Board of Governors


Cathy Berx

Cathy Berx (Berchem, January 8, 1969) is Governor of the province of Antwerp. She received her law degree in 1993 from the University of Antwerp, where she also obtained a doctorate in public law. In this particular area, she published several books. Cathy Berx teaches as a professor at the University of Antwerp since 2000. She represented CD&V in the Flemish Parliament and was advisor to former Prime Minister Yves Leterme.

Vice Chair

Herwig Leirs

Herwig Leirs (°1963) holds a PhD in sciences (biology) from the University of Antwerp. After a period as head of department at the Danish Pest Infestation Laboratory near Copenhagen, he returned to the University of Antwerp as a professor in 2001. He is actively involved in university development cooperation, including as a member of the Development Cooperation Agency of the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR-UOS). From 2009-2015 he was dean of the Faculty of Science, since November 2016 he is chairman of the Board of Directors of the University of Antwerp.


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.

Patricia Lanssiers

Patricia Lanssiers (1961) holds a degree of pharmacy from the Free University of Brussels (ULB). She has built her expertise through more than 30 years in the innovative pharmaceutical industry (Sandoz, Novartis, and Eli Lilly). At Eli Lilly, Patricia held several national and international leadership positions in Business, Corporate Affairs and within Ethics and Compliance. She has been the Managing Director of the Belgian, Portuguese and Dutch affiliates and served as the Vice-Chair of the association of the pharmaceutical industry ‘’. Patricia was honoured by appointment as a University Medical Centre Fellow at VUB in 2014. Most recently she created her own consultancy company Pro4Pro. She is currently board member at ITM and United Funds for Belgium.

Dirk Moens

Dirk Moens, ir. In chemistry and agricultural industries, went through the ranks at ABInbev from trainee to Zone President for Asia and Pacific and also became a member of the Executive Board of Management. He lived and worked in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia. He led the European Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC, a private NGO that defends the interests of European industry in China) for 4 years as Secretary-General. For the last 4 years he has been working on a private project in Portugal in the field of responsible agriculture. Dirk is married, has 2 children and lives in Hechtel-Eksel.

Steven Serneels

Steven is board member, chair of the Corporate Social Investment Initiative and CEO ad interim of EVPA (European Venture Philanthropy Association). He is an investor and member of the Investment Committee of SI², a for profit social impact fund, providing growth capital to European for profit social enterprises. He is chairman of Kampani, a social impact investment fund to unlock the potential of entrepreneurial farming in the South. Steven also supports directly some (social) enterprises with the potential to generate major societal and/or environmental benefit.

Ajit Shetty

2007-2012 – Corporate Vice President J&J Enterprise 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. End 2015 he joined the mining company Anglo-American as Global Head of Health.

Christel Van Geet

Professor Chris Van Geet (°1961) was head of the Department of Pediatrics at UZ Leuven from 2005 until 2017 and has been vice-minister of Biomedical Sciences at KU Leuven since 2017, with university development cooperation as an additional authority. She is a candidate in psychology (1984) and a doctor in medicine, surgery and obstetrics (1986). In 1992, she obtained her doctorate for dissertation as an aggregate for higher education. Professor Van Geet is a full-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 is strongly involved in university development cooperation. She is also promoter of various VLIR-UOS projects.

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.