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Science Beyond Boundaries

The extra-curricular Honours Programme of VUB connects a group of motivated Honours students, selected from all faculties, with world-renowned experts. Together they debate and reflect on important scientific developments and their relation to society.

Design and goals

Searching for universality at the university. Looking beyond boundaries of the scientific disciplines. Reflecting on important scientific (r)evolutions and their impact on society. Interacting with internationally renowned experts in a truly transdisciplinary environment. These are the ingredients of the VUB Honours Programme – Science Beyond Boundaries.

Transdisciplinary character

The 19th century separation of science into different, isolated disciplines is counterproductive for important breakthroughs in the fundamental problems that our society faces today. Some of the most interesting scientific and societal questions that remain in this century must be solved with an interdisciplinary approach. Therefore, modern universities should not be composed of islands of different disciplines. In contrast, the interaction between students should mirror the interconnectedness between the disciplines and reflect the way that science is evolving in the 21st century.

The unique feature of Science Beyond Boundaries is its transdisciplinary character; key concepts from various scientific fields will meet, thus offering an encyclopedic tour of different scientific fields of knowledge. Following a flipped classroom strategy, the Honours students will take the lead in the debates with the experts.

All activities take place in Muntpunt in the city centre of Brussels under the overarching theme Big Data (see programme for the dates and the topics of the activities).

Honours Programme 2018-2019

Please find hereunder our coming events.

What is big data? (Introduction + Workshop)

Wednesday 14 November 2018, 18:30-21:00

What is the value of personal data?

Wednesday 5 December 2018, 18:30-21:00 

Can we avoid bias in data-driven decision making?

Wednesday 19 December 2018, 18:30-21:00

Educational tracking systems: what happens when algorithms start teaching?

Wednesday 20 February 2019, 18:30-21:00

The distraction economy: is technology eating away our attention?

Wednesday 6 March 2019, 18:30-21:00

Is big data fueling a new kind of science?

Wednesday 20 March 2019, 18:30-21:00

Data activism: How can we use big data for social goods?

Wednesday 3 April 2019, 18:30-21:00

Information, entropy and meaning: what is noise and what is data?

Wednesday 24 April 2019, 18:30-21:00

Provisions and certificate

Successful attendance in the VUB Honours Programme implies the participation in at least seven of the activities offered and taking a leading role in at least two of them.

Taking a leading role means preparing the debate and writing a popularizing or opinionative piece after the debate. Participation therefore requires clear effort and commitment.

You can submit your online application when you have acquired at least 60 credits and have achieved good study results (at least the equivalent of 'distinction').

An Honours Certificate, signed by the Rector, will endorse your successful participation in the Programme.

How to apply?

If you are interested in participating in the VUB honours programme you can apply by filling out the application form before 21 October 2018.

VUB Honours Programme

Application form

For more information about the VUB Honours Programme, send us a mail at honoursprogramme@vub.ac.be