Higher education in Flanders scores well internationally, both in terms of education and research. To maintain the quality of higher education and research in Flanders, a well thought-out internationalization strategy is important. With that, Flanders’ place in the globalized knowledge-based society can be guaranteed. In addition, a strong reputation of Flanders in these domains reflects on the general image of Flanders abroad. 

Through academic diplomacy the Department of Foreign Affairs wants to achieve two objectives. A first goal is it to defend the international interests of Flanders on higher education and research and to stimulate the internationalization of Flemish higher education and research. This enables reciprocal student and researcher mobility and encourages international institutional collaborations. A second goal is to strengthen and maintain the image of Flanders as an innovative and knowledge-driven region of high quality. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs wishes to achieve these goals by on the one hand actively promoting higher education and research in Flanders in order to convince foreign students, researchers and policy-makers of its quality. The coordinated participation of academic institutions in ministerial missions is an important instrument to do so. Academic diplomacy is also a central task of the Flemish diplomatic representations abroad. Through our diplomatic network abroad we support the international activities of the Flemish academic institutions on a demand-driven base. The Department of Foreign Affairs also indirectly provides  scholarships for a limited number of disciplines on which Flanders has outstanding academic expertise. All this is done in close cooperation and coordination with other involved government departments/agencies and the Flemish academic institutions.

Interested in more information about Science, Technology and Innovation in Flanders?  Please consult the publication "STI in Flanders", which will be updated yearly. This publication contains in depth information about STI-policy in Flanders, important figures or indicators, the broad context and the performance of the research and innovation landscape, and an overview of the main actors and the public entities engaged in the field of R&D and innovation. Read more 

Policy framework

In 2013 the Government of Flanders adopted the Action Plan for Mobility 2013-2020 “Brains on the move”. This plan contains a broad range of initiatives that contribute to the further realisation of an international oriented, qualitative, higher education in Flanders. The focus lies on the mobility of students. The action plan does not only contain strategies to promote mobility among the Flemish students, but it also creates possibilities to attract foreign students to Flanders.

Brains on the Move - Action plan  for mobility 2013