. A special focus will be realized on the development of organic materials for packaging and electronic materials. - The “DigiSTORM” project portfolio giving an answer to the Digital plan of Wallonia by the creation of a living lab for creative industries, and by co-creating research with users where appropriate, with a focus on museum innovation and tourism expansion. - The “Wallonia-Biomed” portfolio with a particular focus on the Bio-Imaging and the BioProfiling. A Bioprofiling core facility dedicated to small and large molecules based on NMR and mass spectrometry technologies will be implemented at UMONS. This structure will be open to industries, hospitals and other research centers. A special attention will also be paid to the training on these growing technologies in biotechnological, health or agrofood sectors.

The University of Mons is also active in a number of international strategic networks and partnerships. Our Research institutes take part in a significant number of European and international research framework programs: - In 2016, our researchers are closely involved in more than 30 H2020 projects, the last accepted project being “Gramofon”, which is dedicated to the research and development of new processes for an efficient CO2 capture using innovative adsorbents based on modified graphene aerogels and MOF materials. Moreover, one of our researchers has obtained an ERC starting grant. - In parallel, our university has also obtained a huge ERA-chair project, RE-SIZED, dedicated to top-level research for solutions and implementation of net Zero Energy City Districts. - In the field of International Cooperation, the University of Mons supports actions which promote sustainable development and social, cultural and institutional progress in South countries. In 2016, driven by its members’ interests in development and cooperation, our research institutes are involved in 6 new ARES-CUD projects towards research and innovation in Benin, Madagascar, RD Congo, Vietnam and Burkina Faso, such as the study of neurotoxic effects of mine exploitation in Katanga.

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The Research Institute for the Science and Management of Risks – UMONS A Transversal Approach at the Service of Risk Prevention Created in 2012 to pool Belgium’s unique abilities in the field of risk management, the Research Institute for the Science and Management of Risks resolutely concentrates on transversality through its 80 researchers and academics, its 14 research services from 5 departments of UMONS, some 20 theses, and 100 publications per year.

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he Research Institute for the Science and Management of Risks organized its research activities around 6 themes: natural risks (geological and hydrogeological studies, seismicity, floods, lightning-protection systems); industrial and technological risks (operational safety, maintenance and industrial reliability, fires, etc.); environmental risks (atmospheric pollutant dispersion, management and treatment of waste and polluted soils); organizational risks (tools for multicriteria decisions, risk management in complex organizations such as hospitals, quality management); socio-economic risks (business management, public finances, financial management of enterprises, etc.); and societal risks (dangers deriving from the fragility of essential infrastructures, new trends in urbanization, societal resilience, etc.). The risk is, by its very nature, polymorphous: the Fukushima disaster demonstrated that an industrial accident of natural origin has serious effects on the socio-economic and natural environment.

© Research Institute for the Science and Management of Risks

focusing on crisis management training in Seveso companies; the “Memoris” project, focusing on the remediation of polluted soils and labelled by the Walloon competitiveness cluster GreenWin, and the Concerted Research Action (CRA) “Blast & Vibration”, which examines how the shooting of mines in quarries affects its neighborhood. Expertise and entrepreneurship work hand in hand at the Research Institute for the Science and Management of Risks. Polyris presents us tangible evidence of this: founded in 2011 by two former researchers of the Institute and Pr. Christian Delvosalle, this spin-off which was registered as a Private Limited Liability Company, is involved in the prevention of major accident hazards in Seveso companies. On this basis, it produces safety reports as well as “Quantitative Risk Assessment” studies on behalf of the chemical industry and of the private companies involved.

The Research Institute for the Science and Management of Risks can avail itself on a great number of studies in industrial maintenance, prevention of pollution or of the risks of karst collapse… In particular, it is recognized for the activities of its Major Risk Research Center: this unique center in Belgium focuses on the management of technological risks in Seveso plants, and it also takes part in many regional, federal and European projects on modelling major accidents consequences, land use planning around Seveso sites, emergency planning, and so forth.

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Recently, the Research Institute for the Science and Management of Risks brought its expertise to bear upon three flagship projects: the European Social Fund (ESF) “Expert’crise” project,

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Considering the complexity of organizations and the increasing interdependence of technical and economic infrastructures, risk has become a current issue, as shown by the vulnerability of our societies facing multiple hazards, whether natural or of human origin. The Research Institute for the Science and Management of Risks has a key role to play: by means of its crosscut scientific methods, it assists decisionmakers in the identification, quantification and analysis of the early signs of risk situations, to develop prevention policies and risk mitigation strategies. A question of survival!

Institut de recherche en Sciences et Management des risques UMONS - Faculté Polytechnique 20, place du Parc - B-7000 Mons Tel: +32 (0) 65 37 44 03 Email: christian.delvosalle@umons.ac.be http://www.umons.ac.be/risques


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Biosciences Research Institute A Multi-Disciplinary Team to Serve the Living World Merging 12 research teams from 3 faculties of the UMONS University, the Biosciences Research Institute brings together 80 researchers, 3 of whom are permanent FNRS and 40 postgraduates. With more than 250 referenced publications per year, the Institute works on a great number of national and international projects, including 2 Interuniversity Attraction Poles (IAP), 2 FP7 and 3 convergence projects (Feder). It also accounts for 2 spin-offs.

