Page 1



“Our Fellows help us to thrive as an open university, connected to society, industry, and the future. The VUB Fellowship is not just about sharing networks and knowledge, it is also about sharing values.� Paul De Knop, Rector VUB



Academia meets Society 4 Fellows VUB Community


Solvay Fellows VUB 2015


Engineering Fellows VUB 2015


UMC Fellows VUB 2015


Arts and Humanities Fellows VUB 2015


Kurt Lewin Fellows VUB 2015


Law and Criminology Fellows VUB 2015


Science Fellow VUB 2015


LK Fellows VUB 2015


VUB Fellows 2015


Contact 51


Academia meets Society For the fourth year in a row, we are privileged to warmly welcome a new class of Fellows. We are looking forward to jointly strengthen the ties between Academia and Society. Three years ago, in 2012, Vrije Universiteit Brussel initiated its Fellowship programme with five Solvay Fellows VUB. This year we are introducing 27 new Fellows. In total VUB now has 76 outstanding Fellows. The aim of the VUB Fellowship programme is to act as a platform where academics and the worlds of society and business meet. Here we can discuss joint challenges, exchange experiences, share good practices, and learn from one another for the benefit of research, academic education, and society in general. We firmly believe that the VUB Fellowship programme can, as such, become a main vector to further improve the quality of our education, foster the employability of our graduates, stimulate research, and improve our overall capacity for innovation and competitiveness, resulting in better service to our society.

“Fellow VUB� is therefore the highest grade of membership of our Alma Mater. It is a title bestowed upon unique personalities, such as top-level company executive officers or company staff members, visionary politicians or decision makers, any other type of socially relevant personality. This year we are also welcoming four honorary Fellows. For the past three years they have been delivering fantastic work as Fellow, and they wish to continue their commitment. Their vision, input, and advice is very much appreciated by the university. We are proud to have 76 outstanding Fellows that bridge the gap between Academia and Society. Together with the Fellow community, we are now continuing our efforts for the university of the future, and focus our attention on the realisation of VUB 2020. Prof. Hugo Thienpont University Fellowship Coordinator


Prof. Hugo Thienpont


Wednesday the 17th of September 2014, VUB inaugurated 22 new Fellows on campus Etterbeek. Two years earlier, on September 12th 2012, Vrije Universiteit Brussel officially launched the VUB Fellowship programme to actively support the university’s interaction with highly experienced members of society and the world of business, by entitling them as Fellows of VUB. The first Fellows were proposed by the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences and Solvay Business School.

Fellows VUB 2014 SOLVAY FELLOWS VUB Béatrice Delvaux Chantal Pattyn Micheline Scheys Joséphine Rebecca Vanden Broucke Dominique Vercraeye UMC FELLOWS VUB Luc Adriaenssens Dirk Dewolf Patricia Lanssiers ENGINEERING FELLOWS VUB Kathleen Dupont Philip Hermans Pol Hoorelbeke Lieve Paternoster Jan Vliegen LK FELLOWS VUB Marc Frederix Krista Vandenborre Luc Van Mol KURT LEWIN FELLOWS VUB Sonia Frey

LAW AND CRIMINOLOGY FELLOWS VUB Michele Coninsx Veronique Petry SCIENCE FELLOWS VUB Bart Degeest Peter Strickx Jurgen Tack

Fellows VUB 2013 SCIENCE FELLOWS VUB Ingrid Daubechies Jean-Marie Solvay Guy Van Lommen LK FELLOWS VUB Eddy De Smedt Yves Geysels Willy Smeets SOLVAY FELLOWS VUB Lieven Deketele Philippe De Longueville Luc Lallemand Vincent Stuer Olivier Vanden Eynde

KURT LEWIN FELLOWS VUB Patrick Coulier Koen De Maesschalck Telidja Klaï ENGINEERING FELLOWS VUB Line Alderweireldt Dirk Boogmans René De Keyzer Yves Pianet Jan Watté UMC FELLOWS VUB Yolande Avontroodt Maggie De Block Jo De Cock

