Need inspiration towards climate neutrality? Get state-of-the-art in 2 days!

EU parliament declares climate emergency! What do governments, organisations, companies and individuals need to do? The Vrije Universiteit Brussel will help you on your way with an intensive and inspiring bootcamp in autumn 2020!

What is the climate challenge and what can we do?

What climate solutions are there and how can governments and organisations implement them?

VUB climate scientists share their expertise in a two-day bootcamp. Their knowledge is based on research of themselves and internationally renowned scientists. No half-truths. Just facts. Their expertise is also highly appreciated by the media. You have undoubtedly seen them in the newspaper, on the radio or on television, where they give insights in current climate themes.

Now it's your chance to interpellate them. Meet our climate experts in an open atmosphere on our green campus in Brussels and be inspired by their innovative ideas. Immerse yourself in the climate and end this two-day event full of inspiration for your own environment.

We expect a diverse audience: directors, politicians, policy makers, CSR officers, environmental coordinators, researchers and students. We limit the number of participants to 40. By working in a relatively small group, we guarantee that there is sufficient time for interaction, questions and discussion.

Curious about the programme and the climate experts you will meet?

Discover the programme and register!

preliminary programme - autumn 2020

Please find below the preliminary programme for the Climate Bootcamp in autumn 2020. Stay tuned for the final programme and further details!


Nic Balthazar

Film- en televisiemaker en klimaatactivist Nic Balthazar probeert uit te leggen waarom hij zich al zo veel jaren zoveel zorgen maakt, wat het ware gevaar is van de klimaatverandering, en waarom de oplossingen veel hoopvoller, aangenamer en haalbaarder zijn dan het vaak wordt voorgesteld.

De lezing is de uitgebreide en interactieve versie van het VRT-programma ‘KLIMAATBETOOG’ met dus een hoop filmpjes en beeldmateriaal, en aantal gezaghebbende stemmen.  Op het eind kan er nog eens gezongen worden voor het klimaat natuurlijk! Do it now!

Nic Balthazar breekt een lans voor een andere manier van denken, van ondernemen, van werken en van leven.  Durven veranderen dus. Ook om de klimaatverandering te veranderen.

Deelname aan het Klimaatbetoog is gratis, maar inschrijven is verplicht!




Philippe Huybrechts, VUB & Wim Thiery, VUB

In many regions of the world, ongoing climate change threatens both the ecosystems and the livelihoods of mankind. In this first session the current scientific insights on climate change will be introduced in an understandable way.


Tomas Wyns, VUB & Alexandre Hureau, VUB

The production of raw materials is one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions. We will look at the latest technological developments to reduce emissions, the key role of a circular economy and how innovative industrial policies can transform these industries.

While Circular Economy continues to grow in popularity as a way to improve our environmental footprint, it still remains unclear what it entails, and how it should be assessed. This presentation explore the topic of trying to evaluate circularity, how to frame it, and how to determine if it is the ideal path to take in terms of sustainability by using second life car electric car batteries as an example.

Niels De Temmerman, VUB; Waldo Galle, VUB & Filip Decamps, VUB & Daidalos Peutz

The structures of buildings are never an end, but only a phase in a process. Facilitating transformations is vital for sustainable development. How can we maximize the sustainability of structures and components over time while minimizing the waste of resources?

By the simulation and optimization of heating and ventilation systems at VUB Architectural Engineering, the research of Filip Descamps contributes not only to the necessary energy transition of our built environment, but also to user comfort. In this contribution he will discuss aspects from energy performance towards sustainability assessment, without ignoring the importance of building design and user behavior.

Maarten Messagie, VUB & Simon Round, ABB

The transition towards a climate neutral society is foremost an energy transition that will be necessary. In this session Simon Round will give an overview of what this transition entails by looking at the integration and delivery of renewable energy into the energy mix from a global and EU perspective, while Maarten Messagie will show how that translates into local energy communities.

Cathy Macharis, VUB & Joeri Van Mierlo, VUB

The transport sector is the most difficult one to tackle. Carbon emissions are still rising in this sector. How to curb drastically this evolution?




Sara Vicca, UA & Franky Bossuyt, VUB

Nature and agriculture play a critical role in the climate system, not the least through the cycling of CO2. While agriculture has been a source of CO2 to the atmosphere, natural ecosystems have sequestered a large part of human CO2 emissions, thereby slowing down climate change. What are the reasons behind this CO2 sequestration, and to what extent can we continue to rely on this natural buffer in future? What will be the impact of climate change on CO2 sequestration? And can we use natural processes in agriculture to increase CO2 sequestration and hence mitigate climate change?


Stefaan Vergote, EC DG Climate & Annemie Bollen, SERV

This session will first explain the paradigm shift that the UN Paris Agreement implies in international climate policy. It then looks at European policy and discusses how the EU intends to reduce the net emissions of greenhouse gases. Annemie Bollen will highlight the Belgian and Flemish policies.