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© Biosciences Research Institute

© Biosciences Research Institute

network i.e. “DYnamical Systems he Institute developed a very specific Control and Optimization” (an IAP expertise in 4 main areas: macromolecular including 11 Belgian and foreign and applied chemistry; biotechnological partners representing some 200 and environmental processes (developing new bioprocesses exploitable in the pharmaceutical, researchers specializing in the field agri-food and environmental areas; developof systems theory and control), as ment of associated mathematical models, etc.); well as 2 new ARCs: PHASyn for adaptation of the cell to the organism (undermodeling and functional analysis of standing the coping mechanisms of living purple bacteria metabolism for the organisms to their environmental constraints: production of PHA, and PROTEST chemical communication, the mechanics of the for the production and evaluation cytoskeleton, molecular bases of their adhesion of adhesive, recombinant proteins and mecanotransduction); ecophysiology inspired by starfish glue. environmental biology and microbiology Triangular cardiac cell to study the dynamics (studies and modeling of the link between the Besides, the Institute developed collaof the reorganization of the cytoskeleton living ones and their environment, such as the borations via bilateral projects such as multi-species associations of bacteria and corals); ecology of Wallonia-Quebec, FNRS-CNPq (Brazil), FNRS-CONACYT populations; biodiversity and evolution (analysis of the (Mexico), FNRS-KONNECT (South Corea). It also developed industrial collaborations with GSK Biologicals, Baxter, UCB, mechanisms that govern the size of the populations and Henogen, Solvay, AGC… On top of that, the Institute has joined metapopulations of the living, their breakdown and their the ULB and the Malagasy University of Tuléar to create abundance). Madagascar Holothurie SA, the first commercial company in the whole Western Indian Ocean working on sea cucumber This expertise allows the Institute to take part in a large variety of research projects. They include Byefouling (FP7), concenaquaculture. MatrXcell represents another spin-off underway trated on the production of low-toxicity anti-fouling paints, within the Institute, with the support of the Walloon Region. which operate cheaply and environmentally friendly for mobile and stationary marine applications; Biorat 2, which is The Institute, moreover, keeps optimizing its research work in part of the ESA MELiSSA program (total conversion of organic other directions: the development of specific tools through matter and CO2 into oxygen, food and water for manned large-scale platforms specializing in bio-profiling and imaging; the interdisciplinary center for mass spectrometry space programs lasting several months or years); the DYSCO (CISMa); algorithmic development to enhance service provision in industry; individually instrumented analytical methods in bioprocessing; a rental offer of software licenses for process management and optimization and the transfer of patents are part of the services offered to companies. These provide opportunities to enhance the Institute’s already widely recognized skills.

Photobioreactor to review processes for producing photosynthetic microorganisms for recovery in the field of antioxidants, food supplements, etc.

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Biosciences Research Institute Université de Mons (UMONS) 20, place du Parc - B-7000 Mons Tel: +32 (0)65 37 33 12 Email: biosciences@umons.ac.be http://www.umons.ac.be/biosciences


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European Network of Bioadhesion Expertise (ENBA): Fundamental Knowledge to Inspire Advanced Bonding Technologies COST Actions are a flexible, fast, effective and efficient networking instrument for researchers, engineers and scholars to cooperate and coordinate nationally funded research activities. COST Actions allow European researchers to jointly develop their own ideas in any science and technology field. The Research Institute for Biosciences of UMONS has joined a newly started COST Action dedicated to bioadhesion expertise. biodiversity, comparative biology, biological systems analysis, modelling and simulation, biochemistry, biophysics, as well as in materials engineering: biomaterials, metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites.

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any organisms, ranging from bacteria and fungi to those much larger animals and plants use chemical and mechanical means to attach permanently or temporarily to surfaces. Some bioadhesives have advantages over synthetic counterparts in terms of their ability to function over a wide temperature range, in wet or dry environments, and to form stable bonds within seconds to all manner of substrata, even those with challenging surface coatings. Knowledge about these materials, in terms of composition, structural design and interactions with surfaces, is necessary to reveal the basic biochemical and mechanical principles involved in biological adhesion.

Thanks to UMONS, Belgium is among the 30 partner countries of the Action. Four laboratories of the Research Institute for Biosciences are mainly involved in the Action: - The Laboratory “Biology of Marine Organisms and Biomimetics” (Prof. P. Flammang) is involved in the study of adhesive systems in various marine invertebrates. - The Laboratory “Proteomics and Microbiology” (Prof. R. Wattiez) is interested in the characterization of adhesive proteins from these organisms. - The Laboratory “Cell Biology” (Prof. L. Tafforeau and Dr. E. Hennebert) works in the production of recombinant adhesive proteins. - The Laboratory “Chemistry of Novel Materials” (Prof. Ph. Leclère) is involved in micro- and nanomechanical characterization of natural and biomimetic adhesives using the atomic force microscopy.

This COST Action European Network of Bioadhesion Expertise (ENBA) will unite the widespread European expertise in the field of biological adhesives (spanning biology, physics, chemistry, and engineering) by streamlining and pooling knowledge, methods and techniques, and will focus activities by avoiding duplication of efforts, decreasing research costs, and accelerating scientific and technological progress in Europe. The bottom-up approach of this COST Action, integrating universities, applied research organisations and industry into a holistic program providing technical and scientific progress in understanding the fundamentals of natural bonding principles and test these natural systems in vitro. The Action is gathering a wide range of areas of expertise in biological sciences:

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In order to reach the goals of this Action, specific objectives have been set in terms of research coordination and capacity building. As far as research coordination is concerned, the Action ENBA aims to characterise these adhesive systems, understand their structural and molecular organization, function and determine under which circumstances and surface properties bonding takes place. Besides, artificial structures and chemical analogues based on the natural system shall be designed and evaluated i) in view of their performance and properties related to the biological system, ii) to provide a better understanding of the key characteristics and iii) to establish protocols and technological systems for a continuing production. As regards capacity building, ENBA will be the most effective route for the Bioadhesion community thanks to knowledge transfer, research visits and easy access to a wide technical variety. The Action also aims to strengthen scientific and technological knowledge for young researchers so that they could profit from the wide spectrum of advanced research technologies established in the different laboratories. And let us not forget dissemination and exploitation of Action results, methods and instrumental possibilities between participants and external experts: they are an integral part of ENBA and a dedicated board will see to it.

The common European sea star Asterias rubens is one of the biological models studied at UMONS within the framework of COST Action ENBA. Sea stars can attach themselves to rocks using hundreds of minute sticky tentacles, the so-called tube feet.

