Brussels-Capital is a densely populated region, the capital of Europe and the second most cosmopolitan city in the world. The multicultural and multi-nationalities aspects are characteristic of this territory. The region is a central hub for workers in the country.

The Regional Innovation Programme and the Smart Specialisation strategy of the region (RIS3) aim to address six societal challenges that have been detailed in the main RIS3 document. The TRANSFORM cluster for Brussels-Capital region activities is in line with the “Inclusive and participatory society” and the “Healthy food for allsocietal challenges.

In addition to societal challenges, the region has established Strategics Innovation Domains (DIS). “Optimal use of resources” and “Social innovation, public innovation and social inclusion” are DIS to which TRANSFORM activities organised in Brussels are strongly linked. 

Innovation and its strong regional dimension are crucial for the economic growth of Brussels-Capital. The incentive role of the public authorities in the innovation activities business is very important. In that context, several public tools are in place to support innovation:

  • the Regional Plan for Innovation funding research and development (R&D) and the Smart Specialisation Strategy. The three local priorities (Health, Environment and ICT) are described in detail in the Regional Innovation Plan (PRI), developed by Innoviris and renovated every 3 years. 
  • Since 2016, the Brussels-Capital region has included the transition to the circular economy in its strategic objectives and put in place the Regional Program in Circular Economy (PREC).

RRI dimensions are present in existing R&I initiatives of the region such as Co-create, a programme that supports the exploration, experimentation and production of co-created knowledge for urban resilience.

More information about the Regional Innovation Plan 2021-2027 here.
The bodies in charge of regional Innovation and R&D: Innoviris and Hub Brussels.
More information about the current S3 in Brussels-Capital is available on the S3 platform.


Circular Economy

Circular Economy 

The participatory approach implemented

For its pilot activities, the Brussels-Capital Region cluster will carry out multistakeholder engagement activities applied to social innovation focused on circular economy. The activities enable the cluster to better understand the regional context and to implement research and observation methodologies ensuring a deep understanding of user needs and engagement of the local community.


The Brussels-Capital Region cluster’ pilot of TRANSFORM started with an exploration of circular economy, in a wide sense, with the selection of specific community needs and challenges to address, paying particular attention to sustainability and inclusiveness of the entire participatory process.

The next step was to develop a methodology to implement open and inclusive processes to better connect local research and innovation (R&I) to societal needs while involving quadruple-helix stakeholders.

The cluster then identified a number of technological and social innovations related to the broad topic of circular economy (water quality, material flows and bioengineered food) and planned pilot activities. Pilot activities were launched in two rounds. The first pilot – AquaSens – water sensors measuring water quality aimed to implement open and inclusive processes to better connect local public-funded research and innovation (R&I) to societal needs. The second round of activities focused on two pilots: (1) Algorella interacting with citizens in the innovation process through a design thinking approach, and (2) the unsold food pilot which aimed to provide a case study to public authorities on how to organise multistakeholder participatory activities to better understand the challenges and realities of an ecosystem in which R&I initiatives receive public funding.

The principles of responsible research and innovation and multi-stakeholder engagement are applied to the identified social innovations. The objective is to set up a methodology involving society (multiple actors) and create case studies and introduce this approach to public-funded R&I.

TRANSFORM Brussels-Capital cluster timeline


This executive summary of the “Strategic roadmap for the implementation and support of territorial RRI through Multi-Stakeholder engagement strategies within S3 priorities” aims at helping regional public administrations who wish to enable citizens’ and R&I stakeholder engagement actions in their local policymaking. It presents the methodology, expected benefits, actions carried out, impact and lessons learned.

Think tank

The aim of the Think Tank created by the Brussels-Capital region cluster is to have a multidisciplinary and multistakeholder group of experts helping to improve the alignment of the regional R&I ecosystem with societal needs. More particularly, the objective is to bring expertise that will reinforce the knowledge and experience already present in the cluster to support the implementation of the pilot project.


Aspect image
Aspect image
Aspect image

Advisory Board member for design thinking for social innovation

Aspect image

      Anna Meroni 

EU flag This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 872687. This website reflects only the authors' view and the REA and the EC are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
Project Coordinator: Angela Simone Fondazione Giannino Bassetti angela.simone@fondazionebassetti.org
contact: info@transform-project.eu