Prosperity – Innovations

Securing the future through innovation

Source: European Patent Office - EPO (
* games, civil engineering, other consumer goods

The sector is a leader in research and development. One way to measure innovation output is the number of patents applied for and granted, as these are an essential means of protecting inventions that pave the way for new products and processes.

In 2015, 2,041 Belgian patent applications were lodged with the European Patent Office (EPO) – i.e. 180 per million inhabitants – maintaining Belgium’s high ranking in eighth place in the world league table of patents per capita.

An even more important indicator of research innovation is the number of patents applied for which are eventually granted – a number which has risen steadily over the past few years. In this field too, the chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry is a leader in Belgium. With no less than 305 patents granted in the field of chemistry, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology in 2015, the sector accounts for more than one-third of all patents granted to Belgian companies by the European Patent Office.

A strategic focus on innovation is the best way to secure the sector’s future. essenscia has therefore launched many initiatives to help stimulate innovation, including:

  • supporting companies, particularly SMEs, through its Patent Cell (since 2011);
  • organising an Innovation Award to showcase innovative companies (for the third time in 2016);
  • launching a partnership with UCL, ‘les Zinnovants’, a set of short videos to promote innovation;
  • supporting cluster organisations such as Catalisti in Flanders, and Biowin and Greenwin in Wallonia, all of which have a strategic focus on bringing companies together in open innovation projects;
  • helping to fund Bluechem, an incubator for sustainable industry.

Sector Initiatives

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