Correspondent Profile

National Correspondent Name: Tom Eeckhaut
Profile Picture:
Country: Belgium
Organisation: ILVO
Number of Members: 2
IAPB related activities if any that you organise within your country/region e.g local meetings:
Conferences/events/meetings that you plan on attending this year or early next year: IAPB Dublin 2018
A short piece about the plant science sector/industry in your country:
Belgium, particularly the region around Ghent, has a long tradition in plant biotechnology and is one of the main biotech clusters in Europe. Belgium concentrates on 30,528 km² more than 300 life sciences companies with biotech activities. In total, the life sciences sector employs more than 30,000 people (not including indirect employment generated by the sector). The majority of the companies is related to healthcare, but Belgium also has a strong representation of agricultural and industrial biotech companies. The growing life sciences sector gathers 8 main Belgian universities (eg UGent), 19 research parks and 23 incubators, theoretical or practical research institutes (eg VIB-PSB, ILVO, research centre fruit/vegetables/ornamentals…), academic hospitals, and clinical research organizations. This ensures that as well fundamental and applied plant research is covered, and the government stimulates cooperation between these different levels. Biotech companies have access to more than 500,000 square feet of highly flexible infrastructure. Over 40 companies are active in green biotech, mainly in Flanders. Not only extensive life sciences facilities support Belgium’s high-level technology industry but also financial benefits for R&D companies, international collaborations that guarantee regular cash flow, world known educational systems, a promising product pipeline, and Belgium’s unique central location in Europe. Additional assets of Belgium include: a supportive regulatory and political environment, a highly qualified and productive workforce, a competitive tax environment especially for research companies, a prominent location and an excellent logistical and business infrastructure.