Department of Economy, Science, and Innovation
The Flemish Government
Dr. Spyns welcomed Flemish and U.S. attendees to the symposium with an introduction to his department and to the Flemish government’s innovation system. He said that the objective of his department was to build up strategic intelligence in the area of innovation policy preparation. One approach to this task is to exchange information with government agencies abroad, he said, and he described the current international conference as “a very good way of realizing this information exchange.”
He noted that innovation theorists today speak in terms of an innovation system, in which knowledge is distributed among all participants. This was another good reason for organizing a bilateral conference, because it facilitated the sharing and disseminating of knowledge. Because the invitees included people from academia, government, industry, agencies, and advisory bodies, he said that the effective sharing of knowledge was already assured.
He gratefully acknowledged the conference host, the Interuniversity Micro-Electronics Centre (IMEC) in Leuven, which he described as “one of our best world-wide research centers. The fact that we have this conference here underlines their success in achieving international excellence, and therefore this location is very appropriate for this conference.”
He gave a brief overview of the symposium sessions to come, and invited Dr. Spencer to offer introductory remarks on behalf of the U.S. delegation.