OUR COLLEAGUES AND THEIR STORY

This is Bas Van Heur, professor and specialist in urban studies. Do you also want a job where you can make a difference?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“HAVING THE SPACE TO CONDUCT RESEARCH THAT IS FREE FROM DOGMA”

On how, at the VUB, you can freely conduct groundbreaking research, even on sensitive ethical issues.

No self-evidence

“When I started my research in the mid-1990s, euthanasia was still strictly illegal in Belgium, so finding the right support was not easy. However, at the VUB I found the necessary space and resources to do truly groundbreaking work.”

Transparent, value-neutral research

“The reason for that was of course the VUB’s focus on free inquiry, that is, research free from all dogma. Personally, I’m very much a secular humanist, but that doesn't mean that I have not remained objective and critical. And you have to be: with an ideologically charged subject like euthanasia, there are inevitably going to be personal values and drivers. Researchers have to be transparent about this. That makes it possible to verify and objectify.”

Plenty of input, good access

 "The VUB has long been a highly democratic institution, where students, assistants and staff have plenty of input. I personally experienced this when I was still a teaching assistant. The secular humanist values are still very much present, but over the years, the focus on quality has significantly increased. Scientists are selected first and foremost because of their work and professional qualities, and not because they are secular humanists.”

“At the same time, despite the strong growth in recent years, the VUB has stayed relatively small-scale. That has allowed the lines of communication between students and professors, for example, to remain fairly open, which can only benefit the quality of education and research.”

Back to the overview

Are you convinced that independent research is necessary as well?

SO DO WE.