Putting an industrial innovation programme into practice requires close cooperation between industrial players. The Flemish government therefore identified its cluster policy as a potential starting point for the Moonshot initiative. Within the Flemish cluster policy, innovative corporate networks and so-called spearhead clusters set up projects and partnerships that allow companies, universities and other renowned research institutes to develop breakthrough technologies, products and processes. In these innovation networks and clusters, stakeholders throughout the value chain tackle problems, develop solutions and create added value for the Flemish industry. This is exactly the collaborative context that can catalyse climate ambitions into climate action.

A Crucial Cluster

Given the crucial role that chemicals and plastics play in reducing CO2 emissions and in providing other sectors with the necessary solutions to make their products and processes more sustainable, the Flemish government mandated Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for the Flemish chemical and plastics industry, to take the lead in putting the Moonshot initiative into practice. Catalisti’s proven track record in bringing industries and knowledge partners together as well as in setting up project consortia also contributed to this decision.

In 2018, Catalisti started to develop the strategic agenda for the Moonshot initiative in synergy with the other Flemish spearhead clusters. It organised a survey among its industrial members to collect in-house long-term innovation roadmaps and to consolidate the needs of the sector. On this basis, Catalisti developed the Moonshot initiative into more detail.

In a Memorandum of Understanding signed on 23 March 2019, the Flemish government officially mandated Catalisti to host the Moonshot initiative and to develop it in terms of organization, operation, substance and strategy. In the same year, a governance structure was set up for the Moonshot initiative, a Moonshot budget was allocated and the first Moonshot project proposals were approved. At this moment, the Moonshot took off!

Cooperation with other Clusters

In setting up and carrying out the Moonshot initiative, Catalisti closely cooperates with the other Flemish spearhead clusters: De Blauwe Cluster, Flanders’ FOOD, Flux50, SIM and VIL. This close cooperation ensures that breakthrough technologies will be efficiently and effectively adopted across various sectors of the Flemish industrial landscape. This way, cross-sectoral synergies and spill-overs can be exploited.