Knowledge achieved in this COST Action would certainly have a major impact on European academia and industrial competitiveness in the field of adhesion, nanotechnology, biomaterial and biotechnology and raise public awareness of the diversity of bioadhesives and their impact for technical applications in the future. http://www.cost.eu/COST_Actions/ca/CA15216? https://portail.umons.ac.be/en2/infossur/intranet/biosciences/pages/default.aspx

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Materials Science Department The specialist in multi-purpose coatings and sensors The Materials Science Department, which is a Mixed Unit of the Polytechnic Faculty of the University of Mons and the Materia Nova Research Centre, employs around forty staff and takes part in thirty or so financed projects.

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very year, the Materials Science Department publishes over 10 articles referenced in international publications, makes over 20 presentations at international conferences, and supervises 13 doctoral theses.

Other ongoing projects include Bio AFP: financed under the aegis of the MecaTech cluster, it targets the development of innovative solutions in treatment against finger marks for glass and metals, with applications for GSM devices, tablets, kitchen equipment, etc. Adopted under the framework of the Walloon Region’s Excellency programmes, FlYCOAT brings together 5 universities from the French Community in order to develop nanocomposite biosourced polymer matrices to reinforce the durability of metal structures used in the aerospace sector. Lastly there is Captindoor, which concerns the development of sensors for monitoring volatile organic compounds (VOCs, formaldehyde) from releases of composite materials indoors, for public health purposes.

© Materials Science Department

© Materials Science Department

The Materials Science Department structures its research work based on 4 themes: surface treatment and electrochemical characterisation of multi-purpose coatings, the design and development of sensors, the synthesis and characterisation of functional ceramics and, lastly, dye-sensitised solar cells. Over 10 years, the Materials Science Department has acquired recognised skills in the synthesis of materials The Materials Science and of sol-gel surface coatings for replacing Department’s team hexavalent chromium-based coatings, particularly in the aerospace sector. Having become an expert in The Materials Science Department has developed collaboraselecting corrosion inhibitors and using electrochemical tive efforts with all Walloon research centres devoted to techniques, the Materials Science Department has developed materials: INISMa, Certech, CoRI, CRM, Materia Nova etc. It new conversion treatments as well as adhesion promoters that also works with numerous companies such as AGC, Arceo are environmentally friendly. It has also specialised in the Engineering, Sonaca, Sabca, Techspace Aero, Dalemans, development of coatings that protect, are self-healing, antiMactac, etc. Under the framework of co-operation and bacterial, do not leave finger marks, and are durable. development, it is taking part in creating a skills centre in Moreover, the Materials Science Department has made a name Vietnam for developing surface treatments for protecting for itself in the development of chemical sensors using semimetals that are environmentally friendly. It has also started a conductor materials or based on fibre optics featuring sensitive collaboration project on surface treatments with the University layers that are reactive to the environment. These sensors enable of Sao Paulo in Brazil (CAPES). detection of the pH, analytes present in the solutions, polluting atmospheric gases and gases to be found in homes, gas leaks, Being careful to promote its works (1 or 2 patents are filed every releases of smoke indicative of fires, etc. year and one spin-off, B-Sens, has just been created), the Materials Science Department strives to develop increasingly The Materials Science Department is active at the European “green” technologies, coatings that have ever greater level with 5 new research projects. Three FEDER projects are functionalities, and sensors that are increasingly miniaturised devoted to, respectively, ceramic materials (Ceramax: MAX and sensitive within very low concentration ranges and that phases), surface treatments to increase the durability of are hyper-selective in terms of their detection mode. These are surfaces by hybrid coatings (HybritimeSurf) and chemical all promising avenues for the future! sensors (Micro+). To these are added 2 INTERREG projects with French partners: one is dedicated to the development of sensors to monitor in-situ the drying process of concretes (Cubism), the other aims at improving the tribological properties of the metal surfaces used in the field of transport (Transport).

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Service de Science des Matériaux Faculté Polytechnique de Mons 56, rue de l'Epargne - B-7000 Mons Tel.: +32 (0)65 37 44 31 - Fax: +32 (0)65 37 44 16 Email: marjorie.olivier@umons.ac.be https://portail.umons.ac.be/fr/universite/facultes/fpms/ recherche/gr_ser/serv_sdm/pages/default.aspx


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Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches de l’Institut Supérieur Industriel Catholique du Hainaut – CERISIC Multidisciplinarity at the service of applied research Founded in Mons on 5 October 1984 and intimately connected with the technical category of the Haute Ecole Louvain en Hainaut (HELHa), the CERISIC’s main object means is to lead or collaborate on studies or applied research projects and offer tailor-made training in the fields of science and technology. ith its eleven full-time equivalents (FTEs), CERISIC conducts eight FIRST HE projects and several “chèques technologiques” (financial support granted by the Walloon region for scientific research), which enabled it to generate in 2015 a turnover just above €1 million. CERISIC consists of three research poles: chemistry and biotechnology; electro-mechanical and thermal industries; and, lastly, electronics and electricity.

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CERISIC closely follows the development of several wineries in Belgium, and will rely on its oenologist to propose standard analysis on the ripening of grapes, perform pre-fermentary analyses, monitor alcoholic fermentation, mololactic fermentation, volatile acidity, supervise maturing and conservation of wines as well as their stability before bottling. Thus, we offer a great opportunity to create a new expertise in a booming Belgian sector.

The strongest fields of interest of the chemistry and biotechnology pole lie in analytical chemistry and engineering of (bio)processing. It can assist the development of analytical methods in chromatography, spectroscopy, potentiometry and related studies. In addition, it developed an expertise in bioprocessing and engineering, particularly in the “downstream processing” (preparative chromatography, membrane techniques). The pole also assists its industrial partners in the following fields: - Assessment of the effectiveness of detergents and industrial, institutional and domestic disinfectants; - Industrial water analysis and its recycling or treatment, in addition to, - Custom trials of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and upscaling of their production from 20 to 200 liters for organoleptic tasting and market research.

