Three make Forbes ’30 under 30’ list of most promising in their fields


Filmmaker Lukas Dhont and two Flemish scientists have made Forbes prestigious ‘30 under 30’ list of top young European professionals

‘So much to learn from each other’

Two Flemish scientists and one filmmaker have made Forbes magazine’s “30 under 30” list for Europe. The annual list highlights the young people with the greatest potential in a variety of disciplines, from arts and entertainment to media and science.

Hasselt University post-doctoral student Hannelore Bové has been included in the science & health care category for her research into air quality. During her PhD research “she developed two patented pieces of tech that can quantify the amount soot particulates that sneak into the human body by testing blood or urine samples,” writes Forbes, “meaning that air pollution exposure can now be described on a very personal level.”

Inclusion on the list “is a real honour for me,” says Bové. “It is recognition for the hard work this research group has carried out over the last few years. And it is also of course a unique chance to come into contact with other nominated young researchers. I am sure that we have so much to learn from each other.”

‘Guinea pig’

In the same category is Angelique Van Ombergen, who recently also won the Flemish PhD Cup for her research into space travel’s effect on the brain. She studies, writes Forbes, “how human bodies handle spaceflight, and even how they might live on other planets, from researching how the astronauts’ brains change during spaceflight to being a guinea pig herself, living in a Mars-like habitat here on Earth.”

Van Ombergen just started in the post of science co-ordinator at the European Space Agency’s human research programme. The programme is part of ESA’s Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands.

Finally, in the entertainment category is a name everyone living in Belgium has become familiar with over the last several months: Lukas Dhont, the director of the ground-breaking film Girl. The winner of many international awards and nominated for a Golden Globe, the film recounts the story of a transgendered teenager studying to become a ballerina.

Photos, from left: ESA researcher Angelique Van Ombergen, bioengineer Hannelore Bové and film director Lukas Dhont