Vrije Universiteit Brussel - Belgium

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) is a competitive, high-quality, socially committed and internationally oriented university located in Brussels, Belgium. It counts 4 campuses in Brussels, 8 faculties and 193 research groups around 9 strategic research clusters: 1) big data, 2) brain & behaviour, 3) city dynamics, 4) environmental issues, 5) fighting diseases, 6) small particles, 7) smart engineering, 8) societal challenges, and 9) the circle of life. In 2018, VUB ranked #47 in Reuters’ Most Innovative Universities Top 100 in Europe, it has 127 active patent families and disclosed 40 inventions. VUB counts more than 3300 employees (47% female), of which >2200 academic staff.

VUB accommodates 3 doctoral schools (Human Sciences, Natural Sciences and (Bioscience) Engineering, and Life Sciences and Medicine) that cater to the needs of its more than 1,600 PhD students (2017: 1,677). Additionally, the university provides high-quality education in all academic fields to more than 16,000 BA and MA students (2017: 16,094). VUB is an active participant in European R&I projects, Horizon 2020 in particular. There are currently about 120 running R&I projects at VUB in all strategic research clusters, and the budget acquired from European funding sources doubled from €6 million to €14 million between 2014 and 2018. The increase mainly demonstrates VUB’s commitment to promoting European R&I, as well as its internationally renowned position as centre of knowledge in the capital of Europe.

VUB’s Artificial Intelligence Lab was founded in 1983 by Luc Steels and was the first AI Lab in Europe. Under the leadership of Prof. Ann Nowé, it counts 60 researchers including 11 professors. Since its creation, the AI Lab has successfully delivered more than 50 doctoral dissertations of which 13 in the last 5 years. The lab has a publication record of more than 850 publications at major conferences such as ICML, IJCAI, AAAI, ECAI, SAT, CP, and high impact journals such as AIJ, JMLR, JAAMAS, ACM TOCL, TPLP. Throughout our history, we have built an extended international AI network, for example through membership and participation in CLAIRE, EurAI, AI4EU among many others. It has a solid track record in fundamental as well as applied research, both on the European level (7 EU projects in the last 5 years) and the national level.

Recently, the lab opened its AI Experience Center, a high-tech test, demonstration and meeting environment where companies, tech entrepreneurs, researchers, policy makers and the general public can experiment with AI and collaborate to develop and produce technological solutions. It is developed together with both industry and research partners such as IMEC, the internationally leading institute for digital innovation.