With weKONEKT.brussels, the universities take their responsibility for the city and community, and contribute to the development of a free, connected, resilient and inclusive urban community. The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) offer their students opportunities to develop into independent and engaged individuals, critical global citizens and social leaders of the future. Hereby using Brussels as a lecture hall and a workplace, connecting the students with Brussels stakeholders and the professional field. They strengthen the Brussels community by organizing education and research on, with, in and for Brussels and by putting the scientific expertise and knowledge of our students, teachers and researchers at the service of the city.
The different actors, organisations and institutions in Brussels have a lot to offer each other. For a scientist or artist, the big city is a dream lab, an ideal learning place for students, and a particularly interesting test bed for companies. Institutions of higher education are a major added value for the city. They are an important source of employment, they guarantee the continuous influx of young and new talent, they have scientific expertise that is crucial for the innovation and transformation of city and society.
“By bringing together the next generation of citizens, groundbreaking researchers in various fields and a significant proportion of Brussels employees, our universities can and want to play a key role in the further development of the Brussels-Capital Region.” – Caroline Pauwels, rector VUB & Yvon Englert, rector ULB
The universities function as key players in the social and economic development of Brussels. In the 2019 VUB-ULB Memorandum the VUB and ULB take on some key issues to strengthen the role of both universities. With this they focus on 4 topics
- Research and innovation
- Schooling, education and student life
- Universities in the city network
- On the road to sustainability
More information on the specific cooperation between ULB and VUB can be found here.
Study with Brussels
Our Brussels City Campus has different hubs in Brussels, where the two university communities organize classes, debates and symposiums. The base is the central location at BOZAR. The classroom has a capacity of 99 people and is available free of charge throughout the year. Through the Brussels City Campus both universities create new synergies with a variety of partners. An overview of the institutions that make weKONEKT.brussels and the City Campus possible can be found here. You can reserve the Brussels City Campus via the registration form.
The VUB is developing an educational program with a prominent focus on Community Based Learning. Community Based Learning is experience oriented education that connects the academic side with community engagement. Quality education as catalyst community engagement, sense of responsibility and personal growth. In short, education in line with the humane, community and educational vision of the VUB. For more information, visit the website of UNIVER.CITY
“During off campus activities, students discover the urban space. It is more than teaching on location. The challenge lies with the teacher who, with the partner and students, seeks synergies between learning content and (urban) ‘reality’. Students discover the common denominator between theory and practice “ – Free De Backer, VUB Professor
The Brussels Academy is an urban and citizen university. It is the meeting point for everyone who is interested in Brussels and wants to know more about the city. In this context, a number of professors and urban experts share their knowledge of Brussels with civil society. In order to achieve this, a wide range of activities are organized: courses, seminars, tours and visits, master classes, conferences, sessions on demand, consultancy, quick audit… Interested? Check out the website of Brussels Academy.
Arts & Science
Arts and science both stem from critical thinking. They both want to understand the world as it is, but also wants to shape the world. Artists and scientists go through a similar process but from a radically different frame of reference. The arts & science aspect of weKONEKT.brussels wants to bridge the gap between the different disciplines. VUB and ULB wants to collaborate more intensively with the internationally esteemed art scène in Brussels.
“We, KVS and VUB, two institutions in Brussels that carry research, education, theatre and culture in the broadest sense of the word at the heart of our mission, want to take on the most active role in this. It is necessary for academics and artists to loudly, firmly and passionately, intervene in the public debate. (…) Today, more than ever, we believe, this is the social role that a university and a theatre must play.“ – Michael De Cock, Artistic Director KVS
What those collaborations will look like? That’s an open-ended question. Will it shake up the current mental framework of participants? Absolutely! Participants are not just students and/or academics. Arts & science wants to share the results of the collaboration between artists and scientists with a broad and diverse audience.
Mindblowers Difference Day PILAR STAL Homo Roboticus …
The Science Outreach Office brings science from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Erasmushogeschool Brussel to the general public. Their work is suited within a science outreach task, assigned by the government to all university associations.
De Wetenschapswinkel offers support to non-profit organizations through scientific research conducted by students in the context of a (final) project. The students answer the research question in collaboration with the organization and under the supervision of an experienced researcher.
The POINcaré think tank is a collaboration of a variety of researchers. What connects and drives them is that they are inspired by the values of our university, have an eye for what is at stake in society today. Multidisciplinary teams look for solutions to social challenges based on the humanistic values of the VUB: the principles of freedom, equality, and connectedness. Meanwhile, Poincaré gave shape to two projects. The first, based on the humane city. The second, on the social consequences of robotization called Homo Roboticus.
From 1 until 5 April 2019 VUB, ULB and EhB collectively went off campus with over 6000 students, academics and staff. The program includes 150 (teaching) activities. Students from all faculties got (guest)lectures about current and future challenges. More than 90 companies, cultural institutions, government institutions, hospitals, courts, sports clubs, museums, public welfare centers, non-profit organizations, media and international institutions have joined forces to make the movement possible. The weKONEKT.week is a short and powerful initiative to underline that weKONEKT.brussels is a personal and a collective journey. Want to know more? Check out the entire weKONEKT.week 2019 report and programme.
weKONEKT.brussels is made possible thanks to the support of the Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie (Onderwijs en Vorming).
Lynn Tytgat – Coordinator weKONEKT.brussels | Office of the Rector
Linde Moriau – Project Coordinator UNIVER.CITY
Hélène Fréché – Operations Officer ULB|VUB
Elke Teck – Brussels City Campus and Operations Officer ULB|VUB