Caroline Pauwels the only candidate in election for a new rector for Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Caroline Pauwels the only candidate in election for a new rector for Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Rector Caroline Pauwels is the only candidate in the upcoming election for a new rector of Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Her term is up at the end of this academic year. Her key priorities are governance, leadership, infrastructure and people.

During her second term, Caroline Pauwels wants to position the VUB as a radically humanistic, radically sustainable and radically digital university. Her key priorities are simplified administration, good governance and socially responsible and enterprising leadership.

Caroline Pauwels wants to continue to develop the VUB as a research-driven educational institution, with a pioneering approach, by making smart choices and setting the right priorities. She wants to accomplish this while keeping the Sustainable Development Goals in mind.

Pauwels also wants to focus on guiding the VUB towards the future premier league of European universities. The VUB is already a member of the European EUTOPIA university network. Another important ambition is to continue positioning the VUB as a knowledge and research centre for artificial intelligence. The university is widely regarded as an international, ground-breaking pioneer in this field. The VUB AI Experience Center recently welcomed Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission.  The VUB has partnered with the ULB, to work towards establishing a European centre for Artificial Intelligence for the common good in the capital of Belgium and Europe.

‘The European and international academic landscape is undergoing a sea change. The VUB must position itself very clearly on this landscape, as a Flemish pioneering university in the multicultural city of Brussels, with European roots and an international orientation. We connect with the rest of the world from the centre of Europe.’

Caroline Pauwels also wants to implement an ethically-responsible internationalisation policy. Education at the VUB must be research-driven, innovative and future-oriented.

‘We are continuing to build a research-driven education institution with a pioneering approach, by making smart choices and setting the right priorities.’

The rector was recently elected Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Professional of the year. Every year, she also organises Difference Day, on the same day as World Press Freedom Day. She also took the initiative for weKONEKT, the project with which universities in Brussels strengthen their ties with the city.


The election commences on 20 April 2020

The official procedure for the nominations for the election of a new rector commenced in mid-January. Full professors and visiting professors who are permanently employed by Vrije Universiteit Brussel on a full-time basis had until 27 February 2020 to put themselves forward as a candidate.

The election kicks off on 20 April and runs until 4 May. All academic personnel, academic-technical personnel and the students may vote in this election. The staff of University Hospital Brussels will also cast its vote. The results will be announced on 5 May.

The rector’s four-year mandate commences at the beginning of the academic year in September and is renewable once-only. A victory would mean that this is Caroline Pauwels’s second and last mandate.

More information:

Please contact the VUB’s spokesperson for more information or an interview with Caroline Pauwels.

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Sicco Wittermans
Sicco Wittermans Spokesperson Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Sicco Wittermans
Sicco Wittermans Spokesperson Vrije Universiteit Brussel
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Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society.

The World Needs You

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel assumes its scientific and social responsibility with love and decisiveness. That’s why VUB launched the platform De Wereld Heeft Je Nodig – The World Needs You, which brings together ideas, actions and projects based on six Ps. The first P stands for People, because that’s what it’s all about: giving people equal opportunities, prosperity, welfare, respect. Peace is about fighting injustice, big and small, in the world. Prosperity combats poverty and inequality. Planet stands for actions on biodiversity, climate, air quality, animal rights... With Partnership, VUB is looking for joint actions to make the world a better place. The sixth and last P is for Poincaré, the French philosopher Henri Poincaré, from whom VUB derives its motto that thinking should submit to nothing except the facts themselves. VUB is an ‘urban engaged university’, strongly anchored in Brussels and Europe and working according to the principles of free research.


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