Finally, CERISIC’s division of chemistry and biotechnology collaborates with IFP in view of developing a full range dedicated to people’s working in the food industry: breweries, food aromatic and sensorial analysis, microbiology, dairy products, food technology (processes in food industry). If you wish to develop a new idea, study a new product or improve your company’s competitiveness thanks to a project of applied research, you may also count on the expertise of the electricity and electronics division in the field of design, implementation and testing of numerically controlled controls as well as in the field of test design. Both main research axes concern electrical engineering: developing innovative tools (control and power electronics, intelligent maintenance, active management, etc.) for engine benches of different yields aimed at developing applications in wind turbines, space, industry, etc.) and electronics: developing telecommunication components, optical sensors or personal assistance sensors based on FPGA and Foxboard platforms, a project which embodies the fruit of active cooperation with the HELHa’s paramedical division (standardization of medical knowledge of professional physiotherapists and of the technical competencies of our own team).

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The division for chemistry and biotechnology is currently involved in the DGO4 OPTIAGV project, which is integrated in the context of the recovery of biomass and bio-waste as a source of renewable energy and volatile organic acids by biomethanisation and / or acidogenic fermentation. Research concentrates on rethinking the complete process of bio-digestion and the upgrading of the molecules produced by adding electrodyalisis combined with bipolar membranes, providing accrued flexibility and improving energy efficiency of the biomass treatment units. The division also participates in the FIRST HE HOPCAPS project, which works at developing a hop-based food product or a product based on any other active ingredient with a strong taste, using microencapsulation in order to mask its taste (in partnership with the Tilman laboratory and YCHOPS); another project involves CAVENAT, which studies how to obtain a liquid extract of green coffee by percolation, so as to include it in the formulation of an energizing beverage in partnership with “Café Storme”.

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For its part, the pole of electronics and electricity increasingly involves itself in projects relating to intelligent monitoring (analysis of the flaws in electric machines or analysis of the alarms in the telecommunications network). To wit, we offer the project FIRST HE AUTODIAG: it seeks to develop a diagnostic tool for predictive fault detection of HVAC electric activators by analyzing the vibrational


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spectrum of electrical machines and by using machine learning systems to extract individual defects which may be present in the motor and in bearings. The pole of electronics and electricity also takes part in the FIRST HE OTIDAM project (a tool for topological analysis including design, configuration and maintenance of system architectures in multiservice telecommunications in confined surrounding), having invested in a real-time simulation platform DSPACE to develop its research in active loads in relation to motor and/or control electronics simulation.

© CERISIC

The expertise of the CERISIC’s poles has turned into a constantly changing training offer. For its part, the electronics and electricity pole on the campus in Charleroi has opened its own KNX training center, KNX being the global standard for house and building control system. This center addresses HELHA’s graduates in home automation, but also as part of continuing education, accredited electricians, system integrators, and related professionals. The basic course, which has already earned major praise (as well as the advanced course which will be available soon), helps participants to develop the competencies required to handle KNX equipment. The progression of automation technology, moreover, allows CERISIC to develop a new research field for the integration and probation of new components.

- Predictive maintenance of piston thermal engines; - Wood and gas combustion; - Refrigerating systems and heat pumps. The pole for Electricity and Electronics, together with the Electromechanical and Thermal pole of CERISIC, rank already in pole positions in their domains, thanks to their complementary competencies with respect to challenges and opportunities. They defined three promising research tracks in applied research: - Algorithms in machine learning applied to vibrational signatures of electrical motors and bearings; - Real-time modeling and simulation (at very high speed) of electrical motors and/or their control electronics (using sensors to detect possible vibrational problems as well as data acquisition systems to predict their behavior), and, - Analysis of 3D camera-driven motion and of inertial sensors in support of medical diagnosis.

Finally, the electromechanical and thermal pole addresses a number of various industrial demands: general mechanics and building engineering for Halliburtun, Ineos and Rochester; applied fluid mechanics for Halliburton and Hydroplus (by means of its two industrial-size hydro power stations); predictive maintenance of piston-driven thermal engines for Icare; wood and gas combustion for Deom, Dynar, Breizhome and Harris-Biochin, and, finally, refrigeration installations, heat pumps and cogenerations for Carlor and Thersa. In sum, the multidisciplinarity of engineers and our laboratory equipment within the mechanical and thermal pole enable us to deliver high-quality service provision to our partners. There are many areas of expertise: - General and mechanical engineering (study and project tracking, CAD, resistance of materials, finite elements); - Applied fluid mechanics (discharges, centrifugal and volumetric pumps);

Thanks to its cutting-edge knowledge, CERISIC managed to establish several industrial and academic partnerships. Among its clients you may find the Brasserie d’Orval, which uses its experimental microbrewery with the aim of establishing a feasibility study on the optimization of the brewing process while preserving the quality of the finished product; also, consult See Telecom, Thales Aliena Space, UCL, le Service d’Automatique et d’Analyse des Systèmes (SAAS) of ULB and the Research Unit “Forme & Fonctionnement Humain (FFH)” of the paramedical category of the Haute Ecole Louvain in Hainaut.

© CERISIC

Wait no longer to contact CERISIC for any kind of technology transfer, leading-edge training, and/or case studies in practically all industrial domains.

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CERISIC Campus HELHa Chaussée de Binche, 159 B-7000 Mons Tel.: +32 (0)65 40 41 90 Email: contact@cerisic.be http://www.cerisic.be


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Center for Microscopy and Molecular Imaging – CMMI Excellence in preclinical imaging The CMMI is an integrated preclinical imaging facility which provides services and training for academic and industrial partners. It offers expertise in electron and light microscopy, in vivo animal imaging, digital pathology and image analysis. Established with the financial support of the European Union and the Walloon Region (FEDER Convergence Program), the CMMI is located in the Biopark Charleroi Brussels South, a site which hosts two academic institutes and several companies active in the field of life sciences.

