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Dies Natalis

Dies Natalis 2021


Logo UHasselt Universiteit Hasselt - Knowledge in action


On October 22nd Hasselt University will welcome 3 new honorary doctors in response to the (postponed) celebration of Dies Natalis which is dedicated to the official launch of the Hasselt University Data Science Institute

The last decades we have seen data being collected and generated at an ever-increasing speed, which has led to a paradigm-shift in research and business.
Data science is the interdisciplinary field that aims to leverage this data so that we can better understand the reality around us and solve problems in a wide range of domains, ranging from healthcare and education to security and climate. It combines research and skills from computer science, statistics, mathematics, data visualisation, and data engineering.

In awarding three honorary doctorate degrees in data science, Hasselt University emphasises the importance of this rising field, across education, research and application.

Please find the complete programme of this festive event below. We will start the day with an academic session on the topic of data science, followed by the official awarding ceremony of the honorary doctorates and an applied session focussing on how data science impacts our society and economy and the role the new institute can play in this.

October 22nd, campus Diepenbeek, lecture hall H6

9.00 am 

Welcome coffee

9.30 am

Academic session with the 3 honorary candidates

  • Introduction to the Data Science Institute 
  • Lectures given by the 3 honorary doctorate candidates
  • Inauguration of the Hasselt University Data Science Institute

12 - 1.30 pm


1.30 - 3.00 pm 

Conferment of the honorary degrees, presented by VRT-journalist Wim De Vilder: 

  • Opening remarks by Rector Bernard Vanheusden
  • Laudatory speeches by the promotors of the honorary doctorates
  • Thank you speeches by the honorary doctorates

3.00 - 3.30 pm 

Coffee break

3.30 - 4.15 pm 

Debate on data science moderated by Wim De Vilder 

Participants: Bart Dumolyn (Flemish Department of Economy, Science & Innovation), Hugo Ceulemans (Janssen Pharmaceutica), Thomas Neyens (Data Science Institute), Jan Aerts (Data Science Institute)

4.15 - 5.15 pm 

Lightning talks by Hugo Ceulemans (Janssen Pharmaceutica) and Niel Hens (Data Science Institute) about data science in healthcare, and its role in the corona pandemic.

Exposition of collaboration opportunities with the university

5.15 - 8.00 pm 

Networking reception


You are very welcome to attend this festive event, but you must register in advance by October 15th at the latest.