Its immediate economic impact is as an employer: it is the largest employer in the Brussels-Capital Region and a major source of employment in Charleroi. It also has a high indirect economic impact through the students activities and the numerous scientific meetings or congresses of all sizes.
The University also plays a major role as a source of technological innovation, particularly through the range of regional programmes organised in partnership with industry: the Innoviris programme in Brussels, DGO4 (energy) and DGO6 programmes by the Walloon Region and the Marshall Plan 4.0 competition clusters in Wallonia, as well as joint research projects with businesses and the ERDF 2014-2020 Programming.
This role is evidenced through the patents held (86 patent families held by ULB in 2015), the businesses created (35 active spin-offs in 2015), the incubators present (EEBIC, Solvay Entrepreneurs Accompagnement, iTechIncubator), as well as an investment fund, Theodorus.
The university also acts as an adviser to government, provides continued professional development directly linked to research, notably through Biopark Formation, organises cultural events and disseminates scientific knowledge in an accessible manner.