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ince its opening in November 2011, the CMMI totals 311 publications and illustrations in the media, 158 participations, presentations or posters at congresses and conferences as well as more than 200 contributions in student works. Dozens of contracts for industrial partners have also been successfully fulfilled.

© CMMI

The CMMI offers to industrial firms and academic laboratories a wide range of services covering the entire workflow: sample preparation, image acquisition and analysis. The CMMI is renowned for its wide collection of technologies, ranging from electron microscopy to small animal imaging, with some rare instruments such as holographic microscopes or MRI equipment and PET scans dedicated for small animal imaging. Resolutely interdisciplinary, the platform brings together biologists, physicians, chemists, engineers, mathematicians, computer scientists… and interacts closely with laboratories of the founding universities (ULB, UMONS) associated with the center, which ensures the constant maintenance of high quality methodologies.

The CMMI provides services ranging from sample preparation to image analysis. Here, a technician uses an ultramicrotome to produce 50 nm thick histological sections, before observing them by transmission electron microscopy.

Another plus: the CMMI is positioned within the Biopark (http://www.biopark.be), a center of excellence for the biotechnology sector located close to the Brussels South Charleroi Airport. Created by the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in 1999, the Biopark is today the playground of one thousand persons working in 3 research institutes, 35 companies, an incubator for biotech companies, and a training center. The Biopark has thus become a top location for research, companies and partnerships between universities, private and public institutions. Therefore, the CMMI is ideally placed to

benefit from the interactions with the academic research actors but also with the spin-offs and companies present on the site. In addition, the CMMI regularly offers trainings in collaboration with Biopark Formation, a training center whose mission is to promote the emergence of a center of excellence in the biomedical field. The programmes proposed with the CMMI include trainings in molecular imaging, fluorescence microscopy, electron microscopy, histology, immunohistochemistry and tissue micro-array (TMA) techniques, as well as image analysis.

© CMMI

Based upon its equipment, its partnerships and its expertise, the CMMI is well equipped to anticipate ongoing technological developments. MRI, SPECT, PET, fluorescence microscopy, electron microscopy, anatomo-pathology (e-medicine), processing and automated image analysis provide the CMMI with the full opportunity to remain at the forefront of progress in the field of instrumentation and skills.

The CMMI’s platform for in vivo imaging has advanced equipment: PET, SPECT, MRI, optical imaging... Here, the MRI system operating at a high-field (9.4 Tesla) to ensure very fine explorations of the morphology and physiology.

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CMMI Center for Microscopy and Molecular Imaging Rue Adrienne Bolland, 8 - B-6041 Gosselies Tel: +32 (0)2 650 97 89 - Fax: + 32 (0)2 650 97 95 Email: info@cmmi.be - http://www.cmmi.be/


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Center of Innovation and Research in MAterials & Polymers CIRMAP Using the polymers for the benefit of the environnement Belonging to the UMONS Research Institute for Materials Science and Engineering, one of the 10 Research Institutes of University of Mons, the Center of Innovation and Research in MAterials & Polymers (CIRMAP) of the Faculty of Sciences gathers 152 people representing 25 different nationalities (9 academics, 8 FNRS fellowship recipients, 27 senior scientists, 38 PhD students, 27 postdocs, 13 undergraduates and 30 technicians and administrative staff members). Every year CIRMAP produces ca. 150 peer-reviewed scientific publications, files 2 patent applications and makes ca. 200 presentations at various conferences worldwide.

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he activities of CIRMAP deal with the design, synthesis, processing, characterization and modeling of the structural, mechanical, optical and electrical properties of such technological materials as functional thin films, in particular polymer materials and (nano)composites. The research activities on polymers are carried out jointly by the Laboratory for Polymer and Composite Materials (Prof. J.-M. Raquez) and the Laboratory for Chemistry of Novel Materials (Prof. R. Lazzaroni).

© CIRMAP

In terms of materials synthesis and processing, the major expertise of CIRMAP is in: (i) the synthesis of polymers with tailored and well controlled molecular structures, by catalyzed ring-opening polymerization, controlled free-radical processes, polymerization by supported coordination catalysis, targeted thermosets by thermo- and photo-curing reactions, (ii) the production of (nano)filled polymers and/or (nano)filled polymer blends by (reactive) melt processing, reactive bulk impregnation, (nano)particle functionalization, grafting and encapsulation, and (iii) the development of applications with higher added value (shape memory materials, selfrepairing materials, materials for biomedical applications).

© CIRMAP

These research activities enabled CIRMAP to take part in a dozens of European research programs in the framework of FP7 and Horizon 2020. Among others, CIRMAP participated in a research program for the development of selfrepairing materials for concrete. At present, the center turns to the implementation of higher value-added materials for energy recovery and the development of new renewable blocks for building materials from microalgae in the framework of INTERREG programs. On top of that, both academic and industrial (Total Petrochemicals, GoodYear and other players in the elastomer sector, Solvay, AGC, Techspace Aero, Galactic…) partnerships have been set up at national and international levels via various financial sources (Walloon Region, BELSPO, EU…).

Thanks to its high-flying research activities, CIRMAP is confident in its ability to meet the 3 major challenges looming ahead in the field of materials and polymers: the use of renewable resources to manufacture plastic materials for short-term (biodegradable films) and added-value applications (bioresorbable implants); the development of functional materials for the storage of energy (piezoelectric materials) and self-repairing materials (exposed to moisture for example); and the implementation of materials by 3D printing (with an improvement in the definition and the integration of ad hoc plastics).

