Jan Danckaert and Dirk Devroey aiming to be new rector of VUB

Jan Danckaert and Dirk Devroey aiming to be new rector of VUB

Two candidates to succeed Caroline Pauwels

Jan Danckaert and Dirk Devroey have put themselves forward to become the new rector of VUB. Jan Danckaert is professor of physics, vice-rector for Education and Student Policy and the current rector ad interim. Dirk Devroey is professor of general medicine and dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy.

VUB’s rector elections were brought forward by two years after Caroline Pauwels was forced to step down from the position due to illness at the end of February. The new rector will start his four-year term at the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year.

Jan Danckaert

Jan Danckaert (° 6 juli 1964) studied physics at UAntwerp. He then became an assistant in VUB’s Engineering Department and in 1992 obtained a PhD in non-linear optics.

After a period as a postdoctoral researcher at the FWO, in 2005 he became a full-time professor at VUB, where he now teaches introductory courses in physics. He heads some 15 researchers in the interdisciplinary research group Applied Physics (APHY), which studies complex systems in various fields of science and technology. He has contributed to 24 successful PhDs. Many of those people now hold leading positions in Belgium and abroad.

He has also remained committed to policy (cabinet member for science policy, Focus Research, Onderzoekers in Actie and ACOD-ABVV).

As vice-rector, he successfully guided VUB through the institutional review during the pandemic. The international panel of experts spoke very highly of VUB and of its positioning as an urban engaged university.

Jan Danckaert: “Based on our values, and with the entire VUB community, I want our university to continue to flourish as a complex environment, with focus on scientific freedom, social impact and administrative simplification.”


Dirk Devroey

Dirk Devroey (° 9 november 1963) studied medicine at VUB and then worked for 10 years for the Scientific Institute of Public Health (now Sciensano) and MSD. In 2004 he obtained his doctorate in cardiovascular prevention at VUB. A year later, he became a professor and then chair of the Department of General Medicine.

In 2006, he became chair of the training council of the Interuniversity Centre for the Training of General Practitioners and from 2010 to 2020 he was chair of the organisation’s executive committee.

His research focuses on cardiovascular prevention and integrated care. He secured projects from WHO, EU, KCE and Innoviris.

Between 2014 and 2018, he was an advisor to the cabinet of health minister Maggie De Block. He is a member of the High Council of Medical Specialists and General Practitioners. Since 2000, he has been a member of the Faculty Council of Medicine and Pharmacy, where he was elected dean in 2020. In addition, he sits on the board of the UZ Brussel, the academic council and the university council of VUB.

Dirk Devroey: “Efficient internal operations and an updated social identity must be the driving force behind a university where all students, professors and staff can develop their talents.”


Voting from 6 June

From Monday 6 June until Monday 20 June, those entitled to vote can do so electronically. As in 2016 and 2020, all staff members of VUB and UZ Brussel and all VUB students can participate in the election. The winner of will be announced on Tuesday 21 June. If there is no winner, a second round will follow.

More information about the election.

Contact the VUB press office for interview requests.

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Sicco Wittermans
Sicco Wittermans Spokesperson Vrije Universiteit Brussel
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