Fellows VUB 2012 SOLVAY FELLOWS VUB Karsten De Clerck Michel Van den Broeck Ludo Vandervelden Xavier Verhaeghe An Verhulst-Santos



“The most important raw material we Europeans have - and that we should invest in - is our knowledge. At the same time however, we need innovative ideas, fresh insights, and a healthy portion of entrepreneurship. Only this will lead to tangible, real-life applications with commercial potential which will improve the world we live in.� Eddy Van Gelder, Chairman VUB

Solvay Fellows VUB Thierry Geerts Isabelle Meunier Wim van Hees

“In 2012 my faculty inaugurated the first class of Solvay Fellows VUB. I am proud that the efforts and engagement of these pioneers and my colleagues inspired other faculties to follow our initiative.” Joël Branson, Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences & Solvay Business School

Faculty Fellowship Coordinator ES Elvira Haezendonck


Thierry Geerts


Proximi: Thomas Crispeels and Kim Willems

Bio: Thierry Geerts graduated as Solvay Business Engineer at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 1989. During his studies, he already founded a student enterprise, within the framework of the Entrepreneurial Talent Corporation. After his studies, he started working as auditor for Coopers & Lybrand, but quite soon his passion for media, online marketing, and innovation led him to management and board positions at, among others, Corelio Publishing, Nostalgie, VAR, Clickx, and Passe-Partout. In 2008 he became CEO of Corelio Business Development and of Arkafund. Since 2011 he is Country Director of Google Belgium. As such he is positioned in the heart of online marketing and innovative entrepreneurship, two of the fields in which our faculty aims to excel on an international level. Interestingly, he still combines his job at Google with a board position at Kasteel Den Brandt, an offspring of his student venture.

Country Director at Google Belgium

“VUB is a university with open minds, with people from all origins and opinions in the centre of the European Community. Let’s make the web work for VUB.”


Isabelle Meunier


Proxima: Diane Breesch

“My VUB Fellowship will enable me to share the expertise I gained as a registered auditor and as the current Deputy Secretary General of the Institute for Registered Auditors. Through guest lectures, I will have the opportunity to convince students and academics of the important independent and expert role of a registered auditor, towards clients and stakeholders. Providing research data will create the opportunity to realise reliable research for the benefit of both academia and the audit profession. Through ‘Academia meets Society’, I am convinced we can attain a better economic system.”

Bio: Isabelle Meunier graduated as Master of Science in Applied Economics at VUB in 1995. She started her career as an auditor in the Big 4-firm Deloitte Belgium (1995-2006), where she reached the position of manager. She became a registered auditor in 2004. In 2006 she became responsible for the quality assurance and surveillance of the IBR. Since 2011 she is Deputy Secretary General of the IBR and Member of the Board.


Deputy Secretary General at the Belgian Institute for Registered Auditors (IBR)

Wim van Hees


Proximus: Benjamin De Cleen

“The continuing evolution of knowledge and wisdom are of the utmost importance for the evolution of mankind. Therefore, academia should be free but responsible in the way they pursue their mission. But they should do so with a clear view of the society they are part of.”


President and spokesperson at vzw Ademloos

Wim van Hees (1940) conducted market research for Philips Eindhoven from 1957 to 1964. From 1966 to 1972 he worked for Intermarco-Publicem, where he eventually became a member of the Board of Directors. In 1972 he co-founded the advertising agency Van Hees-Vlessing, which became Van Hees-Vlessing-Lagrillere in 1982, and VVL/BBDO in 1983. He was a member of the Board of BBDO Europe. From 1992 to 1997 he was campaign manager and financial coordinator for the antiracist ‘Hand in Hand’ campaign. In 2007 he co-founded vzw Ademloos, of which he is president and spokesperson. In 2010 Stichting Marketing granted him its Lifetime Achievement Award.


