Bridge - Strategic platforms

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Home / Bridge - Strategic platforms

Bridge - Strategic platforms

Bridge: Strategic platforms

In order to reinforce the measures taken since 2006 in the frame of the Impulse programmes (ICT, Life Sciences and Environment) inspired by the Regional Plan for Innovation (PRI), the Bridge programme, formerly called 'strategic platforms' was launched for the first time in 2010.

Bridge mainly targets academic research projects implemented via strategic platforms in which particular attention is paid to opportunities for industrial applications for Brussels enterprises. This involves strengthening the technological potential of research fields, the economic promotion of which in the Brussels-Capital Region may be envisaged in the short or medium term.

The Bridge programme concerns the same focus areas (ICT, Life Sciences and Environment) as the Impulse programmes, whilst also associating, as far as possible, the planned research with the methods and needs of the corporate world as much in terms of the thematic framework of each strategic platform as in the choice of beneficiary projects and the actual implementation of the projects selected.

The research must be carried out by top-level research teams, which already have a well-established scientific reputation in the fields concerned. These teams will be organised into networks. The consortium must comprise at least two research units from universities and/or higher education institutions already established in the Brussels-Capital Region and must have the necessary complementary skills. Furthermore, in order to reflect the interest of companies in the proposal submitted, at least two letters of intent from Brussels companies should be enclosed.

The research costs for the projects selected are funded 100%, with a view to increasing cooperation between research units and companies based in Brussels, and attracting foreign companies.

In 2010, a €3.6 M budget was devoted to the launch of the first edition of the Bridge programme.

The projects covered a 3-year period, with the opportunity of a further 3-year extension.

The fields of application selected were:

  • 2D/3D Imaging

  • Knowledge Management

  • Mobile Computing Applications

The choice of the fields of application and the associated priority themes was made in collaboration with the laboratories of academic institutions as well as a panel of Brussels manufacturers following a two-step process.
A Call for Specific Research Themes was launched among research laboratories in Brussels universities and higher education institutions in collaboration with their interfaces.

Three brainstorming sessions were organised with representatives of Brussels industry with a view to identifying among the themes proposed by the laboratories, those which offered the most potential in the near future and integrating the ones with the most promise for companies' short and medium-term development.

On the basis of the results of this process, Innoviris launched a Call for proposals for problem oriented research projects in June 2010.
Five projects were submitted in August 2010 and evaluated by five juries of qualified experts.

Three projects involving ten partners belonging to the following three institutions: ULB, VUB and Erasmus HogeSchool were selected.

Titre Coordinateur Partenaires Domaine d'application Budget 3 ans (€)
ICT4Rehab: Advanced ICT Platform for
Serge Van Sint Jan (ULB) Jan Cornelis (VUB)
Esteban Zimanyi (ULB)
Gianluca Bontempi (ULB)
2D/3D Imaging 1.544.755
OSCB: Open Semantic Cloud for Brussels Robert Meersman (VUB) Esteban Zimanyi (ULB)
Bart Jansen (VUB)
Rita Temmerman (EH)
Knowledge Management 1.014.980
MobiCRant: Second Generation Mobile Cross-media
Applications: Scalability, Heterogeinity and Legacy
Wolfgang De Meuter (VUB) Beat Signer (VUB) Mobile Computing

In view of the specific nature of the Brussels industrial fabric, the aim of the Life Sciences edition of the Bridge programme was not to limit itself solely to the needs of Brussels manufacturers but to focus more widely on promoting regional R&D know-how in order to make it attractive to national and international economic stakeholders, such as multinationals and, in particular, pharmaceutical companies.


In 2012, Innoviris launched a strategic platform devoted to the environment and, more specifically, to the renovation of housing in Brussels. The preparation of this platform was carried out thanks to close collaboration between various stakeholders:  Innoviris, the CSTC, construction manufacturers, academic stakeholders and Impulse.

This platform aims to implement a technological transfer from research centres to companies in Brussels. It distinguishes itself from Impulse programmes through the direct implication of manufacturers in the choice of the themes proposed to research teams (universities, higher education institutions and collective centres). The CSTC was appointed as coordinator of this platform. Manufacturers were able to issue precise recommendations about the content of the research proposals selected by Innoviris.

Following the inventory of academic competences carried out in collaboration with representatives of university interfaces and Indutec, Innoviris and the CSTC drew up a general framework comprising four themes which meet the needs of Brussels manufacturers (presented in the table below). These four themes aimed, in particular, to boost employment by improving the competences of the Brussels industrial fabric in the field of construction and also reduce the total ecological footprint of the Brussels-Capital Region.

Fifteen projects by Brussels research centres replied to the call for projects launched in May 2012. These projects were presented to a panel of manufacturers active in the construction sector, who issued recommendations. These were taken into account in the 15 projects which were then evaluated by a jury of experts from the academic world.

Eleven projects by 13 partners were selected and benefited from €4.17 M of funding from Innoviris.  Globally, they involved each of the four themes presented in the table below.
For further information about the Brussels Retrofit XL platform, please consult the website.


The updating of the Regional Plan for Innovation (PRI) for the 2012-2014 period proposed concrete measures in order to reinforce and perpetuate existing tools. Consequently, for the 2014 edition of the Bridge programme it chose the field of ICT applied to health (e-health).

Innoviris undertook a preparatory phase during the first half-year of 2013 in order to define the theme, identify potential partners and draw up the call for projects procedure. Following consultations with the main stakeholders involved in the e-health sector, four thematic categories for platforms were identified:

  • Biobanks

  • Medical imaging

  • Patient centric e-health

  • Interoperability of systems

In terms of the first two categories, Innoviris targeted the preparation of four projects.

