VITO has signed its first co-operation agreement with research partners in the Netherlands and New Zealand

Mol, 1 July 2016: BRILLIANT, the Flemish online portal for innovative clean technologies, has today set the wheels in motion for international expansion. Soon, BRILLIANT will be able to offer Flemish entrepreneurs new technologies from international research centres. To enable this, VITO, the force behind BRILLIANT, will start co-operating with SCION in New Zealand and ECN in the Netherlands. With these partners on board, Flemish and foreign entrepreneurs will gain access to an even larger pool of protected cleantech innovations, which may inspire them to innovate their businesses successfully. Negotiations with other research centres are already underway, and VITO is also planning a number of improvements to the BRILLIANT portal itself towards the end of the year.

The shortest route from cleantech research to market success

At the end of 2015, BRILLIANT was established by the Flemish research organisation for cleantech, VITO, being the first online knowledge base of its kind for protected cleantech innovations. In addition, BRILLIANT also represents a community of innovation-driven parties and organisations. “Through BRILLIANT, we intend to make the route from cleantech research to valuable market success as short and linear as possible”, explains Nathalie Barthels, project manager of BRILLIANT and intellectual property manager at VITO. “The BRILLIANT platform aims to make it as easy as possible for companies to start working with pioneering and protected technologies, giving them the best chance to succeed.” At the moment, around 50 technology products are listed on BRILLIANT, and newcomers are added every week. They cover various fields, ranging from energy, materials, and chemistry to health, remote sensing and much more. The number of members (who can join for free and non-committal ) is rising steadily, and we are currently negotiating  specific technologies with a number of companies.

Flemish technology showcase reaches out internationally

Internationalisation of BRILLIANT is an important lever for growth.  BRILLIANT currently offers products developed and protected by VITO itself, or in partnership with other Flemish research centres. However, innovation has no boundaries, and companies with an innovative mind-set  wish to operate as internationally as possible. Hence, teaming up with international research centres was the next logical step to improve all parties’ chances to turn knowledge into market value. Accession of SCION and ECN is an important milestone on this journey. SCION focusses on the bio-based economy, and ECN focusses on the development of technologies that enable the transition towards a sustainable energy system, so the integration of their technologies presents a valuable expansion of inspiration towards  entrepreneurs  who are eager to deal with current sustainability challenges. Moreover, internationalisation also brings all participating research centres closer to each other’s markets.

SCION: working towards a bio-based economy

SCION is a New Zealand research institute that focuses on research, science and technology development in forestry, wood products and wood derivatives. The institute is working on renewable energy sources, bio-products and the development of a broader bio-based economy. VITO is already co-operating with SCION on the development of functional bio-aromatic chemicals from lignin, a wood derivative.

ECN: moving towards sustainable energy management

​Stichting Energieonderzoek Centrum Nederland (ECN) is one of the leading applied research institutes in Europe in the field of sustainable energy. ECN works in seven core fields: solar power, wind energy, biomass, energy efficiency, environmental assessment, materials and engineering and policy studies. VITO and ECN frequently collaborate in research projects, amongst others in a project to develop technology to extract and re-use valuable materials from industrial waste water.

Further expansion of BRILLIANT ahead

The present international expansion will not be the last for BRILLIANT:  negotiations are currently ongoing with other research centres across the world. The portal itself also moves forward: there will be a makeover of the online platform towards the end of the year, to make it even simpler to search for and find innovative opportunities, and interact with other members and participating research centres.