On 17 September, Hasselt University's Science Tower was officially opened by Flemish Minister Wouter Beke and Limburg Commissioner Tom Vandeput, president of LSM. "In this five-storey tower, our students and researchers from the physics, chemistry and future materiomics programmes can use state-of-the-art didactic labs and research laboratories," says Rector Bernard Vanheusden.
On 17 September, Hasselt University's Science Tower was officially opened by Flemish Minister Wouter Beke and Limburg Commissioner Tom Vandeput, president of LSM. "In this five-storey tower, our students and researchers from the physics, chemistry and future materiomics programmes can use state-of-the-art didactic labs and research laboratories," says Rector Bernard Vanheusden. The Science Tower was made possible by financial support from Limburg Sterk Merk (LSM).
The Science Tower is the new showpiece for the Science Faculty at UHasselt. In the five-storey tower, full of light, UHasselt researchers are further developing their research in areas such as bioelectronics, printable electronics, photovoltaic solar cells, circular chemistry and new materials for sustainable energy generation and storage. "Here, our researchers are working on building a sustainable future and at the same time we are reducing our own ecological footprint with this science tower. Because everything has been built using the latest technology in terms of solar panels, insulation and ventilation. The heat emitted by the building is used to heat the rooms," says Bernard Vanheusden.
The Science Tower could be realised thanks to the financial support of Limburg Sterk Merk (LSM). "This Science Tower fits in perfectly with the objective of Limburg evolving from a brain drain province to a brain gaining province. To this end, we are also building two new campuses for the construction and health sectors. Knowledge, research and business come together in these campuses so that innovation is picked up faster and even more by our companies. Innovation is also a spearhead of Limburg's future plan, SALKturbo. After all, innovation is the basis for our future prosperity, for the strength of our economy and for the jobs of the future. We need new technologies, new ways of thinking and new solutions for everything that comes our way: the energy transition, climate change, our future mobility, health care and the ageing population," says deputy and LSM president Tom Vandeput.
Companies can also use the Science Tower for services. In addition, the Science Tower will be the place to develop the 'Green Hydrogen Lab' of UHasselt, which is being carried out within the framework of EnergyVille. Imo-imomec, the integrated research institute of UHasselt and imec, was recently granted 1.5 million euro support for this by the Flemish government. Flemish Minister of Science and Innovation Hilde Crevits: "With the Science Tower, UHasselt is further equipping itself with important facilities for research and education. For example, our recent investment in the new research lab 'Green HydrogenLab' will be housed here, in order to realise innovative breakthroughs in sustainable hydrogen production. With this, we strengthen the cooperation and social impact of the university."
The official opening of the Science Tower took place in the presence of Flemish Minister Wouter Beke, Limburg Commissioner Tom Vandeput, Governor Jos Lantmeeters and Rik Kriekels, Mayor of Diepenbeek.
Flemish Minister Wouter Beke: "A new state-of-the-art facility for students and researchers such as this Science Tower is then a wonderful attraction to attract and motivate researchers and students from the wider area to deliver excellent scientific research. The fact that it is about STEM is a guarantee for the future: our labour market is begging for STEM profiles."
Besides physics and chemistry students, future students of materiomics will also have a place in the Science Tower. "This master's programme, unique in Flanders, is a mix of physics and chemistry. Here, we train students to become professionals with extensive knowledge about new materials. In this way, they can play a role in future challenges such as energy transition, electronics and data traffic," says Jan Colpaert, Dean of Science at UHasselt.
The general public will be able to discover the Science Tower during Science Day on 28 November 2021.
Total floor area: 7500 m²
44 laboratories, including 36 research labs, 5 didactic labs for chemistry and 3 didactic labs for physics
5 advanced physics classrooms
260 fume hoods and storage cabinets with extractor hood
Flexible office space on each floor around the labs
Space for 150 staff & 220 students
PV panels and cogeneration for renewable energy
Total cost: 18 million €
Architectural office: ESSA