Interview with Marianne Claessens, VLAIO

Marianne Claessens, scientific advisor at VLAIO, (Flander’s Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship), is evaluating the participation of Flanders in the FACCE SURPLUS project.

Photo: Marianne Claessens, scientific advisor at VLAIO.

With the participation of Flanders in all three calls and a total of eight funded projects, Marianne Claessens has plenty of reasons to consider FACCE SURPLUS a success:

- We are very satisfied with the outcome of FACCE SURPLUS. The participation of Flanders has been substantial, and the projects have been realized according to our expectations. The priorities of FACCE are completely in line with the priorities of the Flemish government – and it is much easier to formulate projects, when all noses are pointed in the same direction.

Communication and trust

Communication and trust are the main reasons for the success of FACCE SURPLUS, according to Marianne Claessens:

- In the beginning of a transnational cooperation, for project partners  the threshold for communication is quite high, but after a while, when people involved get to know each other and build trust, they know that they can rely on certain contact points within VLAIO and within FACCE SURPLUS and the threshold for communication becomes lower. In FACCE SURPLUS, there has been an ease of communication, and this has been the key to the productive research cooperation, she says and adds:

- In the correspondence with the FACCE SURPLUS secretariat, with Nicolas Tinois and with the people involved in the different projects, you can always be sure to get a good and quick answer to your questions. This counts for ourselves but also for the project consortia.  We have been very satisfied with the cooperation, and we hope that this will be the case for future transnational research cooperation as well.  

Transnational cooperation

Marianne Claessens stresses the importance of transnational cooperation:

- For a small country like Flanders, transnational projects are important, because they allow research consortia to broaden their horizon, to broaden their network, to participate in strong projects - and as a consequence to strengthen agriculture and food industry in Flanders, she says and elaborates:

- VLAIO participates in ERA-NETs not only with academic partners, but actually mostly with industrial partners through our company support program. This can sometimes seem a disadvantage, as experts tend to criticize close relations between academia and the private sector. However, in FACCE SURPLUS, we have not had this experience, and we are quite pleased about that. Cooperation with the private sector can be very rewarding for a research project, as it allows for immediate realization of the results. My hope for Horizon Europe is that the industry will continue to be included in the projects.

Contact information

Marianne Claessens
Scientific advisor, Government of Flanders FLANDERS INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Telephone: +32 (0)2 432 42 09 / +32 (0)494 494 064

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