Jessica Vermeer
5 November

Both Flanders and the Netherlands have much to gain by collaborating to meet the social-economic challenges they’re facing. This was the key takeaway from the first Flemish-Dutch Science & Innovation Day. A couple of days later, FME reported that the Netherlands needs to intensify its collaboration with Germany to meet its societal problems and retain its competitive strength.

Several Flemish-Dutch collaborative projects are already in place, eg for photonics and regenerative healthcare, but more can be done. According to Johan Hanssens, Secretary-General of the Flemish Department of Economics, Science & Innovation, both regions are facing greatly similar challenges. On top of that, investments in science and innovation are comparable.

The event brought together over 230 stakeholders from government, industry and academics. They discussed four subjects: life sciences and health, artificial intelligence, digitalization in industry and sustainable energy. Secretary-general Hanssens expects the day to lead to concrete projects.

Johan Hanssens (in the middle) debating during the first Flemish-Dutch Science & Innovation Day. Credit: Flemish Department of Economics, Science & Innovation

According to a recently released FME report, both the Netherlands and Germany are facing the same societal challenges. “There’s much potential between the two that we can use better,” says Dirk Brengelmann, German Ambassador to the Netherlands. “By combining German high-quality research and Dutch practical applications, both countries could profit and become leaders in sectors that are of strategic importance for the future.”