For the "Biobanks" category, two specific projects were financed:

  • a project in collaboration with Wallonia, focusing on the networking and promotion of biobanks of university hospitals in the Brussels-Capital Region  (ERASME and St LUC) and in Wallonia (CHU-Liège). this project was co-financed with the Walloon Region for a period of 3 years. Innoviris' financial participation represented €1,228,175, of which €612,077 for ULB and €616,098 for UCL.

  • a promotion project for UZ Brussel's main biobanks (diabetes and oncology) through their association with a histopathology platform. In 2014, the 3-year project received €453,900 of funding from Innoviris.

For the "Medical imaging" category, Innoviris targeted two specific projects:

  • a project targeting the creation of an interoperable medical imaging platform between three university hospitals in the Brussels-Capital Region. This project, which was approved by the Jury of experts, will last for 3 years and, in 2014, was awarded €1,007,379 of funding from Innoviris

  • A project for a feasibility study and the preparation of a business plan for the creation of a Brussels radiopharmacy platform for medical imaging. This study will last for 4 months and, in 2014, the 4-year project received €72,550 of funding from Innoviris

The "Patient centric e-health" and "Interoperability of systems" categories were the object of a two-phase call for projects: expression of interest and submission of projects. In response to the call for expressions of interest, 15 proposals were submitted by university interfaces.

Ten proposals were declared admissible and were evaluated by Innoviris' scientific advisers. Following this pre-evaluation, nine projects were selected and submitted to Innoviris.

In October and November 2013, the projects submitted were evaluated by a jury of scientific and economic experts. Following this evaluation, five projects were selected.

In total, nine projects were financed in 2014 in the frame of E-health strategic platforms for a total sum of €8,118,334.

Biobanks (€1.682.075 )

Abbreviation Title Partners University/Laboratory Duration (months) Budget (€) Employment (ETP)
BWB "Biothèque Wallonie-Bruxelles"


I. Salmon

J. Bonive



ULG - CHU (non financé par Innoviris)

36 1.228.175 4,5
BIOBANK "On-line histopathology platform supporting the strategic biobanks in the UZ-Brussel" P. In't Veld UZ - Brussel 36 453.900 1,6


Medical imaging (€1.079.929)

Abbreviation Title Partners University/Laboratory Duration (months) Budget (€) Employment (ETP)
BIPP "Brussels Imaging Pharmacy Plaform's Business Plan" T. Lahoutte V.U.B. 4 72.550 0,1
PRICRIB "Platform for imaging in clinical research in Brussel"

Jef Vandemeulebroucke Rudy Declerck

Johan de Mey

P. Gevennois

B. Venderberg

Y. Liu

O. Debeir





Saint Luc - Radiology



36 1.000.379 4


Patient Centric E-Health (€1.493.845 )

Abbreviation Title Partners University/Laboratory Duration (months) Budget (€) Employment (ETP)
HealthCompass "Plateforme mulimédia pour la guidance et le suivi du patient dans la compréhension de sa maladie et la communication avec son réseau social"

Benoît Macq


W. D'hoore     I. Ajoulat


G. Schamps



UCL/IRSS (Institut de recherche Santé et Société

UCL : Centre de droit médical et biomédical

24 840.725 4,5
RehabGoesHome "Rehabilitation Guardian for Young and Elderly patients at Home"

S. Van Sint Jan

B. Jansen        J. Cornelis



24 653.120 2,8


Interoperability of systems (€3.862.485 )

Abbreviation Title Partners University/Laboratory Duration (months) Budget (€) Employment (ETP)
iMEDIATE "Interoperability of Medical Data through Information extraction and Term Encoding"

Cedrik Fairon

M. Saerens

Y. Coppieters

M. Van Campenhoudt



ULB/Ecole de santé publique


36 1.445.185 5,2
IRIS "Development, assessment & implementation of an open-source telemedicine platform"

Jacques De Keyser

Bart Jansen

Paul De Hert

Pandolfo Massimo

Andre Peeters

Jean-Michel Dricot







36 1.340.960 7,2
BriGEIRIS "Brussels big Data platform for sharing and discovery in clinical Genomics"

Bontempi Gianluca

Vikkula Miikka

Bersini Hugues


Nowé Ann, Manderick Bernard


Bonduelle Maryse


Abramowicz Marc


ULB/Machine Learning Group




VUB AI-lab


UZ Brussels / Reproduction and Genetics


ERASME-ULB / Laboratoire de Génétique Médicale IRIBHM

24 1.076.340 4

For its fifth edition, the theme chosen for the Bridge action was data security. The exponential growth in the amount of data with which we are faced is accompanied by greater exposure to malicious attacks. Therefore, it is essential to secure the ICT infrastructure for citizens, companies and public institutions. Furthermore, in view of the rapid technological changes, it has become essential to invest in research and development.

In order to prepare the platform, Innoviris carried out a study with a view to selecting the most relevant research themes for the region, based on:

  • users' needs

  • academic expertise available

  • the potential benefit which Brussels companies might get out of the results of the research

The main stakeholders in the field of computer security were consulted during the first half-year of 2014. Three research themes were selected:

  • New authentication mechanisms for information systems

  • Data mining for monitoring security processes

  • Security through design for Cloud, Saas and mobile applications

Three calls for projects were launched during the second quarter of 2014. The projects' evaluation was carried out during autumn and the work on the projects selected will begin at the start of 2015.