Chapter 3: A snapshot on STI policies and indicators for Belgium
Pillars of the Future Global Economy
Institutionally speaking, Belgium is a ‘mini-Europe’: each of the federated authorities (regions and linguistic communities) is singularly competent for the areas of STI (science, technology and innovation) granted to it by the Constitution. The long process of decentralization, which began in the 1970s, has led to a differentiation of institutions and policies adapted to the STI potential, and the social and economic needs of each part of Belgium. Benchmarked with the total of the European Union, Belgium has a high share of human resources for the knowledge-based economy and is characterized by high labor productivity. Also, involvement in technological innovation is one of the highest in Belgium and the business sector is strongly integrated into the international economy through foreign direct investments. Main weaknesses are the weak entrepreneurial activity and a rather low share of graduates in science and engineering at the first stage university level. In terms of R & D intensity (R & D expenditures as a percentage of GDP), Belgium is close to the EU average. However, the fact that close to 60 per cent of business research is concentrated within a limited number of large R & D spending multinational firms that have established or took over R & D facilities in Belgium also involves substantial risks of delocalization.
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