On October 12th, the 13th Flanders Inspires International Visitors Programme started. Over the course of one week, seven international guests are introduced to Flanders. This edition's theme is “Innovation Clusters in Flanders”. On the opening day, the guests got introduced to the Flemish policy framework which included meetings with the Department of Economics, Science and Innovation and the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT).
During their five day stay, the guests will visit leading organisations, the Flemish Strategic Research Centers, innovative companies and knowledge centers. They get to exchange thoughts and ideas with Flemish opinion leaders and policy makers. The topics are varied – from algae production and waste recycling to robots and lightstreams that generate electricity – but always based on innovation.
Depending on the theme of each visitors programme, the General Representatives of the Government of Flanders select guests from their district. These guests are civil servants, academics or scientists who excel in their field of expertise. This edition brought guests from South Africa, Bavaria (Germany), Hungary, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Taiwan.
The Department of Foreign Affairs organizes three of these very intensive visitors programmes a year with the aim to expand and strengthen the network of the Flemish institutions abroad.