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Wallonia news in brief
Wallonia increased its exports to countries outside the EU in 2016. Foreign exports grew by 2.1% last year to €39.3 billion, according to a report by AWEX, Wallonia’s export and investment agency, published in June. The figure represents a record 21.9% of total exports. The leading sector reporting a rise in sales abroad was chemical and pharmaceutical products.
Liège University researcher Thibaut Detroux has created a software solution studying vibrations in aeroplanes that has triggered interest from the aerospace industry, including the US Air Force, Safran and Airbus. The 28-year-old’s research, Performance and Robustness of Nonlinear Systems Using Bifurcation Analysis, has been named the best PhD thesis in Belgium in mechanical engineering. The software program can be used to detect vibrations that could cause dangerous alterations to a complex structure such as an aircraft in specific conditions including strong winds and turbulence.
Two Walloon restaurants, l’Air du Temps and Le Coq aux Champs, have been ranked 31st and 128th respectively in US rankings of the 200 best European restaurants. Two-Michelin-star L’Air du Temps in Namur province, led by star chef Sang-Hoon Degeimbre, was praised for “raising the concept of food pairing to an art form”, while Christophe Pauly of one-star Le Coq aux Champs (Liège province) was described as “a true craftsman… Between precision and refinement, the chef manages to transform each product”.
Passengers can now snack on Belgian fries thanks to the opening of the friterie Fritapapa at Brussels South Charleroi Airport. The outlet has a super-efficient fryer and unusual decor and is situated outside the passenger terminal.
Leading Walloon IT company NRB is investing €7 million to build a new data centre in Villers-Le-Bouillet, called BelgiumDC. The project will reinforce the company’s customised hybrid cloud strategy. Building work started in March and the first module, with a capacity of 100 computer bays, should open in October. Herstal-based NRB has joined forces with international data centre manufacturer and operator Etix Everywhere to launch the shared centre.