Francqui Foundation

The Francqui Foundation can invite Belgian or non-Belgian scientists for stays at Belgian universities, where they should participate in the scientific life and provide specialized teaching.

These intiatives are called « Francqui Chairs ». When they concern Belgian scientist, the term « Francqui Chair » is applied. 

Two or more Belgian universities may propose jointly that a foreign scientist be invited to Belgium. This person is the provided with an « International Francqui Professor Chair ».  One of the inviting universities is chosen to handle the administrative procedure of this invitation, as the « Host Insitution ».  The Chairs cover an uninterrupted stay of the invited scientist at the host universities, for a period of three or six months.

Proposal for Francqui chairs originate from universities, which are invited to make submissions at regular intervals. The attribution of the Chairs is the privilege of the Board of Directors of the Foundation.

The Francqui Foundation was founded in 1932 by Emile Francqui and Herbert Hoover with the goal "to further the development of higher education and scientific research in Belgium".

Chair Holder: prof. dr. Cédric Blanpain

Cédric Blanpain is full professor, WELBIO investigator and director of the laboratory of stem cells and cancer at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. His research group uses multidisciplinary approaches to study the role of stem cells during development, homeostasis and cancer. His group studies the early steps controlling cardiovascular progenitor specification, early lineage commitment and differentiation. They demonstrated the master regulator function of Mesp1 in promoting cardiovascular progenitor specification and differentiation. Using novel lineage tracing strategy to temporally mark and follow the fate of single cardiac progenitor during the early step of gastrulation, they demonstrated the existence of distinct populations of Mesp1 progenitors that contribute to different cell lineages and different regions of the heart. Using single RNA-seq, they identified the molecular features associated with early lineage restriction and regional segregation of the heart at the early stage of mouse gastrulation. Cédric Blanpain received several prestigious awards including EMBO Young investigator award, ERC starting and ERC consolidator grants, the outstanding young investigator award of the International Society of Stem Cell Research 2012, the Liliane Bettencourt award 2012. He has been elected member of the EMBO, the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine, and the Academia Europa.


The Chair consists of a series of 5 lectures:

22nd of February, 12:30:

  • Inaugural lecture followed by a reception

1st of March, 12:30:

  • Cardiovascular progenitors and heart development

3rd of May, 12:30:

  • Epithelial stem cells and their plasticity 

10th of May, 12:30:

  • Stem cells and the cellular origin of cancer

17th of May, 12:30:

  • Cancer stem cells and tumor heterogeneity

Venue: Auditorium Vanden Driessche, except for the lecture of May 10th, that will take place in Auditorium 5.




Prof. dr. Nikos Deligiannis and prof. dr. Jan Cornelis

Department of Electronics and Informatics - ETRO

Vrije Universiteit Brussel