BRIEC – standing for Belgian Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Community- was launched by the FEB on its Innovation Forum of October 2016 (“Innovation across Borders”). Our main objective is to stimulate cooperation between the various innovation players in Belgium. We don’t have the intention to replace existing initiatives but to maximise our innovation potential by improving collaboration. 


Edward Roosens, chief economist at the FEB and the driving force behind this project: “BRIEC wants to stimulate innovation-collaboration between academics, research institutions, clusters, sectors and large and small companies. It wants to do this via thematic network events around six major societal challenges. Company or sector A often has a solution to the problem of sector or company B, but they do not know each other. This is especially true when B is located in a different Belgian region. The FEB wants to change this with BRIEC.” 

Is Belgium a good innovator? 

In 2016, Belgium ranked 8th in the European Innovation index. This means we were not one of the 6 European ‘innovation leaders’ but only one of the ‘strong innovators’ whose performance is similar to the EU-average. From our neighbouring countries, only France ranked lower.  Nowadays, Belgium is doing well as it ranked 5th in the European Innovation index of 2022. This means that there are still four countries to pass. 


Why this initiative? 

A growing group of companies already collaborates with universities, research institutions and other companies and closely follows the start-up landscape in search of exciting innovations. Unfortunately, cooperation is too often limited to a single sector, somewhat rare and unplanned. The FEB wants to bring together entrepreneurs and innovation players from all Belgian regions and sectors on a regular basis to strengthen information exchange and cooperation. BRIEC will do this through thematic networking events around six social challenges: Aging & Health, Energy & Climate, Free Time & New Media, Mobility & Urbanization, Tasty & Healthy Food and Finance & Insurance. 

Edward Roosens: « Although Belgian companies don’t perform poorly regarding R&D and cooperation in a European context, there’s still room for improvement. There are still too many barriers between academics and companies, between sectors and companies and between innovation players from different regions. With BRIEC, the FEB wants to help overcome those barriers. »

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