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Innovative ecosystems are a lever for prosperity. Their strength lies in the collaboration between partners, in joint creativity, mutual trust and the willingness to bring together information and insights. It’s no coincidence that we, KU Leuven, have found these qualities to be strengths of the Kempen-Mechelen region.

Our two fast-growing campuses in Geel and Sint-Katelijne-Waver are strongly embedded in the KU Leuven community. The ambition at these campuses is to train engineers and other professionals, to educate them to become people who know how to get things done – first-rate problem solvers. Because research and innovation are not an end in themselves but a means of tackling societal challenges. Climate change, sustainable food production, environmental pollution, health and well-being all pose urgent problems that cry out for a solution.

One thing is certain: those solutions will not come out of the blue. They will require hard work. And collaboration. Because again: real innovators don’t go it alone. They work in teams and surround themselves with people from different disciplines. They make optimal use of a wide range of expertise without losing sight of the bigger picture. And most importantly, they don’t allow themselves to be thrown off balance. After a setback, they resolutely search for new approaches. That mindset, or rather passion, makes the difference between success and failure.

We are happy to be part of this socio-economic fabric alongside other educational institutions, local and regional government, companies and organisations. We’re ready to strengthen it further, to build a warm, caring and innovative region. And we’re open to partnerships with all actors in the region.

Use our infrastructure, call on our people. Working together, we can look to our shared future with confidence. With an open mind, self-assurance and, above all, enthusiasm. Let us put our creativity to work, because innovation is something we do together.

Prof. Dr. Bert Lauwers is a full professor at KU Leuven. From 2013 to 2016, he was campus president of the Geel and De Nayer (Sint-Katelijne-Waver) campuses. In 2016 he was elected dean of the Faculty of Engineering Technology; since 2021, he combines this position with that of Academic Director for the De Nayer, Diepenbeek and Geel campuses. He is also responsible for the campus in Genk, where KU Leuven offers study programmes through the Associated Faculty of the Arts.

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