Engineering Fellows VUB Peter Grognard Martine Tempels Chris Wuytens

“By sharing knowledge and best practices, our engineering Fellows are and will be the permanent link between academia and industry. They will guarantee the exchange of knowledge and competences necessary for a sustained and sustainable innovation process. The world of engineering remains a male-dominated environment and female students are underrepresented in engineering education. Breaking the stereotype of linking masculinity and engineering is one of the major goals of our top female Fellows.� Annick Hubin, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering

Faculty Fellowship Coordinator IR Abdellah Touhafi


Peter Grognard


Proximus: Jan Cornelis

Bio: For 14 years Peter Grognard was CEO of Septentrio, which he founded in 2000 as a spin-off company following an 18-month stay at IMEC. Under his leadership, Septentrio played a strategic role in Europe’s Galileo programme. Between 1994 and 1998 Peter was Science Advisor at the Embassy of Belgium in Washington. Between 1992 and 1994 he was Delegate to the European Space Agency. Peter Grognard was an assistant at VUB from 1988 until 1991, during which time he was also a member of the Board. He currently sits on the Boards of various industry associations, is co-founder and vice-president of Europe’s leading Galileo industry association, vice-chairman of the Federal Council for Science Policy, and director of Agoria Vlaanderen.

Managing Director at Thales Alenia Space Belgium

“My first visit to VUB goes back to 1982, then a 17-year-old high-school student. What I liked right away, was the unique, stimulating multi-disciplinary environment, created by strong, remarkably bright people, like Prof. Roger Van Geen and Prof. Irina Veretenicoff, to name just a few. I see the value of my Fellowship in being able to again interact more regularly with VUB, and hope to help promote my alma mater.”


Martine Tempels


Proximus: Hugo Thienpont

“I spent a lot of time inspiring young people to choose for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) directions in their studies and careers. I hope I will be able to help VUB attract people who decide to follow a STEM path, and give support in educating people who have a broad aspiration and an open mind towards innovation and problem solving.�

Bio: Martine Tempels started her career as Account Manager at NCR. In 1996 she moved to EDS, where she first became Account Manager and later assumed additional responsibilities as Business Unit Manager for the financial and commercial sector. In 2007 she was appointed Application Service Executive for the Northern and Central EMEA. In 2009 she joined Telenet. She founded CoderDojo Belgium, is president of the Flemish STEM platform, and was elected ICT woman of the year in 2012.


Senior Vice President at Telenet Belgium

Chris Wuytens


Proximus: Philippe Lataire

Bio: Since 2014 Chris Wuytens is Managing Director at Acerta Consult. Before, from 2010 to 2014, he was Managing Director of the Consultancy and Competence division of SD Works. From 1997 to 2003 he was Managing Partner at Interface Consult. From 1990 to 1996 he was Partner in Strategic Management Consulting for TC Team Consult, and from 1986 to 1990 he was Consultancy Manager at KPMG Advisory. Prior to that, from 1984 to 1986, he was Product Manager of the AT&T Ollivetti Unix line. In 1981 he started as Software Engineer at IC Systems SI.

Managing Director at Acerta Consult

“I am a strong believer in Ecosystems and Smart Cooperation. Universities have to play a more crucial role in the business ecosystem – where they often are a missing link. As an engineering student from the class of ‘81, VUB was an open and challenging environment for me. I see this honourable Fellowship as an opportunity to reduce the gap between the university and other organisations.”


UMC Fellows VUB Yves Desmet Raf Mertens Yves Vandenberghe Caroline Verlinde

Faculty Fellowship Coordinator GF Dirk Devroey


Yves Desmet


Proximus: Alain Dupont

Bio: 1982-1984: 1984-1991: 1991-1994: 1994-2001: 1998-present: 2001-2006: 2006-present: 2012-2014: 2014-present:

Freelance journalist Journalist at De Morgen Journalist at Humo Editor-In-Chief at De Morgen Several television assignments Political Editor-In-Chief at De Morgen Political commentator Editor-In-Chief at De Morgen Opinions Chief Editor at De Morgen

Opinions Chief Editor at De Morgen “A university should not only dedicate itself to fundamental research and education, it should also be engaged in the public debate on major ethical, economic, and social choices to be made to create a sustainable and just society. I would like to facilitate this dialogue between academia and society.�


Raf Mertens


Proxima: Brigitte Velkeniers

“Throughout my professional career, there seems to be one leitmotif which I can best summarise as ‘applied epidemiology as a public service’, i.e. the use of routinely collected data and statistics to influence day-to-day medical care towards better quality. Academia has invariably been a much-appreciated partner in this endeavour.”

