Towards a true ‘ULB Charleroi’

January 30th 2019

Michel Coulon is the new head of ULB Charleroi. As such, he contributes to coordinate education, training, and the development of scientific research. We have met with him.

What does your position entail?

Michel Coulon: ‘As my title suggests, my mission is to build a full-fledged centre for academic and higher education in the Charleroi region, with the Biopark and the Charleroi city centre at its heart. This isn't only about tightening the relationship between both locations, but also about fostering togetherness and a community spirit.’

How will you achieve this?

‘Over the next few years, we will launch projects focused on the University's three core missions: teaching, research, and community service. We have already started developing teaching activities, with new bachelor programmes (in life sciences, civil engineering, and social sciences) in Charleroi. We will also join the Cité des Métiers, a job centre that should open by 2022 on a future campus dedicated to science, art, and industry in the old city centre.’

What about your projects for the Biopark?

‘Over the years, the Biopark has become a meeting place for high-end research and industrial players. Thanks to the incredible work done under Dominique Demonté’s leadership, our science park is now an attractive and growing ecosystem that new academic, economic, and industrial organisations have joined or are considering joining. However, all this demand must be met in terms of buildings, accessibility, and services. This is what we will be working on, in close collaboration with Florence Bosco and Biopark Dev. Ultimately, consolidating the Biopark will result in more jobs and higher economic growth—which will naturally benefit the community!’

Can you tell us your background in a few words?

‘I started my career as an adviser for several ministers of higher education, on topics such as the Bologna decree, the ‘Paysage’ decree, etc. Then I worked as government commissioner for institutes of higher education and art schools. More recently, from 2014 to 2018, I was administrator general of UMons. I am very familiar with higher education, from its political dimensions to the actual challenges on the ground, and I hope to put this experience at the service of ULB Charleroi, and continue developing the University's campus in Charleroi.’