CIRMAP UMONS 20, place du Parc - B-7000 Mons Tel.: +32 (0)65 37 34 83 Fax: +32 (0)65 37 34 84 Email: jean-marie.raquez@umons.ac.be roberto.lazzaroni@umons.ac.be http://morris.umons.ac.be/CIRMAP/

Willing to promote the results of its research works, CIRMAP has developed a close collaboration with Materia Nova asbl and one of his former members, Prof. Ph. Dubois, was behind the creation of the spin-off NANO4 S.A.

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CRECIT - Center for Scientific and Technical Research, Testing and Quality Control for the Textile Industry A Unique Expertise in Belgium A non-profit association created in 1954 by the Hainaut Province to support textile companies, the Center for Scientific and Technical Research, Testing and Quality Control for the Textile Industry (CRECIT) employs 15 persons in four sectors: the production of tapestries, the restoration, conservation and cleaning of ancient textiles, a dye house and an analytical laboratory of textiles.

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projects’ requirements of contemporary artists who ask for different shades than those contained in their color chart. In these cases, the dyer uses the spectrophotometer to meet as closely as possible the shades required by the artist. Subsequently, the nuances are verified by a test performed in a light booth which meets all standards; they are compared to the shades obtained from the projected nuances, limiting the metameric effect (color variations occurring when an object is exposed to different sources of lighting).

hrough its services and thanks to the subsidies granted by the Hainaut Province, the CRECIT developed a unique expertise in Belgium. It is the country’s very last manufacture using selvedges to produce contemporary tapestries by haute lisse using a modified weaving loom, with additional pedals in comparison to other weaving looms. In addition, the CRECIT gathers in one and the same place all its activities: tapestry production, restoration work, conservation and cleaning, a dye house and textile laboratory responsible for all necessary controls. This local concentration allows for fast exchanges to take place between the different players during the various stages of the process.

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On the strength of its expertise, the CRECIT has consolidated a diversified clientele from all continents. Its laboratory carries out analyses for textile companies, for museums, associations for the protection of the textile heritage, public and private institutions, for collectors as well as for world-famous artists and art galleries.

Over the years, the CRECIT managed to diversify its activity and enhance its ability to work with different materials: irrespective of whether they are natural materials (wool, silk, linen), whether of different quality depending on supplies, synthetic or both natural and synthetic materials, CRECIT always ensures optimized production and analyses, in compliance with specifications.

Thanks to its multifarious skills, CRECIT confidently envisages the evolutions affecting its branch. The textile laboratory receives frequent requests to perform rapid controls of a textile material once it is extracted from a container, with respect to its quality and compliance with product specifications. The results of these tests are an important support for buyers when they must decide whether to accept or reject given merchandise. The selvedges, on the other hand, must interpret the projects of contemporary artists – meaning that they must translate a painted cardboard onto textile writing, a delicate task that they accomplish successfully. In the field of preservation and conservation, the CRECIT abides by strict product specifications with an enhanced focus on the conservation of damaged parts, choosing to stop their degradation while respecting their history. This adaptability defines the strength of the CRECIT, which remains prepared to adjust itself to new ways of working.

© CRECIT

The CRECIT maintains its repute for dying all sorts of shades on different kinds of textile substrates. It has developed a color chart of three hundred different shades in wool, silk, etc., available from stock. Its selvedges must increasingly meet the

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ASBL CRECIT Rue Paul Pastur, 2 B-7500 Tournai Tel: +32 (0)69 23 22 78 Fax: +32 (0)69 23 47 12 Email: infos@crecit.com http://www.crecit.com


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The Haute Ecole Provinciale de Hainaut-Condorcet Practical Teaching and Applied Research to Serve Industry Active in all teaching sectors, the Haute Ecole Provinciale de Hainaut-Condorcet provides its 8500 students practical teaching and a long tradition in applied research.

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© Haute Ecole Provinciale de Hainaut-Condorcet

stablished back in September 2009, the Haute Ecole comprises seven locations and offers some fifty bachelor and master diplomas, along with specializations and oneyear bridges. These courses cover applied arts, technology, economics, paramedic training and pedagogy, social policy, and agronomy. Common to them lie a professionalizing approach and close relationship with enterprises. The Haute Ecole also promotes Erasmus exchanges from dissertations to entire study-years abroad. Applied research is an important activity in the Haute Ecole: it contributes to the scientific quality of teaching and the influence of the Haute Ecole in society. These actions are particularly present in the agricultural, paramedical and technical categories with several research teams: a laboratory in biotechnology and applied biology, a laboratory in applied plant ecophysiology, a laboratory in effort and movement, a laboratory in food technology, a laboratory in asymmetric synthesis chemistry and organic chemistry, and a life lighting service.

Both the laboratory in biotechnology and applied biology and the laboratory in applied plant eco-physiology are working closely with CARAH, a research center associated with the HEPH-Condorcet that has an experimental farm with greenhouses among its facilities. The laboratory in applied plant eco-physiology revolves around the soil-plant-environment system and its research topics include mineral plant nutrition, soil biological activity, biostimulants, the physical behavior of agricultural soils, the study of contaminant transfer to plants, artificial lighting of plants (with among others a project about connected and enlightened planters with the company 4Sense) and in vitro culture (with the launching of tests on morel crops).

More precisely, the research laboratory in effort and movement was gradually built since 2004 and is now composed of 5 faculty members whose skills are directed in the fields of exercice and motion physiology, oxygenotherapy, obesity, COPD, intensive care, and endothelial function. Their research topics cover respiratory physiopathology, obesity and daily activities, exercice performance improvement on health subjects, muscular hemodynamic and structural alterations and early mobilisation in ICU. For its part, the laboratory in biotechnology and applied biology was gradually built since 2009 and is today enhanced by a team composed of biologists, bioengineers and biochemists, whose skills are mainly directed in the fields of plant pathology (detection and genetic sequencing of diseases affecting potatoes or trees such as the honey mushroom), environmental metagenetics, varietal analysis of cultivated plants and sanitary quality of agricultural and food products.

