Prosperity → 


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. Patents are an essential means of protecting inventions that pave the way for new products and processes. In 2020, 2,390 Belgian patent applications were lodged with the European Patent Office (EPO) – i.e. 205 per million inhabitants – maintaining Belgium’s high ranking in eighth place in the world league table of patents per capita.

The number of patents applied for is one way to measure innovation output.

An equally important indicator of research innovation is the number of patents applied for which are eventually granted.

In this field too, the chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry is a leader in Belgium. With no less than 422 patents granted in the field of chemistry, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology in 2020, the sector accounts for 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 fourth time in 2019);
  • hosting and actively participating in the Innovation Circle and the Innovation Fund in support of start-up companies;
  • launching a partnership with UCL, ‘les Zinnovants’, a set of short videos to promote innovation;
  • supporting cluster organisations such as 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.