Stefaan Vergote (EC), Peter Wittoeck (FOD, Dienst Klimaatverandering), Els Brouwers (Essenscia), Tomas Wyns (VUB), Joeri van Mierlo (VUB), Philippe Huybrechts (VUB)


MAMCA session
Cathy Macharis,VUB; Philippe Lebeau, VUB & Shary Heuninckx, VUB

Creating sustainable solutions also means taking into account the interests of everyone that is involved. Actions can only be succesful when they are supported by all of those who will feel the impact, and cater to their needs. In this session the MAMCA tool is presented, which can help to develop futureproof solutions, by actively taking into account the viewpoints of all stakeholders.


Pieter Boussemaere, VIVES

Does climate change seem like a far-flung event, a global problem you have little control over? Or does it bother you, but you have no idea what you can do yourself? And maybe you're already doing all kinds of things. But do they really make a difference? This interactive session starts from the bare facts.

Meet the climate experts

What are the expertises and publications of our scientist and guest experts?

Nic Balthazar

Nic Balthazar is schrijver, theater-, televisie- en filmmaker, maar ook klimaatactivist. Hij breekt een lans voor een andere manier van denken, ondernemen, werken en leven. Durven veranderen dus. Ook om de klimaatverandering te veranderen.

Philippe Huybrechts

Philippe Huybrechts is klimaatwetenschapper en hoogleraar in de klimatologie en glaciologie aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Hij bestudeert gletsjers en ijskappen en hun invloed op het klimaat. Hij is ook lid van het Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Wim Thiery

Wim Thiery is klimaatwetenschapper aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Hij bestudeert met behulp van een mondiaal klimaatmodel de historische en toekomstige invloed van irrigatie op klimaatextremen. Zijn modellen en satellietwaarnemingen voorspellen dat extreme weersomstandigheden in de toekomst zullen intensiveren. Op die manier draagt zijn werk bij tot de rapporten die het VN-klimaatpanel opstelt.

Tomas Wyns

Tomas Wyns is onderzoeker aan het Institute for European Studies van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Hij is gespecialiseerd in Europees en internationaal klimaatbeleid en het EU Emissiehandelssysteem. Voordien werkte hij als beleidsmedewerker klimaat bij de Vlaamse overheid en het European Climate Action Network. Hij is een van de initiatiefnemers van de nationale klimaatcampagne 'Sign for my future'.

Alexandre Hureau

Alexandre Hureau completed a Master in Sustainable Development at Uppsala University in 2018. The following year, he joined MOBI to work on the creation of a framework to help companies evaluate the circularity of their products, as well as the benefits and consequences of making a product more circular. He is currently working on assessing the impact of using electric car batteries in a second life stationary application.

Niels De Temmerman

Niels De Temmerman is lid van het Research Lab for Architectural Engineering (AE-LAB) van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel en is voorzitter van de onderzoeksgroep TRANSFORM: Transformable Structures for Sustainable Development. Momenteel is hij medevoorzitter van de Structural Morphology Group van de International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS). Zijn belangrijkste expertise bestaat uit het ontwerpen en analyseren van transformeerbare constructies, inzetbare constructies en kit- of part-systemen, voor architectonische toepassingen.

Waldo Galle

Waldo Galle is visiting professor and policy advisor for sustainability at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. As a doctor in engineering (2016, Vrije Universiteit Brussel) Waldo conducts research on the feasibility of future-proof and circular building at VUB Architectural Engineering, while accelerating with the VITO Transition Platform multiple sustainability transitions, including the transition towards a circular economy. Therefore, he develops divergent scenarios and service life models. They allow him to advise designers, investors and governments about the robustness of their choices.

Filip Decamps

Filip Decamps is professor and energy expert at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and partner of consulting office Daidalos Peutz. His research and consultancy activities relate the sustainability of buildings and neighbourhoods to their energy efficiency and nearly zero energy design strategies through the study of building physics for restorations of heritage buildings, aspect of urban physics, user behaviour, solar shading modelling, air flow modelling and many more.

Maarten Messagie

Prof. dr. eng. Maarten Messagie manages R&D&I activities at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in order to support the transition towards a sustainable energy system. He works in the research center MOBI of the VUB in which he co-leads the research unit EVERGi. The research unit EVERGi focusses with 20 dedicated researchers on sustainable multi-energy systems including the integration of electric (and automated) vehicles. EVERGi developed and operates together with the ‘Green Energy Park’ a research co-creation platform and living lab, demonstrating real-life applications of crucial elements in the energy transition.

Simon Round

Simon Round has over 25 years of experience of applying power electronic systems to control the electrical power grid, both as an academic and working in industry. For the last 11 years, he has worked for ABB Switzerland in global technology management roles for power conversion and microgrids. He is currently a Corporate Executive Engineer for Power Electronics and Digital in the Business Line Grid Integration, where he is responsible for the development of new digital solutions that enables optimal operation and increased availability of the power grid. Previously, he was a Professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand for 9 years, and with ETH Zurich as a Senior Researcher for 4 years.

