The Brussels Capital Region is once again among the regional innovation leaders in Europe. On the Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS), which covers 240 regions of 22 EU countries, the Brussels-Capital Region is ranked as 14th among the leading innovative regions in Europe. Its innovation performance rises significantly by 10 places, from 24th position in 2020.

The Innovation Scoreboards of the European Commission show the innovation performance, the growth, the strongest and weakest indicators, per country and per region.   Belgium appears for the first time in the group of 'innovation leaders' with a 4th place on the European Innovation Scoreboard 2021 (EIS). 

The Brussels Region is clearly the beating heart of innovation in Belgium. We play a key role in stimulating cross-fertilisation with various stakeholders in our ecosystem of innovation and research. " states Stefaan Sonck Thiebaut, Managing Director of "Through our strategic grant models, we want to facilitate continuous qualitative research and innovation, and support projects that create a significant societal impact for a resilient Brussels region." 

Brussels is among Europe's best for innovation and research

The Brussels Capital Region's commitment to innovation is demonstrated by the continuous improvement of its innovation performance.  Its strongest points are clearly outlined in the spider diagram for a number of indicators:

  • Reputation for co-publications, both private and top 10 for global scientific publications 
  • Successful collaborations between innovative SMEs
  • High activity rate in the domain of ICT services and high number of full-time people employed in high-tech.

In addition to the strengths highlighted for the Brussels-Capital Region, the knowledge region can also build on a broad network of research centres, in companies and universities, with a high number of full-time researchers and PhD students in Belgium's largest student city with 116 000 higher education students. 

The European Innovation Scoreboard in brief

Since 2014, the EIS (European Innovation Scoreboard) has ranked the EU Member States and a number of non-EU countries and a total of 240 regions in the RIS (Regional Innovation Scoreboard) on the basis of a number of indicators.  The relative strengths and weaknesses of innovation systems help countries and regions to identify areas that they can address. The performance in innovation compared to the EU average is shown in four "performance groups": 

Innovation leaders (a group of countries whose performance is above 125% of the EU average),
Strong innovators (between 100% and 125% of the EU average), 
Moderate innovators (between 70% and 100%) and 
emerging innovators (<70% of the EU average).

As an innovation leader, the Brussels region recorded a strong regional increase of 24.9% over its 2014 performance. On average, EU innovation performance has increased by 12.5% since 2014. 

For more details, please refer to: 

European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS)

European Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS)

The regional scoreboard for Belgium

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