Inspirational Speakers

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Mohammad Meraj Alam

Mohammad Meraj Alam, PhD is the co-inventor and co-promotor of FlexThor in VITO/Energyville. He has done his PhD in Electrical Engineering from University of Port as a Marie Curie fellow. He has more than 7 years of experience in renewable energy technologies and a passionate entrepreneur. He was the founder of RoofSolar, an idea that came out of EIT Climate Launchpad in 2017.

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Julie Berckmans

Julie Berckmans is researcher in the Climate Service team that is part of VITO’s environmental modelling unit. She obtained her PhD in Climatology at the Royal Meteorological Institute and the University of Antwerp. She is strongly engaged in the Copernicus Climate Change Service programme, where she developed expertise in tailoring climate information to specific sectorial needs.

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Kristel Boonen

KriBoonen is business developer for Smart Energy in the built environment at VITO/EnergyVille, a collaboration between the Flemish research partners VITO, KU Leuven, imec and UHasselt in the field of sustainable energy and intelligent energy systems. She plays an active role in promoting the transition to a sustainable and circular built environment with market ready technologies.

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Hans Bruyninckx

Hans Bruyninckx is the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, taking office on 1 June, 2013. He was born in Schoten, Belgium in 1964. Dr Bruyninckx studied undergraduate and master’s degrees in political science specialising in international relations at Antwerp University and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. He also completed an additional programme in development studies at Université Catholique de Louvain.

He completed a PhD degree in 1996 at Colorado State University on the topic of international environmental politics, subsequently teaching at several other universities in the United States and Europe, including Colorado State University, Canisius College and Wageningen University.

From 2010 until his appointment at the EEA, he was head of the HIVA Research Institute in Leuven, Belgium, a policy-oriented research institute associated with the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, where he was also head of the Political Science department from 2007 to 2010. Dr Bruyninckx has also been a senior member of the interdisciplinary Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and promoter-coordinator of the Flemish Policy Research Centre on Transitions for Sustainable Development (TRADO).

Over the last 20 years, he has conducted and managed policy-oriented research in the areas of environmental politics, climate change, and sustainable development. He was responsible for research in the domains of policy evaluation, monitoring and reporting, methodology development, environmental policy integration, and more recently also on long-term transition policies. His experience pertains to the level of the regions (Flanders in a comparative European perspective), the EU Member States, the EU level, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and processes of global environmental governance (climate change in particular).

His academic expertise lies primarily in the field of European and international environmental policy, studying the effects of globalisation on the global governance of environmental issues and sustainable development. From this perspective he has also studied global production and consumption systems, as well as issues relating to distribution and justice. He has taught courses on the topics of global environmental politics and global environmental governance in relation to the European Union (EU), publishing extensively on EU environmental policies and its role as an actor in global environmental governance.

Dr Bruyninckx was involved in numerous policy processes as an advisory board member, involved in steering groups of government agencies, and as academic policy advisor to governmental agencies and other key actors. In addition, he has worked intensely with civil society and business actors, in support of public-private initiatives or private regulatory approaches to environmental, climate change and sustainability issues. Furthermore, he was president of the board of Bond Beter Leefmilieu (The Association for a Better Environment), a Flemish umbrella organisation bringing together many different environmental groups.

Dr Bruyninckx speaks fluent English, French and German in addition to his native Flemish. During his career he has conducted research in more than a dozen different countries. He is a keen sailor as well as an outdoor and sports enthusiast.

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Metin Bulut

Metin Bulut is an expert in the field of catalysis and started his career in the petrochemical industry. He joined VITO in 2010 where he was involved in several research projects related to process intensification. Next to technological expertise, Metin has relevant experience in market analysis, techno-economic analysis and technology benchmark for sustainable chemistry applications. Since 2014, he is active as business development manager.

