UGent rector is new chair of Cesaer education lobbying network


Rik Van de Walle has been elected for a two-year term as head of the organisation that lobbies on behalf of university science and technology departments

21st-century challenges

Ghent University rector Rik Van de Walle (pictured) has been elected as the new chair of the board of Cesaer, the European network that lobbies on behalf of 50 universities in the areas of science and technology. Cesaer directly influences EU policy on higher education, research and innovation.

“This post gives Ghent University more exposure among policymakers and educational institutions in Europe,” says Van de Walle. “It allows us to get certain education and research priorities on the European agenda, priorities that are important to UGent and to other members of Cesaer.”

Van de Walle specifically pointed to 21st-century challenges such as the climate crisis and security. “Sustainability – economic, ecological and social – is one of the three themes that are a priority for me,” he says. “Research, education and innovation all play key roles in the systematic changes that need to occur in order to reach the UN’s sustainability goals.”

Another priority for Van de Walle is the co-operation between the so-called hard sciences such as physics and life science and the social sciences. His third priority is on new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology and quantum technology, and their impact on society.

Van de Walle’ term as chair of Cesaer lasts for two years, starting on 1 January.

Photo courtesy Cesaer