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SBS-EM research meets practice

Research meets practice

There are many interfaces between research and practice at the SBS-EM. In addition to serving on the boards or scientific councils of various companies and organizations and being affiliated with policy think tanks, many SBS-EM faculty members share their knowledge and expertise with practitioners via contract research, knowledge partnerships with companies, spin-offs, and practitioners and policy-oriented events. Chairs are also important channels for the interaction between research and practice. 

Activities of the Chairs

The Marie and Alain Philippson Chair in Managing for Sustainable Human Development

The Chair serves as the focal point for teaching and research on sustainable development at the SBS-EM. It has a particular regional interest in Africa and a thematic interest in entrepreneurship. The Chair organizes the Corporate Fellowship Program which allows MA students to do an internship with a company working in Africa during their final year of studies.  The students write their MA thesis based on their field experience. In 2009

and 2010, students were sent to Mali, DR Congo and Senegal. The current holder of the Chair, prof. Philip Verwimp, is a specialist in the study of poverty and conflict in Central Africa. Details about the Chair’s activities can be found at:

The Bernard Van Ommeslaghe Chair

One of the mandates of the Chaire Bernard Van Ommeslaghe is to facilitate exchanges between policymakers and researchers on policy issues raised by the regulation of network industries. To do so, the Chair finances conferences in which academic speakers present their research to hybrid audiences which include representatives of industries, regulatory and competition agencies in addition to academics. Each conference ends with a round table in which practitioners and academics have an opportunity to challenge each other’s ideas. Recent issues covered include the nexus between economic and environmental concerns in regulated network industries, procurement, collusion and corruption in network industries, lessons from the 2008-2009 financial crisis. The current holder of the Chair Van Ommeslaghe is Prof. Antonio Estache. Details about the Chair’s activities can be found at: 

The Solvay Chair of Technological Innovation

The primary purpose of this Chair is to create intellectual capital in the field of technological innovation. It finances courses on the economics and management of innovation and intellectual property, at the bachelor, master, MBA and executive education levels. These courses involve professional guest speakers, and feature recent case studies that illustrate the link between theory and practice. The current holder of the Solvay Chair of Technological Innovation is Prof. Bruno van Pottelsberghe. Prior to holding this Chair, Prof. Van Pottelsberghe was chief economist at the European Patent Office. 

Selected recent research contracts with companies and public institutions

Feasibility study on complementary currencies. Client: Group ONE. Academic contact: Prof. Marek Hudon

Study on the rational use of energy. Client: Electrabel. Academic contact: Marek Hudon

Analysis of client satisfaction for waste removal services. Client: Brussels Capital Region. Academic contact: Michel Verstraeten

Assessment of implementation of national gender equality plan. Client: Government of Luxemburg. Academic contact: Robert Plasman

Study on the practice of public-private partnerships in the construction sector in Belgium. Client: ASBL Confédération Construction. Academic contact: Prof. Faska Khrouz

Development of an instrument for multicriteria decision-making, Client: Ministry for Internal Affairs, Police department. Academic contact: Prof. Bertrand Mareschal

Study on the economic impact of patent fees. Client: European Commission, DG Internal Market and Services. Academic contact: Prof. Bruno van Pottelsberghe

Knowledge partnerships

The Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management is the partner for Belgium of the Offshoring Research Network (ORN), an international network of universities, scholars and practitioners devoted to study the globalization of services and more particularly the global sourcing of administrative and technical business functions. The network is coordinated by CIBER at Duke University Fuqua School of Business. To this end, the network members conduct in depth case studies of offshoring practices and they are engaged in an ambitious data-gathering exercise of offshoring practices by companies in their respective countries. Companies participating in the ORN survey get first-hand insights to the research and conclusions. For details, consult the Solvay page for the Offshoring Research Network.

The Finance Club of Brussels (FCB) is a networking hub for the financial community of Brussels. Its objective is to promote effective networking between financial academics and professionals at the benefit of Brussels as a center for financial services. Together with Vlerick, SBS-EM is among the academic partners of the Finance Club of Brussels. Institutional partners include the Belgian National Bank, the Belgian Association of Financial Analysts (ABAF-BVFA), the Brussels Entreprise, Commerce and Industry bureau (BECI) and the Flemish Entreprise Network (VOKA). Professional sponsors include Thomson Reuters, NYSE Euronext Brussels, Bain & Company, Robert Walters, Ebbinge and Risk Architects. The club organises workshops for its members and private workgroups dedicated to address specific questions among experts.

ULB Spin-offs created by SBS-EM professors

Solvay Entrepreneurs is an incubator that provides tailored training and coaching for business start-ups, and offer open enrollment programs dedicated to issues of relevance for entrepreneurs and SMEs. Solvay Entrepreneurs was created in 1986 by Prof. Jean-Claude Ettinger who still manages the company. 

Recent practitioners and policy-oriented events organized at the SBS-EM

Policy round-table “Structural reforms in Belgium” organized in November 2011 by SBS-EM. This workshop brought together academics and Belgian and EU policy-makers to discuss potential structural reforms in Belgium

European Commission Green Papers on Corporate Governance and the ECGI research agenda (September 2011), a conference bringing together academics and EU policy-makers to discuss the corporate research agenda of relevance to issues raised in the EC’s Green Papers on the Corporate Governance of Financial Institution.

In September 2011, SBS-EM hosted the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)’s 5-day annual course on policy impact evaluation. The programme attracted an international mix of academics and policy-makers.

In December 2010, the workshop Nexus between economic and environmental regulation, organized by the Bernard Van Ommeslaghe Chair brought together policy-makers and academics to discuss the trade-offs and opportunities present in network industries to take on both the economic and environmental challenges of sustainable development.

Les réformes de l'administration contribuent-elles à responsabiliser les hauts fonctionnaires? (June 2010), a conference organized by the Observatoire de la Gouvernance Publique to discuss the impact of reforms in the public administration on accountability of high-ranked civil servants.