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Leuven strengthens ties even further with India

13 February 2019

A high-level delegation from Leuven is on a week’s visit to New Delhi, Gwalior and Bangalore in order to strengthen the ties with their Indian counterparts. The delegation is headed by Mayor Mohamed Ridouani, Prof. Dr. Luc Sels, Vice-Chancellor of the KU Leuven and Mr. Peter Van Biesbroeck, CEO of VOKA.


The city of Leuven, close to the heart of Europe, is internationally renowned for its unique innovative ecosystem where companies, public authorities and the knowledge institutions closely collaborate. This is largely driven by the KU Leuven, which is Europe’s most innovative university (Reuters 2016-2017-2018). This collaborative model is known as the Leuven triple-helix ecosystem Leuven MindGate.

In November 2017, the City of Leuven and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), establishing collaboration in the fields of education, smart city technology and city administration, amongst others. This week’s visit secured the successful follow-up of this partnership. Chairman Naresh Kumar and the NDMC-team warmly received the delegation, and organised a series of technical meetings, as well as several site visits. The University College Leuven-Limburg (UCLL) initiated a training-the-teachers program for 800 NDMC secondary school teachers.

The Embassy of Belgium hosted a round-table discussion on connecting Leuven and India’s innovation ecosystem, with the participation of AGNI India and IIT Delhi, amongst others. Mayor Ridouani delivered a speech focusing on Leuven’s ambition to become climate neutral by 2030 at TERI’s World Sustainable Development Summit. During a networking reception hosted by H.E. Ambassador François Delhaye, two MoUs were been signed between VOKA, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Flemish-Brabant, and the Indian Chemical Council, and the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry respectively.

The academic delegation counts beside VC Prof. Dr. Luc Sels also Prof. Dr. Peter Lievens, Deputy VC International Relations, Dr. An Descheemaeker, the Director of the International Office and Mr. Bart Hendrickx, the Head of Academic Diplomacy. The KULeuven University aims to forge ties with leading Indian Universities for the exchange of their respective best students. Meetings with Delhi University, JNU and Jindhal Global Universities have proven fruitful already. The delegation will continue to Bangalore, amongst others for meetings with IISB and IIMB.

In the coming days, the Leuven delegation will visit Gwalior. Under the EU-funded International Urban Cooperation (IUC) Scheme, both cities will deepen their cooperation. As part of Gwalior’s Smart City Project, the cooperation will focus on heritage as a driver for urban development, and incubators as an ecosystem for an innovative economy.

The above mentioned contacts and projects (by the City, by the University, by the Chamber of Commerce) are exemplary of the triple-helix model, Leuven’s winning strategy of international outreach.

Source: Embassy of Belgium, New Delhi (India)

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