What are infrastructure projects?

Infrastructure projects contain the purchase or development and installation of high-tech research and validation equipment. For each infrastructure, an exploitation plan for housing, exploitation and maintenance is developed.  We place emphasis on the strategic location, thematical focus and co-creation aspects of our infrastructure.

Via our infrastructure, we: 

  • Support our research activities;
  • Lead to research projects with companies using the infrastructure;
  • Offer equipment that is unique in Flanders and differentiating within Europe;
  • Collaborate with companies and other research organizations;
  • Strengthen national and international use and collaborations for an improved industry;
  • Generate data sets that we use for benchmarking solutions and offer publicly (in certain cases).

Examples of the thematical focus are:

  • High mix low volume production (Flanders Make Kortrijk)
  • Multi motion systems (Flanders Make Leuven)
  • On-road vehicles (Flanders Make Lommel)
  • Design and production of optical components (FlandersMake@VUB in Gooik)
  • etc.

Valuable IT infrastructure

On top of that Flanders Make exploits a cloud IT infrastructure connected to our co-creation infrastructure assets and sites. We use this IT infrastructure for collaborative design and capturing & sharing of data sets coming from the equipment. By doing so, we stimulate virtual multi-site collaboration.

One-stop shop for testing

We continuously focus on the development of differentiating infrastructure that not only supports our research, but also supports companies with innovation, testing and validation. By aiming at more centralized investments and remote connections, we give companies the opportunity to perform their tests from one location, making Flanders Make a one-stop shop for their needs. 

Frequently asked questions

Which types of infrastructure does Flanders Make distinguish?

We distinguish two types of infrastructure.

  1. The first category is infrastructure linked to very specific technological competences or functional breakthroughs.
    This infrastructure is often very punctual from a technology or functional point of view, and situated at a lower Technology Readiness Leven (TRL), laboratory environment. This infrastructure will be unique and differentiating via its capabilities to gain insights on a limited technological or functional scope. An example is the reliability equipment of Flanders Make.
  2. The second category is infrastructure where cyber-physical assets will be connected to the Flanders Make cloud, including our Digital Twins and Production Intelligence system.
    This infrastructure is targeted to build up this verification and validation infrastructure up to TRL5-TRL6, testing in an industrial relevant environment. The integrative aspect of this infrastructure is very important. The corresponding parametric system and component models/concepts and digital twins for production and products take the end-to-end perspective into account. One of the key elements in this infrastructure, is the creation of reference datasets. These can be (publicly) shared and act as benchmarks for research of new concepts on this infrastructure. This will be an important driver for further internationalization of Flanders Make.  The higher TRL and aggregation level of this co-creation infrastructure will allow multiple projects to work on this infrastructure, test new models, concepts, components, elements, … and compare with these references in a holistic end-to-end way.

How can you participate?

Companies can declare a Letter of Intent (LOI) and participate in the user group of INFRA projects and share the strategic importance of the project and the expectations in terms of outputs of the project in support of its own long term product and/or process strategy and vision.

The user group is composed of entities, mostly companies, with a particular interest in the research performed under the project. The user group will act as an advisory group to Flanders Make with respect to the performance of the project and as a sounding board to explore the possibilities of economic implementation of the output generated under the project, as well as intellectual property rights thereon.

The user group meetings will take place at least twice a year. The following persons will attend the meetings of the user group: representatives of the companies, representatives of the research institutions involved and representatives of public institutions or public utility foundations providing funding to the project.

Between Flanders Make and the companies in the user group a Rules of Order is established for the user group. These Rules of Procedure define the modalities for the organization and objectives of the user group, as well as the rules concerning the protection of confidential information and intellectual property.

If you want to join the user group of an INFRA project, please contact us.

What is the (financial) commitment for companies in an INFRA project?

Companies will pay a one-time contribution to Flanders Make to participate in the user group. The amount of the fee depends on the company category:

  • Small and medium sized companies (SMEs): €1.000 VAT excl. per SBO project
  • Large companies: €4.000 VAT excl. per SBO project

The one-time contribution will be invoiced in the first participation year by Flanders Make and will be payable within thirty days. The one-time contribution is strictly nonrefundable. Companies that are member in one of the Flanders Make competence clusters will receive a 50% reduction on the one-time contribution. If a company joins after project submission, a surcharge of x1.5 (after project submission) and x2 (after mid-term evaluation) applies.

What does the submission process look like?

To achieve the ambitions of the roadmaps, a consistent portfolio of infrastructure investments is targeted. Flanders Make will yearly organize 2 project waves for projects funded by the government grant. To manage these waves, we implemented a project funnel for project definition and gradually improved it over the years to accommodate the growing project portfolio. The project funnel consist of three stage-gate steps:

infrastructure process

  1. Stage Gate 1: Project ideas can be proposed by all researchers or any company member of Flanders Make. The cluster manager decides, based on an advice of the industrial cluster consortium, which project ideas will be further elaborated into project summaries.
  2. Stage Gate 2: Project summaries will be submitted for advice to the advisory board. The central office management of Flanders Make decides on the final selection of summaries that can be further elaborated to full proposals. The submission is done by Flanders Make. Gate 2 proposals are assessed by the Industrial and Scientific Advisory Board and the Central Office of Flanders Make. Within 14 calendar days after the submission deadline, the reviewers evaluate the proposal according to the above decision criteria. Thereafter, the Central Office holds a decision meeting in which the results are discussed and the final decision is taken.
  3. Stage Gate 3: The evaluation of the full proposals depend on the company involvement. When companies are subsidized the government agency VLAIO will perform an independent evaluation and decide on the company support and give advice on the Flanders Make research part. If only Flanders Make research is supported an advice will be asked to the industrial and scientific advisory board. Based on the respective advices the board of directors of Flanders Make will take a final decision for all project types.

More information?

Would you like to know more about our infrastructure projects? Please, get in touch.