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Cathy Macharis granted with the Francqui Chair 2021/2022

  • February 16, 2022

Every year the Francqui Foundation grants 'Francqui Chairs' with the aim of inviting a university professor to teach for ten hours at another Belgian university. The Francqui Chair 2021/2022 has been entrusted to Cathy Macharis, Professor and Doctor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Cathy will give a series of lectures on 12 March, 23 March, 19 April and 28 April this year. 


1. Sustainable mobility and logistics: with a factor 8 to a new mobility system

March 12, 2022, 11am - 12:30 pm

The transport sector is responsible for a quarter of the CO2 emissions. But even worse than that, their share is still increasing. The emissions should be reduced with a factor 8! In this inaugural speech, Cathy Macharis explains how we can reach this goal by starting a transition process based on 8A's: Awareness, Avoidance, Act and shift, Anticipation of new technologies but also by Accelerating, Actor involvement, Adapting behavior and being all in love!

2. How to make a change towards sustainability? - the VUB story

March 23, 2022, 10am - 12pm

In sustainability, every actor has its responsibility. We as individuals, but also the university as a whole. In this presentation Cathy Macharis shows how the VUB has been taking up this challenge with the whole institution approach. The presentation is set up according to the 6E model that allows to check how a process of change (being it at the individual level or at an organizational level) has to be set up, according to the psychological factors that play a role.

3. Decision support for sustainability

April 19, 2022, 10am - 12pm

In striving towards sustainability, complex situations require the right decisions to achieve certain, often long-term, targets. We are speaking about products, processes and various other activities that are subject of any assessment with the aim to achieve a decision that contributes positively to sustainable development. A decision process itself can show complexity as it consists of several phases - elicitation, evaluation and ensuring - and mostly includes various stakeholders with different views and objectives. In this lecture we will give an overview of methods and tools that can help to support decision-making for a more sustainable world. These can be 'hard' methods which are mostly quantitative and directly applicable or 'soft' methods which are rather qualitative or a mix of both and can serve as guidance mainly throughout the elicitation of a decision process.

4. The inconvenient thruth revisited

April 28, 2022, 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

Although the earth is warming and that is something we know is "true", "inconvenient true" itself, we fail to act on it. Denial in many forms keeps us from doing so. In this presentation, truth is further explored and I ultimately equate truth with knowledge plus emotion. Emotion that does make us move. From there I make a plea to give more room to emotions in academia. That opens up a whole new world where real connection becomes possible and so does knowledge transfer in a tranformative way. So can we come to an alignment of scientific knowledge and that what touches people?