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The participants of the strategic seminar

How do we futureproof the VUB for 2030? How do we stay relevant in a super connected world? How do we build the organisation that can tackle tomorrow’s challenges? These starting points were topic of discussion at the strategic seminar Vrije Universiteit Brussel held in Ostend on February 16th and 17th.


A diverse group of policy staffers, student representatives, board members, deans and vice rectors (photo) addressed these issues.


The different topics were introduced by external experts: Dirk Van Damme, head of the Innovation & Measuring Progress Division of OECD, Sihame El Kaouakibi, alumna and founder of Let’s Go Urban, Elke Van Hoof, professor Medical and Health Psychology at VUB and guest lecturer at Vlerick Business School and Luc Soete, former rector Maastricht University. They provided the outside perspective.  


To be or not to be in 2030

After two animated and inspiring days the lasting impression was that all involved wanted to commit to building a relevant and connected VUB together. To the question and theme of the seminar ‘To be or not to be in 2030…’ the group sees more possibilities than problems. At the same time everyone agreed the future needs to taken on head first now. All present pledged to continue thinking about the future course of the university in their own departments. Furthermore this process of cocreation is an invitation to all at VUB to further shape the building blocks described below.


Ideas wanted 

Over the next days all sections of VUB will be invited to present ideas to realise the foundations below. All of those ideas will be studied and included in a Future Plan 2018-2021: a general strategic plan 3. The discussion will continue in the various governing bodies of VUB and later this year the Board of Directors and the University Council will vote on the final proposals. The goal is for the new strategic plan to go into effect early 2018.  


Building blocks 

The foundations for the third general strategic plan are:

  • A warm VUB

We focus on trust, respect ànd engagement for the joint VUB project. This means a withdrawal from too formal and legalistic an organisational model. We heed the call for more informal contacts. HR and infrastructure are important tools to accomplish this. We want to tap into the VUB potential much more. Through a VUB Academy we learn more from each other.  


  • A connected VUB

The Brussels’ component is an important element of internal and external cohesion. At the same time this is not the only element. The diversity of society must be anchored more and better into the operation of VUB. Intense cooperation with organisations, schools and individuals that build upon the same values as VUB must be made concrete.  


  • A learning VUB

In order to keep our education concept up to speed with the 21st century the commitment of those who learn is essential. Digital, diverse, international, sustainable and participative are recurring keywords that must lead to broad and specialised bachelor programs and better access to the university. Other teaching forms such as hackatons must take shape.


  • An open VUB

A connected world facilitates the link between research budgets and economic growth. Open data, open science, interdisciplinary research that makes a difference in an ethical humanistic context is the challenge. In-depth excellence, broad relevance.