IOF-TTO Flanders event: Navigating innovation and impact in a changing world


On Thursday, November 16th, the annual IOF-TTO Flanders event unfolded, providing a platform for collaboration and inspiration. This internal gathering, designed for TTO staff and IOF research groups across the five Flemish universities, centered around the theme of 'Innovation & Impact: Challenges in a rapidly changing world.' Hosted this year by VUB, the event took place within the marvellous Maison de la Poste at the Tour & Taxis site in Brussels.

Our aim is not only to share knowledge but also to inspire our colleagues, fostering continuous improvement in our work. Through this annual event, we aspire to create a collaborative environment that optimizes our collective efforts toward innovation and impact. The day kicked off with thought-provoking insights from keynote speaker Jonathan Holslag, who delved into the intricate connections between geopolitics, economy, and the realm of tech transfer and innovation. Following this keynote, a lively panel debate took place, exploring the nuanced implications of geopolitical impact. Diverse perspectives were shared by speakers such as Jelle Hoedemaekers from AGORIA, focusing on AI & digitalization; Cathy Macharis from VUB, delving into sustainability; Jurgen Joossens, director of the Valorisation and Techtransfer office at UAntwerpen; Ann Van Gysel from MEDVIA, providing insights from the health tech & biotech realm; Ingrid Lieten from Verso, shedding light on the social sector; and Alexander Mattelaer from VUB, discussing defence strategies.

After a delicious lunch, participants engaged in three parallel breakout sessions, each delving into distinct topics. These included a session on Social Innovation led by Ingrid Lieten of Verso, an exploration of Ethics in AI and the AI Act facilitated by Rob Heyman of VUB, and a discussion on Dual Use led by John Pearson of the Vlaams Vredesinstituut. The day concluded with a hands-on session on AI Webtools, skillfully guided by Mathias Vermeulen, offering attendees a practical glimpse into the applications of artificial intelligence. The event closed with a networking drink where participants could still discuss the topics covered.

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