Valorisation at UAntwerp - former vice-rector Silvia Lenaerts

UAntwerp as driving force for innovation ecosystems

Antwerp is the economic driving force of Flanders, thanks to its world port, the second largest chemical cluster, a strong creative sector but above all a shared ambition to grow the region through innovation.

The university's role has broadened to that of driver, i.e. a driving force, for innovation: it will become an innovative regional force in knowledge-intensive ecosystems. On the one hand, by providing well-trained people; on the other hand, by responding to the specific needs of the innovation ecosystem in which the university is embedded.

Based on the University of Antwerp's own strengths combined with the peculiarities of the Antwerp ecosystem, the university will focus on three areas of valorisation. These domains are: sustainable chemistry & materials; metropolitanism, smart city, mobility & logistics; and infectious diseases & environmental health. In order to support and strengthen the valorisation processes within these different domains, a pre-incubation structure will be set up within each of them. This is an open innovation hub where the various actors of the relevant innovation ecosystem can physically meet to work together on innovation projects as well as follow training programmes.

Three Valorisation Domains

1. Sustainable chemistry and materials

The Blue Gate site closely linked to the city, the port, the university and the Maritime Campus, is the beating heart of innovation in sustainable chemistry. UAntwerpen invests in BlueApp by focusing on multidisciplinary collaboration in order to bridge the gap between research and actual innovation. Read more

2. Metropolitanism & Smart City, Mobility & Logistics

The Beacon works together on IoT projects with applications in smart city, industry 4.0 and logistics. The strong physical connection between people leads to innovative projects with social and economic impact. Read more

3. Infectious diseases & environmental health

Antwerp's unique innovation ecosystem in vaccination and infectious diseases aims to consolidate its strengths. Vaccinopolis is our answer to the clear need within the ecosystem for more research into infectious diseases and vaccines. Additionally, environmental health is one of our key multidisciplinary research domains.

Environmental health is also one of our multidisciplinary core areas, where we pay attention to people and the environment.  Within this framework, research is carried out into air and water quality. Read more

It goes without saying that out of the box thinking will be crucial. The connections and cross-fertilisation between the different researchers, across the different domains, will ensure that we, as a university, can consolidate our role as a critical and independent partner and thus contribute to a more sustainable society.