VUB welcomes 23 new Fellows for 2023

VUB welcomes 23 new Fellows for 2023

10 years of VUB Fellowship network, 10 years of building bridges between university and society

Wednesday 14 June 2023 – On Tuesday, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) presented its 23 VUB Fellows for 2023 during an official ceremony. The 2020 and 2021 Fellows were also celebrated, as the pandemic meant they had not yet had official recognition. VUB Fellows are business leaders, policymakers, executives, journalists and other socially significant individuals who will share their expertise for at least three years with the university, its eight faculties and its hospital. Drawing on their expertise, experience and network, the VUB Fellows are engaged by the university and UZ Brussel to bring academia and society closer together.

This year, 23 inspiring people will receive the title of VUB Fellow. Among them are a number of notable names, such as Kathy Lindekens (Flemish presenter and journalist), Koen Pelleriaux (general manager GO!), Lotte Vermeir (network manager Één and Canvas), Marc Michils (general director Kom Op Tegen Kanker) and Tom Naegels (author).

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As VUB ambassadors, they will share our philosophy in their professional life and society over the next three years. At the same time, they will inspire students and researchers, including through internships and guest lectures, thus bridging the gap between university and society. The encounters and knowledge exchange created thanks to the Fellowship ensure that innovative ideas can be realised in education, scientific research and entrepreneurship.

Connecting academia and society

VUB began appointing Fellows in 2012 under the motto “Connecting academia and society”, to build connections between university and society. Ten years later, the VUB Fellowship network, including the 23 new Fellows, is made up of 245 leading socially significant individuals. Using their professional experience, these personalities and experts can inspire our academics and students with ideas and initiatives, so we can do better in our jobs, our lives, the world.

Ten years of Fellowship equals 10 years of impact. Impact that our university has been able to create thanks to and together with the Fellowship network. Impact that continues to grow with the network. They are dedicated experts and leaders in their field – all thought leaders too – who selflessly dedicate themselves to our university and our university hospital, the UZ Brussel,” says vice-rector for Innovation and Valorisation and University Fellowship Coordinator Hugo Thienpont on the important role of VUB Fellows. “That allows us to continue to develop as a relevant and forward-looking university that meets society’s needs with its research, its teaching and its commitment.”
“Our world is in transition. For that transition to work, we need to come up with solutions with as many wise people around the world as possible. This is precisely why the connection between university and society is so important,” adds VUB rector Jan Danckaert. “As mission-driven scientists, we’re focused on the world that needs us. So our scientific research will be even more at the service of people and humanity. ​ This requires continuous interaction with policy, industry, business, civil society, the social and cultural world, education – in short, with all the fields in which our Fellows are active. Thanks to them, the university becomes stronger, wiser and more deeply rooted in society.”

VUB Fellows 2023


· ​ ​ ​ Tom Naegels, author

· ​ ​ ​ Willem Bongers-Dek, director DeBuren


· ​ ​ ​ Dirk Roosendans, head of Process Safety Expertise & Integrity Management at Total

· ​ ​ ​ Simon De Boeck, mayor CD&V Gooik


· ​ ​ ​ Koen Pelleriaux, managing director GO!


· ​ ​ ​ Axel Desmedt, board member of the BIPT (Belgian Institute of Postal Services and Telecommunications)

· ​ ​ ​ Olivier Slosse, chief constable, police zone Brussel-Noord

· ​ ​ ​ Tania Dekens, senior official Iriscare


· ​ ​ ​ Kathy Lindekens, Flemish journalist and presenter


· ​ ​ ​ Eric Michiels, executive architect IBM Belgium

· ​ ​ ​ Roel Van der Meulen, business unit manager patisserie at Vandemoortele


· ​ ​ ​ Aurianne Lambert, manager Climate & Sustainability at Deloitte Belgium

· ​ ​ ​ Bruno Humblet, CEO Deceuninck

· ​ ​ ​ Lotte Vermeir, Network manager één and Canvas

· ​ ​ ​ Ruth Devenyns, CEO Precirix

· ​ ​ ​ Steven Engels, Deputy Head Cohesion, Economic and Social Policy, European Commission

UMC (university medical campus) FELLOWS

· ​ ​ ​ Brieuc Vandamme, CEO King Baudouin Foundation

· ​ ​ ​ Marc Michils, general director Kom op Tegen Kanker


· ​ ​ ​ Akira Hiruma, CEO Hamamatsu Photonics KK

· ​ ​ ​ Ilse Ooghe, general director RVO Society

· ​ ​ ​ Koen Vermout, CEO of AZTEQ

· ​ ​ ​ Stefaan Verhulst, co-founder GovLab & Data Tank

· ​ ​ ​ Ingrid De Jonghe, founder TEJO

More information

Nathalie Vlaemynck
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