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Jeroen Büscher

Jeroen Büscher is leading the VITO team working in the field of electrical storage. Together with that team Jeroen is focused on the development of technologies and services to make safer, more reliable and more performant batteries that support sustainable mobile and stationary applications. Since 2011, he has been coordinating and participating in several projects within Europe on electrical storage, e-mobility and smart grids. He is also representing VITO/EnergyVille in European collaboration efforts on battery development like the European Battery Alliance and the ETIP Batteries Europe.

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Ann De Bie (Moderator)

Ann De Bie is a senior journalist for VRT NWS, the newsdesk of Belgium’s Dutch speaking public broadcaster. Mostly she works for the TV-news, but she also writes articles for the newssite and occasionally she works for the radionews. She has a wide experience, from political and cultural coverage to recently climate-related issues. Ann is a historian, speaks English, French, Spanish and Dutch. 

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Jurgen Decloedt

Jurgen Decloedt is business developer within VITO’s Remote Sensing Unit, responsible for the valorization of the research expertise, products and services towards the industry.  He leads from a commercial perspective several projects that have a focus on digitizing agriculture, ranging from drone based phenotyping on small scale fields  to satellite based solutions monitoring large production fields.

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Patrick De Boever

Patrick De Boever works as project manager in the VITO unit Sustainable Health. He is responsible for the research team that uses data science and artificial intelligence for (bio)medical applications, especially in the field of ophthalmology.
He is also appointed as professor at Hasselt University. Patrick De Boever was granted the degree of bio-engineer at Ghent University and he obtained a PhD degree at that same university.
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Erik De Schutter

Erik De Schutter is your guide to ‘heat and cold’ energy technology and state-of-the-art ready-to-use energy research. With his background in information technology, he coordinates and drives the deployment of EnergyVille’s sustainable intelligent heating solutions across Europe for district heating, thermal storage and conversion.

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Marc Lor

Since March 2019, Marc Lor is Managing Director at Servaco Product Testing. He studied chemistry at the Catholic University of Leuven and obtained a PhD degree in Sciences (Chemistry) at that same university. During his professional career he has worked at Belgian Building Research Institute (BBRI) in the domains of health and safety aspects of building materials and sustainable construction and at VITO in the domain of indoor air quality and product emissions testing.  Marc is appointed as Belgian expert in the field of dangerous substances in several technical committees and working groups at CEN, EOTA and European Commission level.  He is also the convenor of the Belgian mirror committee of CEN/TC 351 and active as a technological consultant in the domain of health and safety aspects of (building) materials.

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Inge Mertens

Inge Mertens, PhD, is coordinator of the Centre for Proteomics and co-promotor of the EU-7FP Biomargin project, that funded the initial discovery phase of the biomarkers.

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Koen Meuleman

Koen is co-founder and CFO of Unifly, a company providing world leading Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM)solutions and active in the world of drones since many years.  He has a background in bio-science engineering and worked for more then 15 year as a remote sensing expert. As former president of the Belgian drone association (BeUAS) he was closely involved in the implementation of the Belgian drone legislation and still actively involved in several EU expert groups on drones. 

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Wim Michiels

Proviron Holding, family owned producer en marketer of niche additives and ingredients for plastics, CASE, pharma, animal health, automotive, aviation, construction …

The holding had 2 plants in Belgium, 1 in the USA and a sales office in China. They employ 240 people, have a turnover of €75 M, export to 500 customers in 100 countries, and have a EBITDA of €10 M.

Curriculum vitae:

  • 2000-2002: product manager: implementation of a broad customer oriented service model into a Business-to-Business world.
  • 2002-2005: business director: streamlining sales, marketing, product development and supply chain.
  • 2005- today: managing director and board member: meeting interesting independent board members.
  • 2007- today: CEO: managing Proviron through crisis years, transition from process development to product development, streamlining the product portfolio: less turnover and people to achieve higher absolute margin
    product development and marketing ready to expand sound sales.
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Luc Plancke

Luc Plancke is Business/venture manager for the EPD activities within the VITO Sustainable Built Environment team and has a vast experience in the Environmental Product Declarations from an industry perspective. He’s eager to advise you with tailor fit EPD solutions for your business activities and market coverage that empowers you to contribute to the sustainable built environment. 

