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Country Guide Belgium/Flanders

CARe country guides, developed from May to October 2020, contain systematised relevant information on the national labour markets in the 10 project countries, with the aim of supporting researchers at risk/with refugee background in finding support, job and training opportunities in their host countries. 

In the development and revision of the country guides, the CARe consortium is receiving invaluable help by the selected group of national experts coming from relevant national institutions and CARe focus groups.




Research landscape in Flanders

According to the Global Competitiveness Report of 2016-2017 by the World Economic Forum, Belgium - and Flanders as a region - have quite a good standing on the charts in R&D, innovation and collaboration between industry, academic and governmental institutions. For example:

  • 4th highest-scoring nation globally in innovation;
  • 6th worldwide for quality scientific research centres;
  • 9th worldwide for collaboration between industries and universities;
  • 1st in Europe for cooperation between science and SMEs.
  • 13th most innovative economy in the world.

Flanders is also highly ranked by its higher education quality and specifically, by its research output. According to the report, Flemish universities generate almost 90% of all non-private scientific output in Flanders. According to Eurostat, Belgium spent 2.45% of its GDP on research and development in 2015. Compared to 2005, this represents an increase of 37.6%, making Belgium one of the top 5 growers when it comes to R&D expenditure.

Higher education in Flanders

The Flemish higher education system consists of 18 public higher education institutions: five universities and 13 university colleges, also known as universities of applied sciences (and arts). Universities are research intensive institutions, offering academic bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, advanced master's degrees, PhD’s and postgraduate certificates. Universities of applied sciences (and arts) are higher education institutions with a strong practice-based focus, offering associate degrees, professional bachelor's degrees, advanced bachelor's degrees and postgraduate certificates.

All institutions offer higher education according to the principles of the European Higher Education Area. Their degree programmes are accredited (i.e. officially recognised) by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO).

The language of instruction of most study programmes is Dutch. English-taught programmes are more extensively provided at master's and PhD level than at bachelor's. 

More information can be found on the Study in Flanders website


Experiences from researchers:

In Belgium/Flanders, the focus group participants noted that there is a lack of coordination at national level and not enough information available. It was also highlighted that besides English there are multiple languages which are required (French, Dutch/Flemish).

Full reports on the CARe Focus Groups and Employer Survey are available here.

To raise factual inaccuracies or to provide us with updated information and feedback on the guide, please do not hesitate to contact us at