Region Flanders

Cooperation and changing together with the target group as task for collective centre

Since the establishment of the collective centres the development & innovation landscape has changed. The government, therefore, requested a survey on the collective centre concept, to determine whether it was still relevant in the current innovation landscape. The analysis demonstrated that notwithstanding the significant changes, due to technological changes as well as to changes in innovation policy, the need for demand-driven collective knowledge collection and distribution still exists and has even increased within a specific target group. During the last few years collective centres have adapted to retain their relevance in the context of change.

The initial objective of the centres is performing collective research from the perspective of improving the competitive forces and to bridge the gap between industrial companies on the one side and research organisations on the other side. The operation of collective centres, such as Sirris, is focused on specific target groups, which are defined in terms of their sector or topic. A general trend for all collective centres is the increasing interdisciplinary or cross-sectoral operation. This is based on the evolution of innovation nodes at target group companies. At the collective centres this is demonstrated by the setting up of more cross-sectoral projects, increasing exchange and cooperation between collective centres and other actors in development and innovation.

Therefore, collective centres still play a relevant role in the rapidly evolving innovation landscape. In order to remain relevant they have to focus primarily on performing tasks that benefit the target group, within networks, in more and more cooperative efforts of innovative stakeholders. Sirris makes use of this information.

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Five new innovation pioneers receive the Factory of the Future award

On 2 February Daikin, Valeo, Veranneman Technical Textiles, Nuscience and Rousselot received the Factory of the Future Awards for 2017. This award was established by Sirris and Agoria to reward companies and place them in the spotlight for succeeding in combining digitisation and robotisation with actual productive tasks. More than 500 industrial people attended the event in Brussels. Industry 4.0 was the focus of the award ceremony. Sirris had created the awards given to the winners. Each award was a high-tech work of art, that represented the knowledge and knowhow of the Sirris experts.

Digital Journey Tracker guides companies through the digital maze

“We are flooded by studies, books and information on digitisation. How do I convert this information to steps for my company?”

In Ghent on 5 December, Sirris and Agoria presented the ‘Digital Journey Tracker’, a new online tool designed to help companies in Belgium with their digital transformation. In a survey nine out of ten companies had indicated they expected to see an effect on their products, processes or even their business model due to digitisation. Three quarters of the companies view digitisation as ‘strategic’ at this time and, therefore, an issue to be handled by the business manager and board of directors.

Two hundred company managers attended the launch of the Tracker, including Philippe Muyters, Minister of Work, the Economy, Innovation and Sport.

Foundation stone for the Technological industry portal in Leuven

On 6 December Sirris and Flanders Make, in the presence of the Flemish Minister-President Geert Bourgeois, laid the foudation stone for their new offices and research facility at the entrance to the Science park in Leuven. As of September 2018 companies in the production industry and the technical sector will be welcome to the new site, which will be 6,400 m², to request support for their research and innovation projects.  

The current and future laboratory infrastructure of both organisations is to be installed in the new building, in order to create an ‘application and living lab environment’ for innovation support in relation to machine automation and digital production systems. This will stimulate co-creating with companies. Research results can also be quickly converted into specific product and process innovations. The strategic location guarantees a low threshold for technological experiments and cooperation with other companies and knowledge centres.  

About 200 researches and consultants will be working on the new site by 2025.