Situated in Belgium, in the heart of Western Europe, KU Leuven has been a centre of learning for nearly six centuries. Today, it is Belgium’s largest university and, founded in 1425, one of the oldest and most renowned universities in Europe. As a leading European research university and co-founder of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), KU Leuven offers a wide variety of international Master’s programmes, all supported by high-quality, innovative, interdisciplinary research.
KU Leuven has Erasmus contracts with over 400 European universities and international contracts all over the world: the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Latvia, France, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, Morocco, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia. The amount of international students more than doubled to about 8,000 students in ten years’ time. KU Leuven holds over 50 international projects in development cooperation and educational interuniversity cooperation.
The SciEngTech (Science Engineering and Technology) Group of the KU Leuven is composed of 5 faculties, 14 departments and is present on 11 campuses in Flanders. In addition, the SciEngTech Group coordinates the interdisciplinary research centers.
Within this group, KU Leuven offers five academic educational profiles organised in the five faculties: Science, Engineering Science, Bioscience Engineering, Engineering Technology and Architecture. All researchers within the Science, Engineering & Technology Group belong to one of its fourteen departments and ranges from curiosity-driven fundamental research to applied technological research and valorisation.
The STEM coordination unit of the KU Leuven Association started its activities in 2016. One of its goals is to present a portal of STEM initiatives to inspire teachers (for all age groups) to bring STEM into the classroom. Some of these initiatives involve citizen science. The STEM coordination unit also facilitates the flow of information, questions, recommendations, and material between the university KU Leuven and its sister institutions within the association, the government, the Flemish education system, and the international STEM field. The vision of the STEM coordination unit crystallizes from the fact that the strength of STEM is in the integration of the STEM subjects.
At the KU Leuven Life Sciences & Society Lab, a study focusing on the role of citizen science in society is ongoing. Together with the popular scientific journal EOS, the Flemish Young Academy established a Citizen Science Portal, to map and promote several CS projects in Flanders, and published a ‘Standpoint’ on CS including tips and tricks and policy recommendations on CS.