News Release
For Immediate Release
June 10, 2015

Elenor Heyborne
USTAR Public Affairs Officer

Michael Sullivan
GOED Communications Director

USTAR signs MOU with KU Leuven, University Hospitals Leuven, imec, Flemish Institute of Biotechnology
Memorandum of understanding marks future international collaboration in technology education and commercialization

BELGIUM – As part of Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert’s trade mission to Western Europe, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) agency are pleased to announce USTAR, KU Leuven, University Hospitals Leuven, imec and the Flemish Institute of Biotechnology signed a memorandum of understanding in Leuven, Belgium. The MOU formalizes cooperative partnerships to advance technology transfers in support of economic development.

“Trade missions are all about strengthening Utah’s economy, and this memorandum is a pivotal step toward expanding our technology ecosystem,” said Governor Herbert. “We look forward to developing technical, academic and business relationships with these international leaders to advance the state’s technology profitability.”

Leuven is one of Europe’s most prolific regions for high-tech business development and innovation and is home to several world-renowned knowledge centers. KU Leuven is one of Belgium’s largest and highest-ranked universities and is one of the oldest and most renowned in Europe. As a leading European research university and co-founder of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), KU Leuven pursues curiosity-driven and strategic frontier research as well as targeted and demand-driven research. The university consistently secures funding from competitive research funds, among them the prestigious ERC grants awarded by the European Research Council. University Hospitals Leuven is among the most modern and well-equipped hospitals in Europe and is accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI).

Imec is a world-leading nano electronics research center headquartered in Leuven, Belgium. Imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in information and communications technologies, healthcare and energy to deliver industry-relevant technology solutions. In 2014 its revenues were more than 363 million euros. The Flemish Institute of Biotechnology, based in Flanders, Belgium, focuses on translating scientific results into pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial applications.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with organizations of this caliber,” said Ivy Estabrooke, executive director of USTAR. “This creates an opportunity for expansion of both Utahn and Belgian technology businesses into new markets through soft landing support in our respective countries.”

All organizations agreed to foster collaboration to advance technology development and commercialization, to stimulate joint research endeavors that align the strengths of the organizations and to provide infrastructure and business counseling to new companies. The partnership also aids in establishing new markets between organizations, to encourage academic student and faculty exchanges in the fields of science and engineering and to establish a formal mechanism for sharing best practices for economic development through technology investment.


Editor’s Note: This event is part of the 2015 Utah Trade Mission to Western Europe. The mission, which runs from June 6-16, includes delegates from more than 20 Utah businesses, universities and organizations and spans five countries: the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and France. The purpose of the trade mission is to strengthen existing international relationships, open new markets and foster future business growth and investment in Utah.

About the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED)
International Trade and Diplomacy Office (ITDO)

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) charter is based on Governor Gary Herbert’s commitment to economic development statewide. Utah’s economic development vision is that Utah will lead the nation as the best performing economy and be recognized as a premier global business and tourism destination. IDTO assists companies in developing markets for their products and services in other countries. ITDO helps Utah companies understand the benefits of expanding into international markets and provides assistance securing international business connections. Through increasing international trade and branding Utah globally, ITDO helps grow Utah’s economy, create jobs and increase Utah’s international presence. For additional information please contact: Nathan Lambson at

The Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) agency advances the Governor’s commitment to maintaining Utah’s position as the best performing economy in the nation and be recognized as a premier global business destination. USTAR is a long-term, state-funded investment designed to strengthen Utah’s knowledge economy and create a technology ecosystem that enables ideas to seed, grow and thrive. Funded in March 2006 by the State Legislature, USTAR’s diverse portfolio of investments will recruit and retain top researchers to the State’s research universities; support technology entrepreneurs through training, funding, incubator and accelerator programs and broker technology transfer by connecting capital, management and industry. For additional information please contact Elenor Heyborne at



Ivy Estabrooke, executive director of USTAR and Governor Herbert take a short tour of the University Hospital (UZ) of KU Leuven with Marc Decramer, CEO of UZ and Professor Wim Robberecht, Vicerector KU Leuven Biodmedicals.

MOU signing

Derek Miller of World Trade Center Utah, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Johan Cardoen of VIB, Marc Decramer of UZ, along with the rest of the signing delegation, sign a memorandum of understanding to formalize partnerships to advance technology transfers in support of economic development in both Belgium and Utah.