The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), UZ Brussel and Flanders Technology & Innovation have joined forces to ensure the Research Park Zellik in the Rand โ€“ the Flemish periphery of Brussels โ€“ becomes a pioneering innovation hub for the whole of Flanders. The VUB and UZ Brussel are creating an innovation campus on the site where researchers and businesses can work together on socially beneficial solutions. By working together, the partners are emphasising their shared ambition to build a living lab in the Rand where researchers and businesses can work on issues including decarbonisation, robotics and medical technology.

Research Park Zellik is still under construction, but the unique digital infrastructure that it will house already makes it a state-of-the-art innovation campus.

โ€œA sustainable, CO2-neutral Nexus data centre of about 10,000 mยฒ will house not only the servers of VUB and UZ Brussel, but also the next Flemish supercomputer, a Tier 1 supercomputer,โ€ said Elvira Haezendonck, president of Green Energy Park vzw. โ€œHere, researchers and businesses from all over Flanders will be able to perform large-scale, complex calculations and carry out ground-breaking research, develop innovative solutions and contribute to fields such as energy and climate, health and platform technologies.โ€

Flanders Technology & Innovation (FTI), a project by the Flemish government to promote the regionโ€™s expertise, also supports the VUB and UZ Brusselโ€™s plans to expand Research Park Zellik into an innovation hub for the whole region. Their shared ambition is to bring together technology companies and put the Rand in the spotlight as a place of innovation. Flanders Technology & Innovatie BV has its headquarters at the Research Park.

โ€œI am delighted that the VUB and UZ Brussel are working together to develop the Flemish Rand into a high-tech science park,โ€ said Flemish minister president Jan Jambon. โ€œZellik Research Park aligns with the FTI project that we are launching across Flanders this week. The goal of FTI is to spread enthusiasm for technology and innovation around Flanders. By targeting technology and innovation, we want Flanders to become the best place in the world to live, work and relax. FTI must become a movement that continues to drive technology and innovation in the years ahead, to address the various challenges in society and improve peopleโ€™s lives.โ€

โ€œThe Rand is the ideal location to build a sustainable innovation campus,โ€ said Ben Weyts, minister responsible for the Rand. โ€œOur region is Flemish and green, but also the birthplace of many enterprises and creativity. The research complex in Zellik will be a calling card for Flanders in general and the Rand in particular. An ageing business park now has a fantastic new lease of life. We are very ambitious and we have intentionally set the bar high. This is a project to be proud of.โ€

โ€œThe VUB is a pioneer in fields such as electric vehicles, climate technology and robotics,โ€ said Jan Danckaert, rector of the VUB. โ€œWith the innovation campus in Zellik, weโ€™re enabling Flemish and international technology companies to come and work with us, in a central location, close to Brussels Airport. There are several firsts here: the first Flemish Institute for Decarbonisation, where 200 researchers are developing the climate technology of the future; the first robotics cluster in Flanders; and the most advanced medical scanner our region has ever seen, the 7Tesla MRI. Our leading facilities are also available to businesses and other universities. The VUB was already a Flemish university in Brussels, and with this development it becomes a Brussels university in Flanders.โ€

More information

The Research Park Zellik is a green science park managed by the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Once a brownfield site, the area has been transformed into a thriving hub for science and innovation. The park is strategically located in the Flemish Rand, close to Brussels and major transport connections such as Brussels Airport and the E40 motorway. There are currently 70 research-driven companies based there, and its infrastructure and top-class facilities are available to businesses and other universities.

Green Energy Park vzw was established as a collaboration between the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel.โ€ฏAs a strategic living lab, based at the Research Park Zellik, Green Energy Park vzw stimulates cooperation between businesses, knowledge institutes, governments and end users by offering its unique living labs as a space to test and refine innovative developments in a life-like environment. Through this living lab, and its knowledge, expertise and training centre, Green Energy Park vzw aims to connect research and the economy. It focuses on three domains: energy and climate, health and platform technologies.