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Flemish and Catalan Leaders Forge Scientific Collaborations


Last week, a delegation from B-PHOT took part in a trade mission to Catalonia, Spain, aimed at fostering scientific collaborations between the two regions and discussing European partnerships. The delegation included Flemish Minister President Jan Jambon and B-PHOT director Hugo Thienpont.

The Flemish visit, which took place against the backdrop of ongoing efforts to strengthen international research collaborations, was marked by fruitful discussions on various scientific and technological fronts. One of the primary objectives was to explore opportunities for tech, start-ups, innovation, digitisation and the creative industry. Lluis Torner, director of the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), and Eduard Puig, CEO of Ideaded, a disruptive chip foundry start-up, welcomed B-PHOT, Imec, and a Flemish delegation.

One of the issues addressed during the meetings was the quest for talent that everyone around the table was struggling with. B-PHOT director Hugo Thienpont told Flemish newspaper 'Gazet van Antwerpen', that "it is not a 'war for talent', but a 'global war for talent'. Therefore, the key is to cultivate talent internally, with the education sector, community, government, and business community all playing a role." He emphasized that enterprises in particular should make more efforts, as they ultimately reap the benefits.

Flemish and Catalan leaders united: B-PHOT Director Hugo Thienpont, Lluis Torner (director of ICFO), Flemish Minister President Jan Jambon and Eduard Puig, CEO of Ideaded.

"Flanders claims to be a leader in innovation and technology - and I believe we are", Flemish Minister President Jan Jambon concluded. "Catalonia is also a leader in this regard. For a field in which we excel, semiconductors and photons, we have partners in Catalonia. Collaboration can make both of us stronger. At the request of Imec and the VUB, who have contacts here, I was asked to join, as this could help build partnerships. I did so gladly."