Thanks to this wide-range expertise, the Haute Ecole is also active at the international level. It has just been granted the coordination of an ARES project on North-South cooperation with Cuba with the aim of developing sugar cane waste for the production of innovative biopolymers. Besides, the Haute Ecole is taking part in the Erasmus+ project “eforOwn” in order to create an agroforestry platform at the European scale together with French and Spanish project leaders.

© Haute Ecole Provinciale de Hainaut-Condorcet

The Haute Ecole also stands as a partner of choice for industry: Elia, the Skywin cluster, producers of fertilizers and other agronomic firms, public and private laboratories - from Belgium and abroad - all call on its expertise that devotes itself to enriching the dynamic promotion of cross-category research. The Haute Ecole intends to capitalize on the many opportunities within reach to explore even further in applied research.

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Haute Ecole Provinciale de Hainaut-Condorcet 17, Chemin du Champ de Mars - B-7000 Mons Tel.: +32 (0)68 26 46 61 http://www.condorcet.be


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The University of Namur: cross-disciplinary thinking and opening-up to the outside world An interview with Prof. Martine RAES, Vice-rector for Research and Libraries at the University of Namur (UNamur) ould you present the key figures and latest chemistry and physics of the solid state, the goal being to enable the rational design of news regarding research at the University solids with particular structures and surface of Namur? properties. ILEE (Institute of Life, Earth and The University of Namur is an averageEnvironment) gathers together skills in basic sized university with over 6,600 students and applied science, ensuring a significant registered since the start of the 2015/16 contribution to a better understanding of the academic year and more than one evolution of life, environmental challenges thousand researchers (including 357 and mineral resources, with ecological, lecturers and 710 scientists). The univertechnological, socio-economic, historic and sity’s research budget amounts to approxicultural perspectives. IRDENa (Institute of mately €35 million, of which €20 million Didactic Research and Education of UNamur) comes from external donors. Although focuses on education as a research subject, some departments only offer undergradlooking at changes and innovations which uate degrees, they all supervise PhD are unsettling education and training students and 2015 was particularly systems, and the roles, identities and training successful, with 70 theses defended. The programmes of educational actors. Three research landscape is also undergoing other institutes related to social and human profound changes at UNamur, a university Mme Raes sciences will be launched in February 2017. which has always encouraged inter and Several institutes are involved in the search for sustainable cross-disciplinary approaches. Therefore, to increase the solutions, a top priority that was the theme of the academic year visibility of research internally, and particularly externally, and 2016-2017. also to enable collaborations between teams of different disciplines, 7 new institutes have been added to the NARILIS Could you tell us about some of the new research projects? institute in 2016, which has been in existence since 2010. UNamur’s projects cover the whole of the TRL scale. Alongside the basic research projects carried out in all Joining forces with researchers at CHU UCL Namur, NARILIS disciplines, there are various more applied projects which can addresses the life and health sciences on all levels, from genes lead to successful collaborations with companies or the to public health. The researchers at NADI (Namur Digital creation of spin-offs. At an international level, we should note Institute) find innovative solutions to the new societal that the CRED brought the “Economic Development and challenges posed by the digital revolution, applying their Institutions” project to UNamur. It was funded by the UK's scientific skills to computer science, technology, ethics, law, the economy and society. naXys (Namur Institute for Complex systems) specialises in the analysis of complex systems (dynamic astronomy and cosmology, mathematical biology, optimisation in optics, economics), studying the stability and robustness of these systems through mathematical methods and numerical simulations. DeFiPP (Development Finance & Public Policies) brings together CRED (Centre of Research in the Economics of Development), CEREFIM (Centre for Research in Finance and Management) and CERPE (Centre of Research in the Regional Economy and Economic policy). It aims to promote research excellence in economics and finance, through quantitative methods. ESPHIN aims to be a crossdisciplinary philosophical space open to the outside world, whose purpose is to encourage original research developments in its two founding departments - the Philosophy department of the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature, and the Philosophical and Social Sciences Department in the Faculty of Sciences. NISM (Namur Institute of Structured Matter) covers a range of research topics in chemistry The smartphone geolocation will be used to study the link between biodiversity (organic, physical, materials), surface science, and the and respiratory diseases, within the framework of the RespirIT project.

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Wallonia-Brussels Federation, including SIAM (Synthesis, Irradiation & Analysis of Materials) - UNamur’s technological platform led by researchers in the Physics department.

Department for International Development (DFID) and its purpose is to study the role of institutions in the economic development of poor countries under unstable rule. As for the CRIDS (Centre of Research on Information, Law and Society), it is participating in the H2020 TeSLA project (An Adaptive Trust-based e-assessment System for Learning), which aims to develop biometric authentication mechanisms for students taking courses online.

How do you promote the results of your research? With the support of its research administration team (ADRE) and the Walloon Region (the Mirval+ programme), UNamur has carried out a large number of promotional initiatives. In 2016, UNamur officially inaugurated 8 technological platforms accessible to both the scientific community and to companies. A Business & Learning Center was also set up, which as well as being a business centre, hosts activities aimed at the general public and companies, promoting research. Finally, UNamur is involved - alongside the ‘hautes écoles’ in the Namur province - in the student incubator LinKube launched at the start of October 2016.

UNamur also succeeded in picking up 3 BRAIN (Belspo) projects for the 2016-2021 timeframe: SAFRED regarding biodiversity, RespirIT in the field of geosystems, universe and climate and FLEXPUB in the context of public federal strategies. 2016 has also been a good year for the Walloon competitiveness clusters. Our researchers are participating in two MecaTech projects: NanoAppli, for the optimisation of the production capacities of nano-powders (UNamur is providing its expertise in using plasma in surface treatment and in the characterisation of nanomaterials); and PCC80, carried out by the company Stûv, to which UNamur is lending its skills in advanced numerical stimulation in the field of optics and photonics. Researchers from the Computer Science Faculty are also partners of the D-DAMS project funded by Skywin and the DIGITRANS project (Logistics in Wallonia) led by the company Alstom Belgium. Finally, FRISBY (Fast and Reliable ultra-sensitive Identification of Streptococcus B at deliverY) is a project certified by BioWin and led by the company Coris BioConcept. It is aiming to develop an ultra-sensitive test for the detection of the Group B Streptococcus bacteria and is rallying together a team of chemists from Namur.

