Research & Innovation

Strategic Innovation Initiatives: The University of Liege is involved in 16 structuring projects, 5 of which it coordinates, for Wallonia


Following the adoption in March 2021 by the Walloon Government of the new Walloon Smart Specialization Strategy (S3) and the call for proposals for Strategic Innovation Initiatives (IIS) in September 2021, the Minister of Economy, Willy Borsus, confirmed on October 11 the list of selected IIS. At the end of this final selection, ULiège is involved in 16 of the 19 selected IIS.

Rehabilitation of wasteland, development of a resilient horticultural sector, reduction of pesticides, wood recovery, sustainable water management, health, energy communities, carbon capture, additive manufacturing, … The University of Liège has chosen to fully commit itself to these innovative themes and many others in 16 of the 19 IIS selected for the economic development and the sustainable transition of Wallonia.

This excellent result for ULiège is the result of an intense collaboration between researchers, external partners (universities, colleges, companies, associations and public administrations), the ULiège authorities, RISE (Research, Innovation, Support and Enterprises), EKLO and the Administration of Financial Resources. It was also facilitated by the strategic reflection carried out upstream by the ULiège working groups on the Strategic Innovation Domains (DIS) of the Walloon Intelligent Specialization Strategy (S3).

This anticipatory work and the important mobilization of all the research actors has thus allowed to elaborate coherent, innovative and structuring initiatives around the 5 DIS but also to develop synergies between the actors of public research and the private sector


Broad partnerships integrating complementary skills

A Strategic Innovation Initiative is a set of activities and projects federating the distinctive strengths and relevant actors with the aim of promoting employment, boosting the economy and ensuring a sustainable transition on the territory. Together, they develop new collaborations and innovative solutions in response to one or more ambitions identified for each of the Strategic Innovation Domains identified for Wallonia in the framework of the S3 Strategy

Schema IIS-ULiege 2022


Focus on these 16 disruptive ULiège projects for Wallonia

The University of Liege coordinates 5 IIS:

  • Waste2Bio - Pr M. Hanikenne and Dr C. Nouet (InBios, Integrative Biological Sciences) - aims at creating an operational platform deploying innovative solutions based on plants for an economic and environmental revalorization of wastelands.
  • Foodbooster - Pr G. Eppe (Molsys, Molecular Systems) and Dr N. Gillard, CER Groupe - aims to work on the entire value chain of the functional food and ingredient sector, from the collection of co-products from the food industry to the consumption of functional foods. The focus will be on prebiotics, probiotics and bioactive peptides for use in human and animal health.
  • Wasabi 2.0 - Pr H. Jijakli (TERRA Teaching and Research Center) - aims to develop, in rural and (peri-)urban areas, a new innovative, sustainable, resilient, diversified and human-sized horticultural agri-food chain by focusing on the production and processing of underdeveloped sub-sectors.
  • Digibiocontrol - Pr P. Jacques (TERRA Teaching and Research Center) and Dr. J.Y. Parfait (Multitel) - aims at solving the problems that currently hinder the massive deployment of biocontrol solutions, allowing the reduction of pesticide use in agriculture.
  • Valbowal - Prof. T. De Mil (TERRA Teaching and Research Center) and Prof. S. Trachte (URA, Unité de Recherches de la Faculté d'Architecture) - aims to increase the added value of the Walloon wood sector, while strengthening its resilience and its contribution to the fight against climate change.

And is a partner in these 11 others.

  • H2O aims to accelerate innovation in the water sector (digital transition, low-carbon transition, integrated water resource management).
  • Protewin aims to contribute to the region's protein independence through the deployment of the plant and alternative protein sector while proposing new technological solutions for manufacturers.
  • CETWA aims to develop Renewable Energy Communities as a means of accelerating the energy transition but also as an economic development tool for the well-being of the population.
  • WIN4C aims to anticipate the major changes that are coming in the management of our resources and in the relocation of production, repair and recycling activities on our territory.
  • e-WallonHY aims at developing a green hydrogen economy in Wallonia, including the different components of the value chain, from the production of green hydrogen, to its storage and transport, to its use.
  • MedResyst aims to develop the tools necessary for the implementation of a network and system medicine, allowing to understand the patient in his globality and to improve his care from the screening to the treatment.
  • ATMPWal aims to strengthen the value chain that encompasses research, clinical development, production and marketing of cell and gene therapies as well as tissue-engineered medical products.
  • MedTech Wallonia aims to build a MedTech sector for Wallonia that integrates the entire value chain of product and service development as well as all the major strategic players including hospitals.
  • MadeInWal aims to federate a maximum of innovation initiatives covering the entire "Manufacturing" value chain with the aim of (re)developing the Walloon industrial fabric.
  • TRAIL aims at excellence in Artificial Intelligence by federating the entire Walloon ecosystem (R&D, training, companies) to seize the opportunities of today and tomorrow.
  • Cyberwal aims to develop a sovereign sector capable of meeting the development needs of the socio-economic fabric in the field of cyber security.

Behind these 16 IIS, the partners share the same vision, cross their skills and mobilize to develop sectors with a strong economic and societal impact for Wallonia. The selection of these IIS guarantees that the University and its partners are ideally positioned for ERDF projects, the recovery plan and other funding opportunities in Wallonia and internationally, enabling them to implement the solutions they have collectively devised to meet the urgent challenges facing Wallonia.

"Scientific research is essential to support and promote sustainability. This excellent result for ULiège shows that our Institution wishes to occupy a central place to respond to this challenge that Wallonia must face today and in the future and makes it de facto a privileged partner in Research." Michel Moutschen, Vice-Rector for Research, ULiège

"The upstream reflection was essential to position ULiège in the face of current societal, environmental and economic challenges. The work of coordination, the support of the authorities and the mobilization of the teams then allowed the implementation of these collaborations and synergies. This is a real success for ULiège and all the research teams involved. It will be an undeniable asset to facilitate the involvement of ULiège, alongside its partners, in ambitious regional and international projects while ensuring its societal role." Isabelle Rausin, ERDF, IIS & Recovery Plan project assembly manager at RISE, the Research, Innovation, Support and Enterprise department of ULiège.

"Research partnerships are an essential tool for implementing innovative solutions to meet Walloon, Belgian and, more broadly, European challenges. The IISs have made it possible to move towards broad partnerships, capable of having a significant impact on their field of innovation in terms of economic development and sustainable transition on the territory." Didier Mattivi, Director of the RISE department at ULiège


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Smart Specialization Strategy

Strategic Innovation Initiatives of ULiège


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