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Not only the almost innate desire to work together and the proven innovative power but also a strong chain of educational institutions make the Brabant IT and data science sector a game-changer on the world stage. An extensive study commissioned by the Brabant Development Agency (BOM) shows that the role this province plays in the field of IT & data science is greater than previously assumed. The size and impact of the IT and data science training programs, the patents, and many field labs are proof of this. “Much more is happening than the outside world sees,” concludes BOM’s Project Manager Foreign Investments Guido Leestemaker, who directed the research. “In fact, there’s even more than we realized ourselves.”


Previously, BOM conducted similar studies on the HTSM sector, Agrofood, and Medtech.
Read more about Brabant’s global position in Agrofood, HTSM, and Health here.

“The amount of IT & data graduates together with the upward trend in the number of students starting and succeeding was really an eye-opener for us,” says Leestemaker. “Often people don’t immediately think of Brabant as a hotspot for IT & Data. You hear that the talent is in other places. But that turns out not to be the case. Within the Netherlands, we as a province train by far the most IT and data talent, especially in higher vocational and scientific education. Only at lower vocational level do we fall slightly short of North Holland, but even there the trend is in our favor.”

According to the study, the fact that the Brabant economy continues to grow above average can be explained by the successful combination of innovation, collaboration, and talent development. Leestemaker: “With billion-dollar companies like Philips and ASML and countless innovative startups, the economy in Brabant has grown faster in the past five years than in any other region in the Netherlands. The province is the perfect place for IT & data science companies, and is already home to many IT & data science initiatives and organizations that stand out from the market.” 

Niches and development areas

The analysis also leads to strategic conclusions for the near future. The potential areas of interest are divided into ‘priority niches’ and ‘development areas’. In the first group, Brabant IT & data science initiatives are already international market leaders. In the second group, because of the strong conditions, it is only a matter of time before that will be the case. “There, Brabant has already developed such an excellent business and science platform that can be built on, that further development in these areas will also lift the sector to the level of a world leader.” 

Priority Niches
  • Embedded software for complex high-tech machines 
  • Smart Health: Big Data & AI solutions in healthcare
  • Smart Industry: Big Data & AI solutions in the industry
Development Areas
  • Smart Mobility: Big Data & AI solutions in Mobility 
  • Smart Logistics: Big Data & AI solutions in logistics 
  • Business and Institutional software
  • Applied creative software technologies 
  • Cybersecurity software (development niche)
  • Communication software (5G, LoRa, etc.)
  • Smart AgriFood: Big Data & AI solutions in AgriFood

The number of patents applied for and granted is also an indication of the importance of this sector, says Leestemaker. “Everyone knows that we score very well – also at the European level – with our patent applications. But if you look at all those patents along the lines of IT, it becomes clear how important this sector is for Brabant. We were surprised when we got a clearer picture of that. In some domains within IT & data technology, we are seriously involved, even at the world level. And we notice that we are regularly seen as a frontrunner.” 

Want to know more about the specific applications and results? Tomorrow and the day after, we will publish articles about the role of Fontys ICT in the formation of new talents and about the way in which start-up Scailable uses the strength of the Brabant IT and data science sector. 

High lights of Brabant

Another striking outcome of the study lay in the large number of ICT-related field labs in Brabant. “Each of them is linked to different other domains. Examples are the Fieldlab for Precision Agriculture in Reusel, the 5G Automotive Fieldlab in Helmond, and the Flexible Manufacturing Fieldlab in Eindhoven. At their core, these activities always involve IT and data science.” 

Guard against fragmentation

With such a large number of initiatives, Leestemaker says Brabant must also guard against fragmentation. “It is very important right now that all the initiatives find each other and start to join forces. This is entirely in line with the DNA of Brabant: cooperation. This has brought us to where we are today and will also ensure that Brabant continues to excel in the field of IT & data science. I really hope that the stakeholders, including province and central government, draw the same conclusion based on our research.” There is also still a lot to discover, says Leestemaker. “But let’s also not forget that we are already on the right track.” 

Would you like to read the complete report? Download a copy here.

Highlights of Brabant


This story is the result of a collaboration between Brabantse Ontwikkelings Maatschappij (BOM) and our editorial team. Innovation Origins is an independent journalism platform that carefully chooses its partners and only cooperates with companies and institutions that share our mission: spreading the story of innovation. This way we can offer our readers valuable stories that are created according to journalistic guidelines. Want to know more about how Innovation Origins works with other companies? Click here