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Our targeted cluster policy will focus on the strengths of our region and seek cooperation with other clusters, companies and research organisations to build European value chains in partnerships.

The ‘targeted cluster policy’ that recently has been developed, is entrepreneur-driven and will accelerate the transformation of the Flemish economy and industry. We embrace a new approach based on entrepreneurial discovery, value chains, clusters and systemic projects in order to boost productivity. Our ‘targeted cluster policy’ is focusing on smart specialisation. Choices will be made for those clusters that will contribute to the strengths of the Flemish industry and that will make the difference in the international arena. The cluster policy will serve as a leverage to tackle the innovation paradox.

The transformation of the industry in Flanders, is working on two axes. On the one hand, the already existing strong industrial clusters focus on tackling the new global challenges, e.g. the transition in the petrochemical cluster towards “sustain­able chemistry”. The second axis focuses on the innovative power of new industries based on key-enabling technologies such as micro-electronics, biotech or new mate­rials where Flanders has built internationally outstanding knowledge institutes such as IMEC and VIB (Flemish Institute for Biotechnology). These emerging industries provide new solutions for new challenges, e.g. in personalised health care.

Flanders is an open region. The so-called Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen triangle (ELAt) has been operational for several years, by for instance pooling resources between Flanders and the Netherlands for nano-electronics research in the Holst Institute. Coopera­tion with the Netherlands and North Rhine Westphalia has been strengthened re­cently with a trilateral cross-border cluster initiative for sustainable chemistry and bio-based economy.

Minister of Work, Economy, Innovation and Sports