Science for health: a new event for creating research connections

Share this article

Science for health is Belgium’s new research event, set to promote more collaborations in our stellar life sciences ecosystem. The September event will bring together experts from across the board; academics, industry leaders, clinicians and service providers; facilitating the formation of new research connections. The ultimate aim is not only to showcase Belgian research, but to create value for patients by encouraging new and innovative partnerships. For the inaugural 2019 edition, the focus is on the exciting field of cell therapy.

By Amy LeBlanc

A unique event concept

The complexity of today’s health sciences means that members of the ecosystem are often incredibly specialized. It can be hard to break away from the intense focus on your own work and take in the bigger picture.

Currently researchers tend to connect mainly in academic settings, like conferences, but the opportunity for meeting across academic, industry or clinical borders are limited. By bringing together members from across the Belgian health sciences sector, Science for health offers a rare chance for breaking these barriers between different aspects of health science, and to enable collaborations that would otherwise be difficult to initiate.

This strong focus on interconnectedness is built into the very foundation of the event, with a diverse set of Belgian organizations making up the founding partners. Science for health is supported by universities (UGent and KU Leuven), research institutions (VIB and imec) and a pharmaceutical company (Janssen Pharmaceutica), all coordinated by

The joint support of these different partners embodies the ethos of this event: creating research connections across the field, for the betterment of health sciences and to the benefit of the patient.

Science for health will be an annual occurrence, complimentary to other events such as Knowledge for Growth, where experts are given the chance to get together and brainstorm on a central theme. At this inaugural edition of the event, the focus will be on cell therapy.

Why cell therapy?

In recent years, the field of cell therapy has seen groundbreaking discoveries across the globe, with the first products finally reaching the clinic. Examples are diverse but include battling cancer with CAR-T therapy and regenerative medicine using stem cells. The possibilities seem endless, but the path from research to patient care is nonetheless long and complex.

Keynote Speakers

Belgium is currently internationally recognized as a prominent hub for cell therapy. There is a critical mass of innovative companies with a remarkable drive to make progress for patient care. It’s not just the companies making Belgium special for cell therapy though: these companies are supported by a rich and diverse ecosystem that fosters their growth.

Belgium excels at the spin-out and transformation of fundamental science, from universities such as UGent and KU Leuven, into companies that subsequently create value for the industry and for patients. This valorization of technology is partly due to the presence of dedicated centers such as VIB and imec, as well as the strong support of the government in the form of grants, subsidies and tax incentives.

Cell therapy companies specifically have an advantage in Belgium, as they can rely on the support of expert local service companies. Pharmaceutical companies also contribute to accelerating innovation with increasing numbers of incubators such as Janssen’s JLABS (formerly JLINX) in Beerse.

Finally, Belgium is uniquely well equipped to support cell therapy innovation because of our expertise in clinical development. Here, Belgium can truly claim a leadership role, with our positive reputation for clinical development characterized by the efficiency and rapidity of action. All parties involved, including the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products, academic centres and the pharmaceutical industry, collaborate maintain this prime standard.

September is for cell therapy

We are at a crossroads where, in the near future, cell therapies will become key treatment option for many disorders. They will present a fundamental change in how medicine is practiced, and collaboration and out-of-the-box thinking will drive progress.

We urge you to come along to Science for health in September. Get inspired by the incredible research that is being conducted, both locally and internationally. Meet with fellow scientists, executives and business developers from academia, research institutes and companies. Get connected and join forces in promoting progress in the field to improve patient care and save lives.

For more information or to register, please visit