Caroline Pauwels re-elected as VUB rector with overwhelming majority

Caroline Pauwels re-elected as VUB rector with overwhelming majority


Caroline Pauwels has been re-elected as rector of VUB with 91% of the vote. The chair of the election commission, Miguel De Jonckheere, announced the results today at 11.00. To celebrate her re-election, the VUB community will be treated to an exclusive concert by the Brussels-based West Flemish rapper Brihang, of whom Pauwels is a fan.

To be elected, she had to gain the majority of votes on the two VUB campuses in Etterbeek and Jette. For the second time since VUB was established, that majority had to be obtained at all levels of the organisation. The predetermined quorums were easily achieved: of the independent academic staff 81% voted, of the other academic staff 54%, of the administrative and technical staff 71%, of UZ Brussel staff 22% and of the students 26%. This demonstrates a very broad support base in the VUB community to start a second mandate in September.

“This clear mandate of trust in my policy plans from the entire VUB community motivates me more than ever to continue to build on the growth of VUB as a research-driven educational institution in our diverse Brussels, with a strong European and international grounding. I am also very grateful to all the VUBers who cast their votes for continuing to show their great commitment to VUB during this corona period by participating in the virtual voting and online debates,” said a happy Caroline Pauwels.

The success of her re-election shows that the policy compass of the past four years is pointing in the right direction, she believes, and she promises to build on the choices that characterised her previous term. The course of her first policy plan of 2016 and of the General Strategic Plan 2030 based on it will be maintained. She is reinforcing the principles of the past four years – radically humanist, digital, democratic, diversified and sustainable – with three new priorities.

“During my next term in office, I will focus more on building a solid framework to make our growth prosper, based on governance, leadership, infrastructure and people. VUB must continue to grow without sacrificing quality and individuality. Furthermore, I will continue to invest vigorously in VUB as a research-driven educational institution with a pioneering approach, by making smart choices and setting the right priorities. By joining forces and collaborating, we create space for fundamental, applied and translational research. Innovation and research strengths should further help us to make the right strategic choices. Finally, more than ever, we are setting course for ‘horizon Europe’. The European and international academic landscape is undergoing major changes and VUB must clearly position itself in this, as a pioneering Flemish university in multicultural Brussels, with a strong European grounding – such as in our EUTOPIA network – and international orientation. From the centre of Europe we want to continue to connect with the world,” she concludes.

The VUB rector’s mandate starts at the beginning of the next academic year in September, lasts four years and is renewable once. For Caroline Pauwels, this is therefore her second and final term of office.

More information about the policy plan via and the integral policy plan via

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Sicco Wittermans
Sicco Wittermans Spokesperson and press officer Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Sicco Wittermans
Sicco Wittermans Spokesperson and press officer Vrije Universiteit Brussel
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