In 2012, the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences officially pioneered the Solvay Fellowship at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) to actively support interaction and cooperation between academia and highly experienced members of society and business. The Fellowship concept was not new in the academic world. It already existed in other renowned universities like Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard; however, usually with different values and interpretations of the title. Typically, 'a Fellow is part of an elite group of learned people who work together as peers in the pursuit of knowledge or practice’ (Harvard Business School). Fellows have several privileges and act as ambassadors for the institution, school or college.

Likewise, the Solvay Fellowship VUB was set up as a platform for academia and the world of society and business to meet, discuss challenges, exchange experiences, share good practice and to learn from each other, at the benefit of research and academic education. 

The first class(es) of Solvay Fellows VUB immediately picked up the challenge. They actively ‘engaged’ in offering guest lectures on the basis of their expertise and competencies, in giving guidance on master's dissertations, in providing research data, in offering or supporting internships and/or in making available their networks for the acquisition of funds, chairs, or consulting services. The success of the Solvay Fellowship inspired all other faculties of the VUB to also launch the concept.

Faculty Fellowship Coordinator
Elvira Haezendonck