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Bruno Reyntjens

Since June 2017, Bruno Reyntjens has been Commercial Director at VITO. He graduated as bioscience engineer from the University of Ghent. Bruno has followed a versatile, professional path in technical commercial sectors: business development, business management, product management and product development. From Belgium, he has always worked in strongly internationally oriented positions amongst others on the functionality of gluten protein at the R&D lab of Amylum in Aalst, on fine chemistry and biofuels at Proviron in Hemiksem and Ostend and on technical polyurethane foams for different niche applications at Recticel in Wetteren. At VITO, Bruno is focused on the transformation of a strongly research driven organization towards an excellent and more valorization driven research organization that answers to the innovation needs of companies and governments. Bruno also coordinates the international activities for VITO.

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Martin Slooijer

Martin has a background in Environmental Engineering, and has been active in environmental contracting on the international market for over 20 years. Started as project manager, later as manager of the international department of a leading soil and groundwater remediation company. As manager he was responsible for the international business development, as well as the implementation of the international projects, successfully implementing projects in over 20 countries from Europe to Asia and North and South America. In 2016 Martin founded with private investors the GreenSoil Group, specialised in biological remediation projects, by now conducting such projects in over 12 countries, in Europe, South America and Africa. GreenSoil is investing in development of new technologies in bioremediation and for this is working with different partners amongst which VITO.

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Frans Snijkers

Frans graduated from KU Leuven with a master's degree in the sciences, majoring in chemistry. At Philips, he was responsible for managing a number of different R&D projects and developing technology for advanced display concepts. In 2001, he began working as Project Manager of the Ceramic Materials and Powder Metallurgy group at VITO. Within Cleantech Flanders, he is responsible for SCALE-UP, where he analyses the cleantech requirements of large companies and connects suitable innovative SMEs on an international level. With GIST, he helps new cleantech companies in the manufacturing industry cross the 'Valley of Death' whilst focusing on investment potential. Within Northern Connections, he is setting up Living Labs for renewable energy, together with 21 partners.

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Carolin Spirinckx

Carolin Spirinckx is activity leader of the team developing sustainability solutions within the built environment, coordinator of several EU projects, and plays an active role in several arenas promoting the transition to a sustainable and circular built environment

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Dirk Vangeneugden

Dirk Vangeneugden is project and business developer at VITO in the fields of sustainable materials and chemistry. He is strongly engaged in national and international R&D projects on chemical catalysis and sorption, lightweight composites and future generation batteries. Fields of expertise include 3D printing, surface engineering and coating as well as CO2 capture and conversion. He is inventor on over 15 patent applications and has great interest in management of intellectual property rights. He is actively involved in technology transfers to industry and supporting spin-off initiatives.

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Dirk Vanhoudt

Dirk Vanhoudt’s main research topic is the development of technology for the next generation district heating grids. In that context, he is technical coordinator of the Horizon 2020-projects STORM and TEMPO.

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Roel Vleeschouwers

Roel Vleeschouwers studied Applied Chemistry and Environmental Sciences at KU Leuven. He has worked for Hydrochem as head of the environmental laboratory, then during 9 years at Ecowater Watrex as sales manager of the department industrial water treatment. He has joined VITO in 2005 and has since then worked as Business Development Manager in the VITO business unit 'Sustainable Chemistry'. 

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Yann Raoul

Yann Raoul is managing collaborative projects at Oleon to develop specialty oleochemicals as ingredients or building blocks for a variety of markets. He holds a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Hull (UK) and has been working in the oleochemical industry for 20 years. He is currently coordinating the LIPES and INCITE European projects, the latter in collaboration with VITO, focused on developing enzyme based processes with a lower environmental impact than current approaches.