Bio: Raf Mertens worked as a doctor in Kivu (DRC) for four years. Later he worked, from 1985 to 1997, for the Scientific Institute of Public Health (Wetenschappelijk Instituut Volksgezondheid), where he was in charge for the national programme for the registration of hospital infections. He also coordinated the European HELICS programme which harmonised the registration networks of hospital infections. In 1997 he started working at the Landsbond der Christelijke Mutualiteiten, where he was responsible for the analysis and feedback of healthcare data, and for the development of programmes for quality promotion, especially in cooperation with hospitals. In 2006 he became head of the department Research and Development of the Christelijke Mutualiteit. In 2009 he was appointed General Director of KCE, the Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre, which advises policy makers in the domains of healthcare and health insurance.


Director at the Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE)

Yves Vandenberghe


Proxima: Vera Rogiers

“VUB can remain very proud of its teaching staff and educational programmes at all levels. A VUB degree can stand next to many degrees of top-level universities around the globe. Looking back at my experience in the private sector and having worked in many countries with colleagues from top-ranked universities, I never experienced any shortfalls in the educational programme I had a chance to follow at VUB. However, there clearly is still room for improvement on preparing future graduates for a career in the private sector. I am convinced that an initiative as outlined by this Fellowship will strongly help to close this gap.�


Global Corporate Account Executive at Dow Chemicals

Yves Vanderberghe is a toxicologist who obtained his Master and PhD degrees in Pharmaceutical Science at VUB. After his studies, he worked as Senior Toxicologist at Monsanto and Eli Lilly. Since 1994 he is employed at Dow Chemicals, where he has been Toxicology Manager, Regional Technical Service Manager, Commercial and Market Manager, and Global Technical Service Leader. Currently he is Global Corporate Account Executive and Site Director. In 1990 he was awarded the F.I.S.E.A. European Prize for the Replacement of Experimental Animals. Although his professional life is business-oriented, Yves Vanderberghe has a solid scientific basis with over 40 publications in international scientific publications.


Caroline Verlinde

21 Proximus: Dirk Devroey

Bio: Caroline Verlinde graduated as MD at KU Leuven and established herself as a family physician in Oudergem. She is very involved in supporting primary healthcare and was health coordinator for the Flemish Community in Brussels from 2006 to 2009. She was also a member of the operational team Zorgnet and former vice-chairperson of Brusselse HuisartsenKring. Before her current position, she was Director of Huis voor Gezondheid vzw.

“For the academic world as well as society, it is important to work together as closely as possible. My feeling is that VUB has always been in close contact with ‘the world and its people’. Initiatives like this Fellowship promote this interaction – and that is why I am very honoured and pleased to be part of it.”


Deputy Director of Health at the Flemish Department of Welfare, Public Health and Family

Arts and Humanities Fellows VUB Stefan Blommaert Frans Boenders Paul Dujardin Hendrik Pinxten Christina von Wackerbarth

“With Fellows from the fields of arts, media, journalism, and learning, our Faculty wants to construct a network of valuable connections.� Martina Temmerman, Faculty Fellowship Coordinator of Arts and Philosophy

Faculty Fellowship Coordinator LW Martina Temmerman


Stefan Blommaert


Proximus: Guy Vanthemsche

Bio: Stefan Blommaert is a prominent television journalist working for the public Flemish broadcasting company VRT. After having specialised in developments in the Balkans and the countries of the former Soviet Union, he is now stationed in the People’s Republic of China as a permanent correspondent. He has been reporting on foreign affairs on a high level for many years, analysing complex issues in a clear yet subtle way. He always situates current events in a broader historical and social perspective. Stefan Blommaert was trained as a historian at VUB, from which he graduated in 1980. He therefore brilliantly applies the basic values of our university: critical and unprejudiced research, based on careful analysis of facts and figures.

