Brussel, 11 December 2015: As of January 1, the Flanders Knowledge Center Water is an independent division of VITO. The integration of Vlakwa in VITO aims to create a greater synergy and capacity for the research and economic topic ‘water technology’ in Flanders.
On Friday 11 December 2015, the Flemish Government approved the inclusion of the activities of the Flanders Knowledge Center Water (Vlakwa) in VITO’s daily operations. Philippe Muyters, Flemish Minister for Employment, Economy, Innovation and Sport: “The integration of Vlakwa in VITO is a logical step and will create greater efficiency and capacity for water technology in Flanders. Both institutions have their own strengths and assets, but they will be able to generate even more impact through closer cooperation. The Flemish strategy in research and innovation includes more collaboration, more efficiency and more transparency. The merge of Vlakwa and VITO fits perfectly into that vision.”
The role Vlakwa has to take on is confirmed in ‘Vison 2050, a long-term strategy for Flanders’, in which the Flemish Government outlines a vision for the future of Flanders in 2050: “Entrepreneurs, researchers and government in Flanders are working together in the Flemish Knowledge Center Water”.
Bart Naeyaert, currently chairman of Vlakwa, emphasizes the role Vlakwa takes on as an intermediate neutral player in the Flemish water landscape: “Vlakwa has an extensive network in the water sector, knows what needs exist and helps stakeholders to enter into the cooperation. Thanks to this platform function it contributes in an innovative way to the greening of the Flemish economy and the socio-economic development of Flanders.”
Dirk Fransaer, Managing Director at VITO: “VITO will set up Vlakwa’s activities in Kortrijk in such a way that the operation and activities keep their current independence in the water landscape, while achieving an operational synergy with VITO’s water activities.” The integration is in line with the activities of Vlakwa and the programmatic strength of VITO. For VITO, Vlakwa is a sounding board for its activities in the area of Water, and they contribute to the realisation of VITO’s objectives in this domain.
VITO takes over all 8 members of Vlakwa, who will still operate from Kortrijk.