Board of Governors


Herwig Leirs

Herwig Leirs (°1963) holds a PhD in sciences (biology) from the University of Antwerp. After a period as department head at the Danish Pest Infestation Laboratory near Copenhagen, he returned to the UAntwerpen as professor in 2001. His scientific research focuses on population dynamics of rodents and the ecology of animal-borne infectious diseases. He is actively involved in university development cooperation, with a strong focus on Africa. He was Dean of the Faculty of Science, since November 2016 he is Chair of the Board of Governors of the University of Antwerp. Among other things, he is also Chair of the Royal Society for Zoology of Antwerp (the Zoo).


Ann Aerts

Ann Aerts is Head of the Novartis Foundation, an organisation that uses data, digital technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to shape global health and care. Ann holds a degree in medicine, a Master's in Public Health from the KU Leuven, and a degree in tropical medicine from ITM.

Today, she focuses on the innovation and transformation of the health sector, multidisciplinary collaborations between public, private and academic sectors, and harnessing new technologies, data and artificial intelligence to solve health challenges. Prior to joining Novartis, she served as head of the health services division of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), among others. In addition to her current role as Head of the Novartis Foundation, she holds several board memberships, including in the Philips Foundation and the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development.

Ann Adriaensen

Ann Adriaensen is Secretary-General and Director of Public Health at, the federation of the innovative pharmaceutical industry in Belgium. She holds a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from KU Leuven.

Through her work, Ann has built up experience in strategy and political negotiations related to public health dossiers, good governance, HR policies and the recruitment of new members and partners. She used this expertise during the COVID-19 pandemic through continuous cooperation with the government, the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products, hospitals, health professionals (doctors, pharmacists, nurses,...) and the pharmaceutical industry. She also holds various external mandates, including at the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP), the Poison Control Centre and the Belgian Medicines Verification System Organisation (BeMVO).

Inge Basteleurs

Inge is director and owner of Calexin. Through Calexin she offers legal services, management advice and advice on compliance and data privacy. She holds degrees in Law and Administrative Economics from the KU Leuven and a Master’s in International & Economic Law from University College London.

Inge has over 27 years of international experience, mainly in the legal field, but also in communication, in setting up local structures in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. She has been involved with start-ups as well as multinationals in the healthcare sector, hospitals, academia, setting up/monitoring clinical partnerships and non-profit organisations. She has established several international collaborations in research on disease education and management, including in India and Africa (epilepsy). As a director, Inge has experience in both listed and unlisted companies.

Luc Broos

For 16 years, Luc Broos was at the head of POM Antwerp, the executive arm of the socio-economic policy of the Province of Antwerp. He is an economist by training and obtained his Master's degree in Applied Economic Sciences at the University of Antwerp.

He has experience in general management, strategy and finance, real estate, organisational structure, human resources and commercial management and he has a very extensive network. He was especially active in the ICT sector, protection of intellectual property rights, business consulting and government. He is a member of the General Council of the Antwerp Management School and a Boards member of NV UBIS and NV BlueChem.

Jo Bury

Jo Bury was until recently the Managing Director of VIB, the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology. The VIB is a research institute for life sciences where 1,800 scientists and technicians study molecular mechanisms. Jo Bury holds a degree in pharmacy and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences (University of Ghent). He obtained an MBA from the Vlerick School for Management in Ghent. After several years of scientific research in the field of atherosclerosis, he made a career in science policy.

As founder and director of the VIB, he has 25 years of experience in leading a research centre with world ambitions, both in basic research and in its economic and social valorisation. He has expertise in the management of academic institutions (VIB, Temasek Life Science labs, ...), granting bodies (Hercules, FWO) and companies (Seghers Genetics and Nutrition, Vitamex, Oystershell, ...) and is a member of numerous advisory boards of international centres of excellence in life sciences.

Roel Coutinho

Roel Coutinho MD, PhD, did his medical studies at the University of Amsterdam. He worked as a physician in Guinee-Bissau/Senegal and after his return to the Netherlands, he specialised as a medical microbiologist (virologist). In 1977 he became head of the Public Health Department of the Amsterdam Health Service. In this job he was confronted with the strong rise in STIs and later on HIV/AIDS. From May 2011 till May 2018 he was part-time Professor in the Epidemiology and Prevention of Infectious Diseases especially in the human-veterinary domain at the University of Utrecht. Since 2015 he is a member of the medical team of PharmAccess.

Steven Serneels

Steven is an Impact Investor, aiming for a combination of social and financial returns. Based on his experience with both social entrepreneurs and traditional businesses, he focuses mainly on initiatives that combine 'doing business and doing good'. He is Chair of the Corporate Social Investment Initiative of EVPA (European Venture Philanthropy Association), and board member of the Impact Investment Institute in the UK. Steven is also Chair of Kampani, a social investment fund for enterprising farmer cooperatives in the South, and investor and board member of SI2, a for-profit social impact fund that provides growth capital to European social enterprises. He is co-founder and board member of Iristick. Iristick develops, produces and commercialises smart glasses, both for industrial and social applications (Tech For Good). Steven is also (co-)author of several international papers and co-author of the book: 'Everyone to be Social 3.0: Can entrepreneurs save the world?'.