Foreign Correspondent at VRT

“In their daily work, journalists can be a natural bridge between academia and society, by trying to explain in simple words the highly valuable but often complicated content of scientific work. Through my Fellowship, I hope to broaden this task, by offering my experience in ‘exploring society’ to VUB students and collaborators.”


Frans Boenders


Proximus: David Gullentops

“All universities today, apart from making and teaching pure science, technology, and the humanities, have a responsibility to constantly and wisely widen their scope. In this view, VUB has taken a great initiative in building yet another bridge between academia and society at large. VUB Fellows can, in more than one way, contribute to a better interaction between scientists, artists, and decision makers – but also between ordinary citizens and committed intellectuals.”

Bio: Frans Boenders (1942) is a well-known radio and television journalist, writer, and philosopher. He has written extensively on art and his travels throughout Asia. In 1979 he won the Arkprijs van het Vrije Woord (Ark Prize of the Free Word). In 2007 he was named chairperson of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts, a mandate which ended in 2009.


Member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts

Paul Dujardin


Proximus: Hans De Wolf

Bio: Paul Dujardin obtained a Master’s degree in Art History and Archaeology at VUB in 1986 and a degree in Sciences of Governance at VLEKHO Brussels in 1987. He started his professional career at Jeugd en Muziek and collaborated with Bernard Foccroulle at Jeunesses Musicales. In 1988 he founded Ars Musica, which he coordinated until 1993. In 1992 he was appointed CEO of the Filharmonische Vereniging. He coached the National Orchestra of Belgium and became a member of the famous European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO). Since 2002 he is the CEO of the Centre for Fine Arts Brussels (BOZAR), which he turned into one of the most prestigious art institutions in Europe. Paul Dujardin recently became a senior advisor for several high-ranking European institutions.


“I strongly believe in the performativity and the speculative strength of the arts and sciences. Great artists and scientists think the world differently. In times of crisis, cultural houses and universities have to join forces to preserve this radical sense of creativity and tackle questions that will shape the future world (migration, ecology, urbanity, inequality, digitalisation, etc.).”


Hendrik Pinxten


Proxima: Gily Coene

“Academia is part of society. Research and the transfer of knowledge should be free of political constraints, but should also give feedback to society itself. Recent developments of ‘corporate science’ are a mistake. Short-term economic interests should never uncritically dictate the course of scientific research planning, career opportunities, etc.”

Bio: Hendrik Pinxten (1947) studied and obtained his PhD in Moral Sciences at Ghent University, where he later established a new Master’s programme in Comparative Cultural Sciences and taught courses in anthropology and the comparative study of religion. In 2000 he established the Centre for Intercultural Communication and Interaction, a research unit on identity, interculturality and diversity. Between 2003 and 2010 he was president of the Humanist Secular Organisations in Flanders (Humanistische Vrijzinnige Verenigingen). In 2004 he received an award for defending the right to free speech (Arkprijs van het Vrije Woord) and in 2006 he was appointed the Willy Calewaert Chair at VUB. Hendrik Pinxten has written numerous books, mainly on (cultural) anthropology and secular ethics, throughout his career.


Professor Emeritus at Ghent University

Christina von Wackerbarth


Proxima: Martina Temmerman

“As my Fellowship is for the Arts department of the university, I hope I can contribute by embodying different career possibilities in one lifetime. Openness to change, other cultures, team work, and learnability are becoming tomorrow’s biggest assets, together with Emotional Intelligence. I hope to embody these values, which I also believe to be anchored in VUB’s societal mission.”


Leadership Executive Coach at INSEAD

Christina von Wackerbarth (1954) studied Romance Philology and Linguistics and taught French and German for four years. In 1980 she started her professional career as an editor at Tijdschriften Uitgevers Maatschappij (TUM), later Mediaxis, where she became Editor-In-Chief of several magazines before reaching the position of Publishing Manager. From 1999 until 2003 she was Director-General of the Flemish public-service broadcaster VRT, which she also served as General Manager and Chief Operating Officer. Since 2004 she is a regular coach for the INSEAD programmes, which include a Leadership Development module. As an independent professional, she mostly coaches groups of international executives.


Kurt Lewin Fellows VUB Ingrid Lieten Koen Maertens

“The Kurt Lewin Fellows provide us with an important benchmark for the societal relevance of our education and research.” Caroline Andries, Dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences

Faculty Fellowship Coordinator PE Dominique Verté


Ingrid Lieten


Proximus: Dominique Verté

Bio: From 2009 to 2014 Ingrid Lieten was Vice President of the Flemish Government. She also was Minister responsible for innovation, public investments, media, and poverty reduction. Since 2014 she is a member of the Flemish Parliament. Ingrid Lieten’s commitment to social equality and development was sparked by the bad economic situation that hit her home region of Limburg after its mining industry was shut down. Faced with high unemployment and poverty in the region, she concluded that economic wealth should always be paired with social redistribution, even in highly industrialised countries such as Belgium. In the early 1980s she joined the Flemish social-democratic party. Prior to joining the Flemish Government, Ingrid Lieten dedicated her professional career to the economic reconversion of Limburg and headed Flanders’ public transport company De Lijn, the biggest public company of Flanders.

Member of the Flemish Parliament

“Not every innovation is stimulated through governments or economic action. Innovations can be started up in communities, social organisations, and voluntary organisations. We have to foster these social innovations and provide them with oxygen to grow. In order to tackle society’s challenges, we need to give social innovation its proper role, next to technological innovation. I would like to exchange experiences, share good practices, and contribute to improve the overall capacity for innovation and competitiveness, resulting in a better service to our society. As a former VUB student and former minister of innovation, it is an honour to be considered an ambassador. I will help enlarge VUB’s social network and enforce its societal impact in an active way.”


Koen Maertens


Proximus: Johan Vanderfaeillie

“Educated as a clinical psychologist at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, I strongly support VUB’s philosophy based on the principles of free enquiry and free opinion, which are inherent to a free society in which everyone can develop his or her skills and abilities. I strongly believe in the continuous interaction between business, society, and university to pass on knowledge and culture. Hence, it is with great pleasure and honour that I accept the Kurt Lewin Fellowship title.”

Director of Oscare vzw

Bio: Koen Maertens studied clinical psychology at VUB until 2003. Afterwards he was a research assistant. In 2008 he became managing director of Oscare, an organisation that treats burns, offers scar after-care and does related research.


Law and Criminology Fellows VUB

Vincent Lambrecht David Van Herreweghe

Faculty Fellowship Coordinator RC Michel Maus


Vincent Lambrecht


Proximus: Michel Maus

Bio: 1999-2002: 2002-2007: 2006-present: 2007-present: 2009-present:

Account Manager Enterprises at BBL Senior Estate Planner at ING Private Banking Lecturer at Syntra Vlaanderen Director Estate Planning at Capital at Work Founder of Estate Planning Skill Group, Gent-Kortrijk

“A few brief thoughts: Knowledge is power. This is, however, not entirely correct: applied knowledge is power. In the business world it is fundamental to convert academic baggage into practical and functional applications. Both are inextricably connected and the one necessarily follows from the other. Director Estate Planning at Capital at Work

It is essential to build bridges between the academic and the business world. In the context of academic education, I would like to make a case for student involvement in this effort. Once a student sees and hears how his/her subject matter can lead to deals, growth, customer satisfaction, revenue, et cetera in practice, their interest in this domain will inevitably grow. It is important for students to keep learning, also after finishing their studies.�


David Van Herreweghe


Proximus: Michel Maus

“The academic world must sufficiently remain in touch with what is going on in society. Because it are exactly these academically trained citizens who will organise and lead society in the future. Disconnectedness from the world or a lack of contact and empathic capability, can have (very) disastrous consequences in this respect. Introducing the experience, knowledge, and expertise of practitioners in an academic training will therefore imply a substantial advantage. I am convinced that VUB is fully aware of the added value this match could generate. And I consider it, therefore, an honour and a pleasure for me, on behalf of the Flemish Tax Service, to be able to make my contribution.”

Bio: 1992-1994: 1994-1996: 1997-1998: 1998-2006: 2006-present:

Assistant to the director Food at Makro NV Economist, Secretary of the Board, and Chief Inspector of Records at the FPS Finances Attaché at the FPS Finances Financial Inspector at the FPS Finances General Director of the Flemish Tax Service


General Director of the Flemish Tax Service

Science Fellow VUB Marc Schepers

Faculty Fellowship Coordinator WE Gert Desmet


Marc Schepers


Proximus: Frank Canters

“When I meet former VUB students in my professional life, there is an instant click. We share a common mind set, a common view on society, a firm belief in the value and importance of free thinking and free inquiry. In today’s world this particular mind set and spirit are of the utmost importance, because they form the basis of innovation.”


CEO of CityDepot

After obtaining his Master’s degree in Geography & Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at VUB in 1993, Marc Schepers started his career as a GIS researcher at VUB and KU Leuven. In 1998 he became a senior expert for GIS projects as Business Development Manager at GIM NV. Five years later, his management skills led to his appointment as Senior Product Manager at Tritel NV. During that time, Marc Schepers also worked as a project manager for the Flemish Institute of Mobility for almost three years, where he evaluated and coordinated innovative projects on mobility and technology. In 2010 he played an even bigger role in governmental policy-making, when he was advisor for the city of Hasselt. In 2011 he founded CityDepot, a successful ecological distribution company that, since its beginning, has received a lot of media attention and is continuously looking to expand.


LK Fellows VUB David Steegen Sonia Van Den Broeck

Faculty Fellowship Coordinator LK Eric Cattrysse


David Steegen


Proximus: Jo Van Hoecke

Bio: Press and Promotion Officer at Columbia TriStar Marketing Manager Belgium Polygram Filmed Entertainment Researcher weekly cultural talk show on VRT Communication Manager of the CANAL+ Group Belgium Television host of daily talkshow on VT4 Spokesperson for Minister Guy Vanhengel (Government of Brussels) Content Executive Manager of ‘11’ and RSCA TV (Belgacom TV) General Manager EXQI Sports (Alfacam) Communication & Media Manager at RSC Anderlecht Author (De zomer van Mexico ’86), columnist (Sport/Foot Magazine, Brussel Deze Week), recurrent TV show guest (Studio 1)

Communication and Media Manager & Spokesperson at RSC Anderlecht

“Learning is sharing. Sharing my personal professional experience in content and media management might be an added value for VUB students. Furthermore, my daily experience of the fast evolution of media (and their stakeholders) might help students improve their view on media and communication.”


Sonia Van Den Broeck


Proximus: Jo Van Hoecke

“During and after my academic education, VUB influenced my social vision and perseverance in such a way that even today my alma mater remains relevant for my commitment and result-oriented work ethic. Today, as head of the Subsidisation Department at Bloso, I implement the results of scientific research in the qualitative development of sports and I make use of academic knowledge in the preparation and adjustment of Flemish sports policy.�

Head of Subsidisation at Bloso

Bio: Sonia Van Den Broeck is Head of Subsidisation and acting Head of Promotion at Bloso. Before, she was Secretary-General at different Flemish Gymnastics Federations (ASG, GymFed) and Vice-President of the Flemish Sports Council. She is a member of the Organising Committees of different international gymnastics events.


VUB Fellows Els Ampe Karel De Gucht Pamela Peeters Ajit Baron Shetty Raymonda Verdyck

University Fellowship Coordinator Hugo Thienpont


Els Ampe


Proximi: Marc Noppen and Mark Runacres

Bio: Els Ampe (1979) studied Engineering Sciences at VUB and Integrated Management at ULB. She was active in various student organisations and sat, as a student representative, on the Board of VUB. Els Ampe was elected in the Brussels Parliament in 2004 and in the City Council of the city of Brussels in 2006. Since 2012 she is in charge of the city of Brussels’ Mobility and Public Works, facing the biggest changes in the city’s public space in over a century.

Chairperson at Open VLD Brussels “Where academia meets society, politicians should be in the intersection. This Fellowship gives me the opportunity to further bridge the gap between science and society. This is key in my political work: making sure that new technological possibilities find their way to citizens and improve their wellbeing.”


