VUB and ULB building Learning & Innovation Center


Brussels’ two free universities are collaborating on a new innovation centre that will unite their science libraries – and their students

Meeting in the middle

The free universities of Brussels – Dutch-speaking VUB and French-speaking ULB – have presented their concept of the Learning & Innovation Center (LIC). The LIC will house the science libraries of both institutions as well as serve as a new innovation centre.

Scheduled to open in 2022, LIC will be located at the border of the universities’ separate campuses in Etterbeek – thus also literally linking them.

The universities are planning a diverse learning environment, where ICT applications will be available to students and researchers. There will be spaces for study and for experiments, from quiet rooms to large spaces for projects and hackathons, all equipped with innovative technology.

The project is partly in response to the trend of students to study together in university buildings rather than alone in their rooms. The organisers also want to encourage more collaboration between the universities’ researchers.

We are building bridges, but also developing technology for innovations in the education system,” said VUB rector Caroline Pauwels. “We cannot fall behind.” The building will also be another asset in attracting international students to Brussels, she said.

The nearly 10,000 square-metre building will hold up to 1,000 people. Construction is scheduled to start at the end of 2020. Beliris, the renovation and building agency that unites the federal and Brussels region governments, will provide €22.4 million for the project.

Image courtesy Ney+Partners