Catalisti looks back on a successful second year as spearhead cluster for Chemistry and Plastics


Exactly 2 years ago was the official launch of the very first spearhead cluster, the cluster for chemistry and plastics, under the name Catalisti. Catalisti promotes strategic collaboration between companies, researchers and government to increase the economic impact of sustainable innovation.

Indeed, to meet the challenges of the future, cooperation through an open innovation principle is crucial. Only in this way will it be possible to safeguard the strong position of the chemical and plastics sector in Flanders in the future as well, and to have the sector become a world leader in the transition to sustainable chemistry.

Jan Van Havenbergh, managing director Catalisti: "Today's chemicals and plastics sector will not be tomorrow's. That is why it is important to keep focusing on innovative collaborations between the various actors, even across sectors. Moreover, the development of a long-term vision supported from the industry is indispensable to realise this transition. "

Cooperation as key to success

The Spearhead Cluster Chemistry and Plastics is a triple helix partnership between Flemish industry, the Flemish government and Flemish research institutions. Within Catalisti, cooperation is the key to success. Not only cooperation between the triple helix partners, but also cooperation between the different subsectors such as (basic) chemistry, plastics, biotechnology, and finally also cooperation between companies themselves. Experience has shown that working according to the principle of open innovation delivers results and creates a leverage effect.  And Catalisti proves this once again with the results of its second year of operation: no fewer than 7 innovation projects were launched. Government and companies jointly invested 16.2 million euro in Catalisti. Of this, 10.1 million euros went as subsidies to Flemish knowledge institutions (5.9 million euros) and Flemish industry (4.2 million euros). Catalisti is also strongly committed to involving SMEs. No less than 36% of the business subsidies went to SMEs.

This investment of 16.2 million euro generated an estimated economic added value of more than 227 million euro, including almost 1,000 additional job creations and 133 million euro in new investments in Flanders. This means that Catalisti achieves an economic leverage of 22 with its operation. A trend that Catalisti wants to continue and even strengthen in the coming years.