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BELGACOM : VUB and ULB a to create a campus of the future in Brussels

06/19/2015 | 05:44am US/Eastern

Proximus joins VUB & ULB's ambitious project to create a new joint Science & Technology Park, becoming main partner of its Library & Learning Center

VUB and ULB, the largest academic community in Brussels, have formed a partnership to develop an innovative, visionary concept: taking profit of the housing of their faculties Sciences and Engineering on a single campus, the campus la Plaine in Brussels, they want to maximize their complementarity, in a new set-up built on future-proof infrastructure. The new Science & Technology Park consists of an engineering & ICT Center as well as state of the art Library & Learning Center. Besides a Knowledge Center, the Science & Technology Park will also become an international knowledge hub for outreach in science and technology.

The Brussels engineering and ICT Center will gradually integrate all levels of higher education in fundamental and applied sciences in one single campus, provide intellectual resources that our Belgian society requires to be competitive internationally and build a collaborative environment open to all stakeholders.

The Library & Learning Center (L&LC) in particular caught Proximus' attention. This center, aims to extend the traditional library concept by integrating the newest information and communication technologies.

The Library & Learning Center, a living lab where students are maximally prepared for their task in the society of the future

"Information and communication technologies are booming and allow us to completely rethink how technology should be integrated in our way of teaching," explains Didier Viviers, Rector of the ULB. "Our libraries must now offer both 'real' and digital media, sharing and research sites and support services for students and teaching staff. The Library & Learning Centers combine all this and, in universities abroad where they have been set up and have attained their objectives, they are places "where it's happening", i.e. where students work day after day and where teachers go regularly for training themselves."

The L&LC of the campus la Plaine will be based on a more integrated, global vision of knowledge acquisition and sharing. It will comprise a library with multimedia rooms, working areas, training and meeting rooms with multimedia and videoconferencing opportunities. It will also be a meeting point and function as an incubator for technological knowledge present at both universities, conveying the power of innovation supported by excellence in research and education.

"This new knowledge center will be open not only to our students and researchers but also to all society stakeholders," says Paul De Knop, Rector of the VUB. "As a learning, research and cutting-edge technology project, it has managed to convince the Belgian and Brussels authorities to support us through the Beliris fund and we're now turning to partners active in ICT development."

Proximus: the key private partner

As key private partner of this university project, Proximus will provide the ICT Science and Technology Park with ICT infrastructure, equipment and connectivity of with the rest of the world. Another major factor which will make it possible to develop this project as a reference ICT knowledge center at the heart of Europe, is the installation of Proximus' "Innovation Lounge" at the L&LC center, which will become an inspiring meeting place for students and researchers, where they will be able to adopt and study the latest breakthroughs in cutting-edge technology.

Dominique Leroy, CEO of Proximus, said "I look forward to building this hub for outreach in Science and Technology, with the ULB and VUB in Brussels. It will be a place where science and technology reaches out to young and old, with hands-on experience. Through this initiative we can make an impact on the society of tomorrow, through innovation and talent development. As a high-tech company, Proximus is in an ideal position to help stimulate innovation and teach younger people new digital skills. This digital expertise is essential for creating growth, a competitive environment and development opportunities for Belgium.

Proximus is committing itself to convincing other technology companies to join the L&LC.

Thanks to the support of the Beliris fund, a collaboration between the federal state and the Brussels Region, this building, which is set to be a bold architectural statement and an example of low energy consumption, will be built in 2018.

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