BUILDING BLOCK 3: Science and knowledge as foundation

Crucial in a knowledge society is the creation of knowledge. Only when there is a good breeding ground for knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship can thrive. If we succeed in further developing, strengthening and growing our already excellent and performing research system, this should/will be visible in an increase in output, in international visibility and in the attractiveness for foreign talent.

1. Increase the output of our excellent research in terms of quality and high-impact publications

Citation mapping is an excellent bibliometric tool of choice for measuring the impact of publications. Citations are primarily an important form of the extent to which scientific information is used in the context of documented scientific communication. They reflect the acceptance and recognition of published research results by the scientific community. They are also indirectly a measure for the quality/excellence of the research.

It is also interesting to check the citation distribution. The indicator proposed here measures the share of Flemish publications in the top 10% of the most cited publications worldwide, compared to the total number of Flemish publications. This indicator mainly measures the impact of Flemish publications worldwide. High-cited publications are also assumed to be of a higher quality and the result of excellent research. Indirectly, this is therefore a measure for the excellence and efficiency of the research.

  • INDICATOR 6: Share of Flemish publications in the top 10% highly cited articles

    • INDICATOR 6a – to be developed - : Share of Flemish publications in the top 10% highly cited articles,  breakdown by domain

2. Increase the output and impact of our excellent research in terms of patents

Patents are an established indicator for the inventive, technological output of the research efforts of companies and knowledge institutions. Patent-based indicators provide an insight in the process of technological progress. In addition, they can be used to gain insight in the degree of innovation within an organization, a region, a country… In other words, patents are a unique and very reliable source of data for those who want to measure and monitor technological progress (see also Flemish Indicator book)[1]. When reading and interpreting patent-based statistics, it should be noted that not all inventions are patented, or even more so, that not all innovations rely on patented inventions.

  • INDICATOR 7: Number of EPO and PCT-patents applied for and number of granted USPTO patents with Flemish inventor and/or applicant per million inhabitants

    • INDICATOR 7a: Number of EPO and PCT-patents applied for and number of granted USPTO patents with Flemish inventor and/or applicant per million inhabitants breakdown per sector

3. Our universities attract high-level international researchers

An excellent and high-performing research system will also contribute to attracting high-level international researchers. In turn, the presence of top international talent at our institutions can further enhance its excellence and attractiveness.

The proportion of international doctoral and postdoc students at Flemish universities has already increased strongly, which mainly reflects the international openness of the Flemish research system. However, this strong internationalization does not seem to extend to the ZAP-staff (academic staff - lecturer, senior lecturer, (full) professor) of the universities, which may mean that Flemish universities/Flanders are (not) yet sufficiently attractive for excellent foreign talent and that there may be bottlenecks that need to be eliminated. After all, attractiveness also has to do with job conditions such as salary, language requirements, quality of life, accessibility, simplicity of administration, open recruitment, … These bottlenecks and proposals for remediation were already cited in the VARIO-advisory report attracting and retaining top international talent[2].

  • INDICATOR 8: Share of foreigners in the ZAP-staff (academic staff) of Flemish universities

  • INDICATOR 9: Share of foreigners newly appointed within the ZAP-staff of Flemish universities