This year, two UNamur projects have been selected by the Walloon Region under the “FIRST Spin-off” programme framework. The first project was led by the Research Unit in Cellular and Molecular Plant Biology with the goal of improving the effectiveness of bio-pesticides. This involved choosing plants to study, the first model being the potato. At the end of the project, the research team intends to offer its services to the creators of elicitors, breeders and farmers. The second project, led by the Research Unit in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, proposes the development of an optimal canvas for the application of modern taxonomy methods in biological inventories. At the end of the programme, the team plans to create a unique study and consultancy office in Wallonia to be able to offer its services in the field of biological inventories and naturalist surveying in aquatic environments.

What research partnerships have you developed? UNamur is involved in many public-private partnerships. As well as projects funded by Walloon competitiveness clusters and those already mentioned, of note are the BioWin EMPEROR project which is developing a new anti-embolism device, led by the company Frid Mind Technologies, or MecaTech’s HAVCOAT project which is developing coatings for use in the automobile and jewellery industries. More generally, UNamur is involved in many academic and industrial partnerships in the FWB (Wallonia-Brussels Federation), in the Walloon network of companies, with the Namur hospital network or the BEP and the City of Namur, with the TRAKK project, a participative and creative platform at the heart of the town.

UNamur Venture, an investment fund financed by UNamur and Namur Invest, provides the start-up funds for UNamur’s spin-off projects and continues to support the spin-off’s developers. Three spin-off projects have emerged in the past 12 months: SkalUP, arising from the Computer Science Faculty, offers advice and software suites in the field of configuration; Brainstorm Consulting, a product of the Economic Sciences and Management Faculty, is a company specialising in the development of virtual consultants to provide guidance for users; and finally MGA Consult, a centre of expertise on collaborative transition, arising from the Computer Science Faculty, specialises in improvisation techniques for co-creation.

Internationally, UNamur research groups maintain privileged and complementary relationships with other research teams, allowing them to participate in projects within the European funding programmes INTERREG, ERA-NET and H2020. Within the framework of the “Move-in Louvain” programme, co-funded by the European Union’s ‘Marie Curie Actions’, UNamur is welcoming 3 new top international PhD scholarship students, one into the Chemistry department (for a project looking at new strategies to combat antibiotic resistance), one into the history department (for a project on economic practices in the Middle Ages), and one into a research group on multilingualism (for a project on sign language in Belgium). After a successful visit from the Fraunhofer UMSICHT in 2015, UNamur also welcomed a delegation from the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films (IST) which came to Belgium in May 2016 to visit several platforms in the

In addition to spin-off projects, there are currently 36 projects for the development of new products/services including 18 with a TRL level of 5 or more. The projects are equally distributed between Human and Social Sciences, ICT, Life Sciences and the field of Materials. Among other notable projects in the Human Sciences department is the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature’s creation of the first computerised corpus in Sign Language of French-speaking Belgium (LSFB). UNamur also values its cultural heritage. In May 2016 it opened within its library, the Moretus Plantin University Library - the new precious reserve section, which meets the latest international standards on the conservation of ancient books. Among them are some gems such as incunables and even original editions of Galileo, Newton, Diderot and D’Alembert.

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INDEX OF COMPANY PROFILES AND ADVERTISERS A

I

ATM - Aero-Thermo-Mechanics .........................................30

Institut Scientifique de Service Public - ISSeP..............124-125

B

Institute for the Science and Management of Risks UMONS.........................................................................136

Becetel vzw .................................................................75-76

J

Belnet...............................................................................20

Jabil Circuit Belgium N.V. Hasselt Research & Design Center .....................Cover 4, 66-67

Biosciences Research Institute...........................................137 BIRA-IASB - Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy .....14-15

L

C

Earth and Life Institute - Applied Microbiology (ELIM) Laboratory of Mycology of the UCL ................................121

Center for Education and Research on Macromolecules CERM - Université de Liège .............................................126

M

Center for Microscopy and Molecular Imaging – CMMI ....142 Centre for Research in Cognition & Neurosciences

Materials Science Department - POLYTECH MONS...........139

CRCN .............................................................................32

4MAT Service ...................................................................33

Centre spatial de Liège – CSL ..........................................127 Chemical Physics of Materials and Catalysis - ULB ..............31

S

CERISIC - HELHa ....................................................140-141

SCK•CEN ...................................................................46-47

CIRMAP - UMONS .........................................................143

Skyline Communications...............................................70-71

CoRI - Coatings Research Institute .................................84-85

SynHERA ....................................................................93-96

CRECIT...........................................................................144

T

D

Thales Alenia Space Belgium .....................97, 102-103

Dothée SA ......................................................................87

U

E

UHasselt......................................................................62-65

European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association - ETRMA ............................18-19 EPHEC University College.........................................128-129

Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences Molecules, Solids, Reactivity (IMCN/MOST) Pr. Yann Garcia's Research Team - IMCN MOST ..............120

G

V

GO2M ............................................................................86

Verification and formal methods - ULB ...............................34 Vlerick Business School ...........................................54-55

H Haute Ecole Provinciale de Hainaut-Condorcet .................145

W

HELMo Gramme .............................................................130

WBC Incubator........................................................116-117

HENALLUX ....................................................................131

Weiss Technik Belgium ..............................Cover 2, 72-74

HOWEST University of Applied Sciences ............................57

WOOD.BE .......................................................................69

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Belgian Research in Europe  
Belgian Research in Europe  

2017