Cathy Macharis

Cathy Macharis is experte duurzame mobiliteit aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Met de interdisciplinaire onderzoeksgroep MOBI richt ze zich op duurzame logistiek, elektrische en hybride voertuigen en stedelijke mobiliteit en biedt ze oplossingen voor vraagstukken als ‘Wat is effect van goederen- en personenvervoer op de CO2-uitstoot in Brussel, Vlaanderen en Europa en de impact hiervan op het klimaat?’

Joeri Van Mierlo

Joeri Van Mierlo is professor in de Ingenierswetenschappen aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. HIj is een expert op het gebied van elektrische en hybride voertuigen, alternatieve brandstoffen en aandrijvingen en de ecologische en economische vergelijking van voertuigen met verschillende aandrijvingen en brandstoffen (LCA, TCO).


Sara Vicca

Sara Vicca is a researcher and lecturer at the Global Change Ecology Centre of Excellence of the Department of Biology at the University of Antwerp. She studies carbon cycling in forests and other terrestrial ecosystems and how this is influenced by environmental factors, climate fluctuations and extreme climate events. Recently, she started a new research line to investigate nature-based solutions for climate change: how can we use natural processes in the fight against climate change?

Franky Bossuyt

Franky is the head of Amphibian Evolution Lab. He is particularly interested in the use of molecular phylogenies to elucidate evolutionary patterns and the processes that produce them in amphibians. But science becomes really fun with an integrative approach, in which tempo and mode of evolution are linked to biogeography, speciation, morphological diversification, sexual communication, etc ... His current research is mostly focussed around the evolution of sexually dimorphic glands in amphibians.

Stefaan Vergote

Stefaan Vergote is adviseur bij DG Climate van de Europese Commissie. Hij heeft een belangrijke rol gespeeld in de ontwikkeling van de EU klimaat- en energiestrategieƫn 2020 en 2030. Hij was verantwoordelijk voor de ontwikkeling van de roadmap van de EU voor een koolstofarme economie in 2050.

Annemie Bollen

Annemie Bollen is a policy advisor working for the Social-Economic Council of Flanders (SERV), an advisory body and think tank for the Flemish government and parliament. She specialises in climate policy and energy policy. Previously, she worked as an advisor on energy policy for the Flemish minister of Energy and as economic expert for consultancy firm Technum (now Tractebel). She is an economist with an academic background in environmental and social sciences.

Philippe Lebeau

Philippe Lebeau graduated in of a Master in Management Sciences at the Louvain School of Management and achieved an advanced Master in Transport Management at the CIEM. He joined in 2011 the research group MOBI (Mobility, Logistics and Automotive Technology), the interdisciplinary group focusing on sustainable logistics, electric and hybrid vehicles and travel behaviour. He conducted there a PhD that he completed in 2016 thanks to a Prospective Research for Brussels and the supervision of Prof. Dr. Cathy Macharis and Prof. Dr. Joeri Van Mierlo. After an interesting experience at Decathlon Logistics in 2017 and 2018, he came back at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels to take a new challenge in teaching Supply Chain Management and keep working in his fields of expertise: Sustainable Logistics, Electric Vehicles, Urban Freight Transport in Brussels, Total Cost of Ownership, Conjoint Based Choice and Multi-Criteria Multi-Actor analysis. Contact: Philippe.Lebeau@vub.ac.be.  

Shary Heuninckx

Shary Heuninckx acquired the degree of Master of Science in Geography at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the degree of Master in Urbanism and Spatial Planning at Ghent University. She went on to work as a spatial planner for the provincial government of Vlaams-Brabant, with a specialty in the built environment. Providing support and expert knowledge to local governments, together with developing new sustainable urban policies and implementing them in regional projects were the main focus points. Currently, she is a PhD candidate at the MOBI research centre under the supervision of Prof. dr. Cathy Macharis, focusing on MAMCA processes and their potential impact on sustainability in different domains. She is mainly working on developing and setting up energy communities within research projects such as ‘Rolecs’ and ‘Renaissance’.

Pieter Boussemaere

Pieter Boussemaere doceert prehistorie en wereldgeschiedenis aan de Hogeschool VIVES. Daar ontdekte hij dat de klimaatkennis bij onze jongeren en toekomstige leerkrachten bedroevend laag en zelfs veelal foutief is. Zijn boek - Eerste hulp bij klimaatverwarring. Waarom de opwarming van de aarde veel meer is dan een milieuprobleem - speelt daarop in.


If you have any questions about the content, please contact Prof. Dr. Cathy Macharis, coordinator of the bootcamp.
If you have any questions about invoicing, please contact Katleen Cornelis.


The bootcamp will be on our Brussels Humanities, Sciences and Engineering Campus. 

Vrije Universteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 5
1050 Elsene

Tram 7 en 25 stoppen voor de deur.


Be aware of your carbon footprint when travelling to the Climate Bootcamp, our campus is accessible by various tranport alternatives!

You can find all posibilities on our accessibility pages.

Overnight stay

There is a hotel on campus, more information and booking.

In 2019, the first Climate Bootcamp took place. This was a very inspiring and motivating event. This was the programme: