A more competitive Hainaut on the horizon

The Hainaut-Biomed project is designed to make Hainaut, and the greater Walloon region, a leader in the biomedical industry by bringing together a cross-section of research-oriented experts in the field.

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Projects such as this are helping the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020, as set out in the EU 2020 growth strategy. The EU is facing some tough challenges, including an ageing population, an insufficiently qualified workforce, the need for greater innovation, striking a balance between economic growth and environmental degradation, and ensuring secure, clean energy supplies. Regional policy projects across the EU are playing an active role in dealing with these and many other challenges, by undertaking projects designed to generate employment, raise educational achievement, develop renewable energy sources, boost productivity and give all citizens access to opportunities. The projects and the regions play a pivotal role in this, as they generate real results that contribute to achieving the strategy’s key goals.

Focused on three main areas, an imaging centre, joint academic-business research, and support for the ImmuneHealth research centre, the project has funding to hire 19 researchers, providing them with the support and equipment necessary to ensure quality biomedical research recognised worldwide.

Local potential recognised

Hainaut-Biomed involves cooperation between the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Université de Mons, Académie Wallonie-Bruxelles and the BioWin competitive cluster. The three strands of the project incorporate the research, training and tools necessary for making Hainaut a truly strong competitor on the world’s biomedical stage.

The first focus is on setting up a cutting-edge imaging centre in the region. Apart from the imaging work carried out, this serves two other purposes: tapping into local potential and attracting external investments. The full range of imaging equipment will help boost local research potential and attract businesses and research centres to the platforms made available, offering ‘quality’ programmes meeting strict industrial standards. Training modules on equipment use will also be offered to industry and academics.

Analyses to advance health care

The second strand supports innovation in industrial products and processes, through joint research between academics and businesses. Two specific projects will be undertaken: OCPAM – Optimization of a Monoclonal Antibody Production Chain; and PSEUDART: Identification of new diagnostic targets for pseudo-osteoarthritis and development of innovative therapy approaches using cellular therapy. Support for biomedical companies is the third aim of the project, achieved by enhancing the competitiveness of the ImmuneHealth joint research centre, particularly in the field of immunological analyses. The work undertaken here will involve academic laboratories, industrial partners and the CER, a recognised joint research centre in Marloie.

Draft date