Karel De Gucht


Proximus: Paul De Knop

“This Fellowship is unique in providing a VUB arena for individuals from all around the world, from every part of society, to express their views, challenge mine, and come together to understand the geostrategic importance of our world. It is my wish to bring Europe into this mix and to translate its political and economic leadership in today’s power struggles.”

Bio: Karel De Gucht was the European Commissioner for Trade during President Barroso’s second Commission, from 2010 until 2014. From 2009 until 2010 he was also European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid. Prior to this, Karel De Gucht held numerous senior political positions in the European, Flemish, and Belgian Parliaments. Karel De Gucht was a member of the Belgian House of Representatives from 2003 until 2009, during which time he held the portfolios of Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Affairs (2004-2009) and Minister for International Trade (2007-2009). From 2008 until 2009 he was Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium. Karel De Gucht is also Professor of European Law at the VUB.


European Commissioner 2010-2014

Pamela Peeters


Proximus: Paul De Knop

Bio: Pamela Peeters grew up on the Belgian countryside. She launched her first environmental magazine, Grab the Green, at the age of 12. Between 2007 and 2008 she prepared a state visit of the Prince of Belgium to India. She identified bilateral trade opportunities in the environmental technology sector. Afterwards, she joined a Brussels PR company where she managed various international accounts. Driven by the desire to dedicate her time to mainstream sustainable development, she moved to the USA in 1999 and completed a research Fellowship at Columbia University. Here she drafted the design of a TV show that promotes sustainable lifestyles. The ‘Our Planet’ TV series launched in 2001. Since then, Pamela Peeters produced and hosted more than 200 episodes. In 2005 she joined the marketing team of the US partnerships for the UNESCO decade of Sustainable Development and launched the Sustainable Planet Film Festival. Her first book, Urban Ecology, was published in 2007. Pamela consults companies on sustainable business development and leadership enhancement.

Owner of Pamela Peeters Productions “It is when academia meets society that the seeds of research and new ideas are tested and implemented. It is then that vision and performance blend into reality. I am therefore extremely grateful to return to my alma mater thanks to this Fellowship. It allows me to contribute a twenty-year-long period of international experience in the field of sustainable development.”


Ajit Baron Shetty


Proximus: Jan Cornelis

“The Fellowship programme provides an excellent platform to address global topics at the intersection of academia, business, government, and society. With a global life sciences background, I look forward to participate in this ongoing dialogue. Sharing experiences with students will better prepare participants in shaping the society of tomorrow.”

Bio: Ajit Shetty was born in Nellore (India). He joined Janssen Pharmaceutica Belgium in 1976, where he held various positions. He was Managing Director from 1999 until 2008 and Chairman of the Board of Directors from 2004 until February 2012, when he retired. He was voted Manager of the Year in 2004 by Trends, Kanaal Z, and the Flemish Management Association. In 2007 Ajit Shetty received the title of Baron for his exceptional merits. In 2008 he was conferred an Honorary doctorate by Manipal University. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in India in February 2010.


Member of the International Investment Committee of VUB’s VC Fund at Janssen Parmaceutica / Johnson & Johnson

Raymonda Verdyck


Proximi: Dimokritos Kavadias and Evert Zinzen

Bio: Raymonda Verdyck holds a Master’s degree in Ethics from Vrije Universiteit Brussel. After her studies, she taught non-confessional ethics for 15 years. In 1994 she became a civil servant at the Department of Youth of the Flemish Government. She became General Administrator at the Educational Centre for Higher and Adult Education (Onderwijsdienstencentrum Hoger en Volwassenenonderwijs) in 2006. After a short interlude at the Tourism office (Toerisme Vlaanderen), Raymonda Verdyck became Managing Director for Community Education in 2008.

Managing Director at the GO! educational network “Academia is the driving force for change in society. Through education and research, academia puts into practice the essential values that we share, driven by the same commitment for a more just world: the promotion of critical viewpoints and free research, the focus on innovation and creativity, the implementation of equal chances.”


Contact Vrije Universiteit Brussel Pleinlaan 2 - 1050 Brussel +32 (0)2 629 11 83

Academia meets Society


VUB Fellows 2015  
VUB Fellows 2015