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Strengthening Innovation in Belgium

Belgium’s attractiveness for R&D and innovation activities continues to improve, as evidenced by the country’s strong performance in this year’s Global Innovation Index and European Innovation Scoreboard.

Belgium regained two spots in this year’s Global Innovation Index (GII), ranking 25th out of the 126 countries evaluated, and maintained its rating as a ‘strong innovator’ in the 2018 European Innovation Scoreboard. Although Belgium is ahead of the EU average, it is still outperformed by its ‘innovation leader’-neighbors, specifically the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

The GII identifies several enduring strengths of Belgium, including its logistics performance (ranked 6th), expenditure on R&D (11th), school life expectancy (2nd) and university/industry research collaboration (9th). Indeed, Belgium leads the EU on linkages and collaboration, according to the European Innovation Scoreboard.

However, Belgium still struggles to attract foreign direct investment net inflows, ranking second to last in the GII. Furthermore, compared to the other top 25 countries, the GII identifies several weaknesses, including e-participation (54th), the ease of getting credit (88th), joint ventures and strategic alliances (35th) and knowledge diffusion (30th).

To improve its ranking and keep up with the growing competition on the regional and global market, Belgium should continue to stimulate innovation and rise above its position as a strong innovator to become an innovation leader.