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Belgium named 5th most innovative country in Europe

Belgium has been named the fifth most innovative country in the European Union, with the success of its public-private partnerships and ability to attract foreign doctoral students making it one of Europe’s five official “innovation leaders.”

According to the annual EU publication European Innovation Scoreboard 2023, Belgium’s overall innovation performance is 125.8% higher than the European average. Belgium was also found to have improved its innovation performance by 14.1% between 2016 and 2023, well above the European average of 8.5%.

Belgium fared especially well compared to its neighbours, ranking ahead of Germany (7th), Luxembourg (8th) and France (11th). It was narrowly beaten by the Netherlands which came 4th.

The study reported that Northern European countries are particularly innovative, with Denmark ranked as the EU’s most innovative Member State, followed by Sweden and Finland.

By contrast, Eastern and Central European countries were generally deemed the bloc’s least innovative. Romania recorded the EU’s worst innovation performance score, followed by Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia.

‘One of Europe’s frontrunners’

The study attributed Belgium’s strong innovation performance to “substantial increases in foreign doctoral students, SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] with business process innovations, and non-R&D innovation expenditures.”

The study also reported that Brussels is a particularly critical innovation hub for Belgium and, indeed, much of the rest of Europe. According to Innoviris, a government organisation which funds and supports research and innovation in Belgium’s capital city, the study demonstrates that “Brussels is consolidating its position as an innovation leader in Europe and, as a region, is experiencing the strongest growth in Belgium.”

Innoviris’ conclusions were echoed by Barbara Trachte, the Brussels-Capital Region State Secretary responsible for overseeing the city’s economic transition and scientific research.

“The Brussels research and innovation ecosystem proves once again that it is one of the frontrunners in Europe,” she said. “Our ambition is to consolidate this status by enabling our region to play a leading role in the economic transition.”

Source: The Brussels Times