Ajit Shetty

2007-2012 – Chairman Jansen Pharmaceutica & Global Head Johnson & Johnson Supply Chain
1984-1990 – President Janssen Pharmaceutica U.S.

Ajit Shetty Launched Janssen US in the largest pharmaceutical market with the registration of novel new compounds (Hismanal (antihistamine), Alfenta (analgesia), ....) and effective commercialisation to create a successful product portfolio base.
He was responsible for the licensing in of the first transdermal pain medication Durogesic that went on to become the fourth largest J&J product in 2008 (sales $2 billion).
Between 1976 and 1984 he held various positions in Business Development and Finance culminating in the position of Vice President Finance Janssen Pharmaceutica Belgium.
He worked in Business Development to launch and expand the Janssen group of companies within J&J labelled as ‘A Multinational within a Multinational’.
This provided a platform to fuel the explosive growth of the company under Dr Paul Janssen, one of the most prolific pharmaceutical researchers in this timeframe.
As Vice President Finance created the legal entity that today serves the platform for the J&J International Treasury Activity, managing approximately $25 billion offshore.

Patricia Supply

Patricia Supply (1968°) holds a Master in Commercial and Financial Sciences (specialisation in business management). From the start of her career, she is active at the federal government, where she has accumulated extensive experience in tax audit of companies. After going through the 'Public Management Programme' at the Institute for Public Administration (KU Leuven) in 2002, she focused on managing various organisational and financial projects within the staff departments of the FPS Finance. In this way she has grown to Advisor-General, head of the accounting department of this public service. Since 2014 she has been appointed as the Supporting Director of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, a scientific institution within the federal science policy.

Stefaan Van der Borght

Stefaan Van der Borght trained as a medical doctor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He has a Master in Public Health in Developing Countries from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In 2011 he obtained a PhD in medicine at the Universiteit of Amsterdam. Dr Van der Borght has worked overseas with Médecins Sans Frontières for over 10 years. He worked for 16 years with Heineken and was the Director of Health and Safety before joining the European Commission as a scientific officer in the Research and Innovation Directorate General. He worked for four years for the mining company Anglo-American as Global Head of Health. Currently he is Chief Medical Officer of the Belgian Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment and he is chairing the national Risk Management Group.

Christel Van Geet

Professor Chris Van Geet (°1961) was Head of Department of Pediatrics at UZ Leuven from 2005 to 2017 and has been Vice Rector of Biomedical Sciences at KU Leuven since 2017 with the additional competence of global development. She holds a PhD in Psychology (1984) and a PhD in Medicine, Surgery and Obstetrics (1986). In 1992, she obtained her doctorate with a thesis on aggregate for higher education. Professor Van Geet has been a part-time full professor since 2005. As Chair of the IRO (Interfaculty Council for Development Cooperation) and fieldworker and director of LUMOS (Leuven University Medical Development Cooperation and Solidarity), she was strongly involved in university development cooperation. She also promoted several VLIR-UOS projects. In her current position, she strengthens the policy of sustainable cooperation with partners in the Global South.

Marc-Alain Widdowson

Dr Marc-Alain Widdowson graduated from the University of Cambridge in Biological Anthropology and Veterinary Medicine and completed a MSc in Communicable Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is a seasoned infectious disease epidemiologist and has managed scientific projects throughout the world, with field experience living in Bolivia, Zimbabwe and the Netherlands. He has broad expertise in epidemiology, public health, laboratory science and One Health. The past 18 years, Marc-Alain Widdowson has worked for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Nadine Van Haecke (Government Commissioner)

Ann Peters (Secretary)

Ann Peters (Hasselt, 30 August 1968) studied plant biotechnology and bioengineering (chemistry) at the universities of Hasselt and Ghent, and obtained a master's degree in business administration at the University of Liège. 

She started her professional career in 1995 as a university development cooperation officer at Ghent University, where she was responsible for the administrative and financial coordination of development cooperation projects of regional and federal governments (VLIR, ABOS/DGIS and BTC programs), of international organisations (World Bank, UNDP, UNU ...) and of NGO’s. Ann coordinated IUS programs in Zambia, Vietnam, Ecuador and South Africa during that period. 

From 2006 until 2020, Ann was employed by Hasselt University where she managed the central departments of Research Coordination, University Library and Internationalisation & Development Cooperation as Director of Research and Internationalisation. She helped shape the research policy and external funding programmes at various levels - from Flemish to European - and externally represented Hasselt University's research policy and research competences in various councils and committees, including management positions on boards of directors - Hercules Foundation and VLAIO decision-making committee.

Since March 2020, she is General Manager at ITM.