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.