cians had followed a series of historical accidents. The question was how to keep the policies in place. For the Netherlands, he said, election time was drawing near, and the innovation platform had dropped out of the debates, replaced by urgent short-term concerns such as reducing taxes. A goal was to use evaluation tools and other data to make the point that investing in knowledge is as important as investing in other basic structures.

Is There a Long-term Commitment to Innovation?

Professor Flamm said that the sums of money being spent on Flanders’ innovation measures were large for the size of economy. He asked if there was political support for the programs to continue. Dr. Spyns noted that the commitment was part of a government agreement to spend an additional €60 million each year, at least until the current government’s term ended in 2009, in addition to the investment in the innovation fund (VINNOF) of €150 million over 2 years. He also cited the publicity and awareness campaigns in the media. “The word innovation is everywhere,” he said. “We are pushing its importance into the minds of people.” Dr. Wessner asked Mrs. Moerman if she agreed. She said that Flanders has both the institutional structure and political consensus, and that she was certain the support was there. “I think that knowledge is linked with identity in Flanders,” she said, “in the same way we have a commitment to defense. What we need more of is leadership to fine-tune the policy measures across the system. We haven’t seen a lot of that.”

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