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7.2Evolution of the policy mix between free and thematic support for R&D in Flanders
By Veerle Linseele, Danielle Raspoet and Kristien Vercoutere (Flemish Advisory Council for Innovation & Enterprise, VARIO1).
In May 2022 VARIO published its advisory report 272 in response to a request of the Flemish Minister of Economy and Innovation at that time, Hilde Crevits, for VARIO’s vision on the right policy mix between the (for Flanders rather traditional) bottom-up channels and a more thematic/mission-oriented approach. VARIO has interpreted the question as being mainly a request for guidelines for the distribution of financial resources, in an international context of increasing mission-oriented policy and in the framework of Minister Crevits' ambition to realise more societal impact through government subsidies.
To answer the question of the minister, a quantitative analysis of the relationship between thematically free/bottom-up and thematically steered/top-down Flemish resources for R&D and how that relationship has evolved over the past ten years was first conducted. Currently, in Flanders various kinds of balances in R&D resources are already being monitored, for example of fundamental versus applied research. However, this was the first exercise ever mapping thematic steering. VARIO has suggested to monitor this systematically in the future.