The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) wants to look into how it can form a strong partnership with the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). However, “it is too soon to talk of about a merger”, according to the VUB rector Caroline Pauwels. Pierre Gurdjian, the President of the ULB, called for “one Brussels University” when speaking to De Tijd on Friday.
The ULB and VUB merging into one University seems an obvious choice. They already share a campus in Ixelles and a lot of history. The VUB rector is aware of the obstacles, especially the political ones.
The two Brussels Universities already work closely together, for example on a joint engineering course. There will soon be a joint Master in “urban studies”. “Obviously it would be good to see how we can improve the way we work together”, says Caroline Pauwels. “All the Universities are trying to collaborate, and united Universities are stronger, that’s a fact”.
On an international level, a merged University would be more competitive. There is regularly confusion surrounding the Brussels Universities. “The names of both our establishments are translated into ‘Free University of Brussels’ in English. This year, there will be a joint mission in China to clear that up”, says Mrs Pauwels.