The Innovative Business Network (IBN) Flanders.health is a thematic cluster launched in 2018 to support innovations in healthcare at the crossroads of KETs
Innovative Business Networks (IBNs) are thematic clusters that are funded by VLAIO for a period of 3 years. They have a medium term aim to increase collaboration.
Flanders.health is a new IBN that was created in 2018 from three sector networks FlandersBio (Lifesciences), DSP Valley (electronics & ICT) & Medtech Flanders (medical devices). Its aim is to join forces to support innovations in healthcare focusing on the convergence of technologies.
Flanders.health addresses the problem of the fragmentation in the field of innovation support for SMEs in the field of health and care and the challenge of cross sectoral collaboration.
Typical activities are a broad communication (website, newsletter, flyers…), network events (pitch & match sessions, thematic workshops, conferences…), direct support to foster cooperation, including support in mounting collaborative projects and other forms of cooperation and identification of needs and opportunities in co-creation with care organisations and end users (f.i. working groups).
The main stakeholders of Flanders.health are cluster organisations, solution providers (companies supported by academia and research centers) and care organisations.
Funding 125K/year – budget 250K/year (50% funding, 50% financial contribution from participating companies)
Evidence of success
Now active network of over 75 companies, hospitals and knowledge institutions.
The IBN generated strong projects for the VLAIO call personalized medicine in 2019. 4 large projects were funded (collaboration companies, care actors and academic partners) 10 out of the 13 companies involved are SMEs.
Promotion of international calls increased awareness on H&C calls (EUREKA, AAL).
As a result, a Flemish spearhead cluster for health & care with own funding instruments was launched in June '22
The above described actions of the IBN preferably are embedded in a broader cluster policy, which requires substantial financial resources and a dedicated policy instrument and related funding instruments.
Potential for learning or transfer
A thematic cluster on Health and Care provides an environment where solution providers (companies supported by academia) can develop and finetune health and care solutions in co-creation with solution users (health and care organisations, end users). Through the cluster policy instrument also the government has a key role in the cluster, making it a true triple (quadruple) helix initiative. Dedicated support and funding instruments can be set up to incentivize collaboration and true co-creation.
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