Global performances of the system

The overall performance of the Belgian national/regional innovation system(s) is shown in a spider graph. The graph gives a synthetic overview of the strengths and weaknesses of Belgium and its regions in comparison with the EU average (indicator values relative to the EU (EU28=1)).

The development of a national or regional innovation system is impacted by a series of socio-economic factors: macroeconomic environment (GDP, value added, employment rate, productivity, exports, competitiveness), demographic evolution, economic specialisation, available infrastructure ...

Entrepreneurship is an important element of the innovation system. Creating new businesses ensures the valorisation of new knowledge or new ideas. To help entrepreneurs start and develop a business, it is essential to create a favourable business environment with clear and appropriate legislation, and with easy access to financing.

Human resources, and in particular R&D personnel, are at the heart of the innovation process. In a context of rapid technological change, the role of education and lifelong learning is very important to develop skills for innovation.

Innovation activities include “all developmental, financial, and commercial activities, undertaken by a firm, that are intended to result in an innovation” (Oslo Manual). Innovation activities include R&D activities, but also other activities. Spending on research and development not only allows new knowledge creation and innovations development, but also improves the capacity to absorb the knowledge and innovations developed elsewhere.

Public authorities are an important actor of the innovation system. Most basic research is performed in universities and in public research institutes, which are largely funded by the public sector. The government also contributes to business R&D through direct funding (grants, contracts, and loans) and through tax incentives.

Outputs of the innovation process are a way to measure the results of research activities and of other activities contributing to the development and implementation of technological and non-technological innovations. The economic impact of these innovations is also included.