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Wallonia is launching 20 new strategic innovation projects

Wallonia, through its Minister of Economy, Willy Borsus, has just selected 20 Strategic Innovation Initiatives (SII) the objective of which is to mobilise all the economic and academic actors around structuring projects which form part of the economic redevelopment and sustainable transition of Belgium and Europe. Recycling valley, biotech, food safety etc. focus upon 20 disruptive projects dedicated to the economies of the future.

Chimneys, elevators, lime kilns, cranes, unloading docks etc. The remains of the large heavy industries which dot the Walloon territory along the Meuse River bear witness to what some still call the golden age of Wallonia. While it is a given that the Belgian region will no longer see the return of these pharaonic factories, certainly with a glorious past but from another age (carbon footprint, working conditions, pollution etc.), new resilient ecosystems structured around economic and academic fabrics have flourished throughout the Walloon territory. This development has been made easy by the region's prime location at the crossroads of Europe, making it a de facto strategic area for continuing and accelerating the economic and ecological transition which is taking place locally and internationally.

It is in this dynamic that the Walloon Region is investing in the economies of the future in order to develop employment and ensure the sustainable transition of the Belgian territory and Europe. A new step has just been taken with the selection of 20 strategic innovation projects with high economic potential. For the Minister of Economic Affairs for Wallonia, Willy Borsus, "It is a question of supporting projects the objective of which is to develop the "locomotive" sectors of the Walloon and European economy of the future."

A few months ago, Wallonia launched a call for expressions of interest with a view to mobilising all the relevant actors around strategic structuring innovation initiatives. This call is based upon the European smart specialisation lines, which push countries to develop a strategic framework for research and innovation policy and industrial policy.

At the end of this call, 20 industrial projects were selected, divided into 5 pillars: circular materials, innovations for improved health, agile and safe design and production methods, sustainable energy systems and habitats, and finally the agri-food chains of the future and innovative environmental management.


Who will drive these projects?

The strength of the Walloon region has long resided in its economic clusters, which are animated and interconnected by the industrial, research and academic sectors. These same models, which contribute to the development of the region, will be the basis for the projects. More than a hundred private, academic and research and training players will be mobilised to generate economic impacts, reach critical mass, further structure Walloon ecosystems, develop cross-collaborations between fields of expertise, and create wealth and employment. The beneficiaries of these projects will be found well beyond the borders of Belgium, with international investors and partners accustomed to finding modern and accessible infrastructures in Wallonia, as well as a trained, competent and flexible workforce.


Learn about the 20 selected Strategic Innovation Initiatives (SII):


Circular materials

WIN4C. This SII aims at networking all the actors in the circular economy of technological materials so that in 2030 Wallonia will be recognised as the Recycling Valley in the heart of Europe.

VALBOWAL. The ambition of this SII is to propose different ways to increase the added value of the Walloon wood sector, while strengthening its resilience and its contribution to the fight against climate change.

Discover the complete roadmap of the Walloon Region >>>


Innovation for enhanced health

ATMPWal. The objective of ATMPWal is to federate the actors involved with gene and cell therapies in Wallonia in order to reinforce the national and international position of the Region in the sector by developing its competitive, industrial and scientific assets in a global context. The ultimate objective is to ensure faster and more affordable access to "Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products" (ATMPs) for patients.

ReMedIA. The objective of this SII is to reduce healthcare costs by 35% through better diagnostics and by integrating all the relevant patient data and information and accordingly guide care towards the best outcomes. It also aims to improve prevention through screening and personalised medicine, by using the biological and environmental data of each patient and processing it via artificial intelligence.

I-Care. This initiative aims to accelerate the research, development and commercialisation of new solutions for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of inflammatory and infectious diseases. Its ambition is to make the Walloon Region one of the international hubs of excellence and innovation in fundamental and applied immunology.

CIM Wallonia. The ambition of this SII is to make Wallonia an international leader in medical technologies by increasing business start-ups, the growth of existing SMEs and by creating a dynamic and structured ecosystem from the genesis to the commercialisation through the industrialisation in Wallonia of products and services resulting from medical technologies (MedTechs).

Discover the complete roadmap of the Walloon Region >>>


Agile and safe design and production methods

MadeinWallonia. The purpose of this SII is to bring together a maximum number of innovation initiatives covering the entire "Manufacturing" value chain with the aim of (re)developing the Walloon industrial fabric.

HITT. This SII aims to bring together the key players in research and innovation focused upon immersive and interactive experiences and to generate a leverage effect by systematising and accelerating the transfer of these technologies to the application sectors targeted by the Strategic Innovation Areas.

Trail4Wallonia. This initiative aims at excellence in artificial intelligence by federating the entire Walloon ecosystem (R&D, training, companies) in order to seize the opportunities for today and tomorrow.

Cyberwal is a project designed to place Wallonia as a leader in cybersecurity by boosting innovation through the creation of start-ups, through the development of new marketable products and by training the cybersecurity actors of tomorrow. In addition to universities and research centres, there are entrepreneurship support actors such as WSL or A6K.

Discover the complete roadmap of the Walloon Region >>>


Energy systems and sustainable housing

CONTRIBUTE. This initiative aims to develop solutions for decarbonised mobility and transport, solutions for the testing and security of physical systems.

e-WallonHY. The e-WallonHY SII aims at the development of a hydrogen economy

The project will be implemented in Wallonia, including the different components of the value chain, from the production of green hydrogen, to its storage and transport, to its use in the most promising applications for this high purity hydrogen, namely mobility, construction and specific industrial processes.

CETWA. The initiative focuses upon energy communities and their development and aims to make Wallonia a real economic player providing technological solutions and services in this field.

RENOVATION. This SII aims to structure the Walloon ecosystem around regional building renovation objectives, with the ambition of deploying new technological and non-technological solutions for the green energy transition and the habitat of the future.

Discover the complete roadmap of the Walloon Region >>>


Agri-food chains of the future and innovative environmental management

WASTE2BIO The Waste2Bio initiative aims to create, by 2026, an operational platform deploying innovative solutions based on plants and bio-sourced products to restore value to wastelands in Wallonia in a temporary or permanent manner.

H2O. There are many avenues for innovation in the fields of water resource preservation, water production, waste water management and cross-cutting themes in the water sector, and this initiative will make it possible to call for a structured reflection at the level of Wallonia.

PROTEWIN. The initiative aims to develop new value chains for plant and alternative proteins for the food and feed sector. This SII targets not only dedicated crops but also discarded plant materials and co-products from the agri-food industry, integrating a cascade valuation model of all the by-products generated during the protein transformation processes for a multi-sectoral approach.

FOODBOOSTER. This initiative will aim to work on the entire value chain of the functional food and ingredient sector, from the collection of co-products from the food industry to the consumption of functional foods by the end user. The focus will be on prebiotics, probiotics and bioactive peptides for use in human and animal health.

WASABI 2.0.  The objective of the WASABI 2.0 SII is to develop, in rural and (peri-)urban areas, a new innovative, sustainable, resilient, diversified, and human-sized horticultural agro-food chain by focusing upon the production and processing of underdeveloped sub-sectors (fruits, vegetables, animals with a low conversion index such as fish and poultry).

DIGIBIOCONTROL By mobilising in a unique and innovative way the skills of the biocontrol and digital fields, this SII aims at solving the problems which currently slow down the massive deployment of biocontrol solutions, allowing the reduction of the use of pesticides in agriculture.

Discover the complete roadmap of the Walloon Region >>>


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