The investments made by both public and private bodies in the Brussels-Capital Region appear to be bearing fruit.

Based on the newly published results of the European Innovation Scoreboard 2023, Brussels remains one of the Innovation Leaders in Europe with a markedly strong increase in performance (14.2%) compared to the European average (8.5%) between 2016 and 2023.

The European Commission's Regional Innovation Scoreboard assesses and ranks the innovation performance of 239 regions in 22 EU member states and neighbouring European countries. Regions are scored on 21 innovation indicators that measure investment in innovation, innovation activities and their impact. The scores are cast into a single innovation index that allows regions to be ranked. The European Regional Innovation Scoreboard in brief: 

  • European regions are classified into four innovation performance groups based on their regional innovation index: Innovation Leaders (36 regions), Strong Innovators (70 regions), Moderate Innovators (69 regions) and Emerging Innovators (64 regions).
  • European innovation capacity continues to rise: for 211 of 239 regions, performance increased between 2016 and 2023. 
  • Brussels is consolidating its position as an innovation leader in Europe and has the strongest growth as a region in Belgium. Nationally, Belgium remains in the top five of the first group of Innovation Leaders, along with Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden. 

Brussels, a regional driver for innovation

Regional innovation systems are key drivers of economic development according to academic studies and policy reports . Investments in the Brussels Capital Region by public and private organisations appear to be bearing fruit. Brussels excels, compared to the European average, in:

  • innovation spending per person employed in companies, 
  • the cooperation in co-publications between public and private actors (knowledge transfer),
  • the number of worldwide scientific co-publications (knowledge production),
  • the number of employed ICT specialists,
  • successful collaborations between innovative SMEs. 

If we compare with the highest ranked regions such as Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm or Zurich, and taking into account the specific characteristics of the local ecosystem, we see in Brussels potential for growth in R&D spending in the public and private sectors, and in product innovation and process innovation among SMEs, on which the above-mentioned regions score significantly higher. 

Barbara Trachte, State Secretary for Economic Transition and Scientific Research of the Brussels-Capital Government:

The Brussels research and innovation ecosystem proves once again that it is among the frontrunners in Europe. Our ambition is to consolidate this status by putting our Region at the forefront of economic transition. Innoviris is therefore focusing its resources on addressing the social and environmental challenges facing our region.

More information: 

European Innovation Scoreboard 2023 (EIS)

Interactive map EIS 2023

European Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS) 

Reference : European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Hollanders, H., European Innovation Scoreboard 2023, Publications Office of the European Union, 2023,

[1] OECD, 2007. Globalisation and Regional Patterns of innovation in EU-25 regions: a typology and policy recommendations Economies. Paris: OECD

Photo gallery

shifting economy Ecodyn

Stay Tuned

Want to be informed ? Click here