About ETRO
Who are we?

Founded in 1971, the department of Electronics and Informatics (ETRO) has grown in size and experience over the past 50 years. Interdisciplinary from the start, ETRO is on the forefront of breakthrough innovations and openminded education. Today it is the largest department in the faculty of Engineering of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, embracing a critical mass of +150 researchers from all over the world. We organize three master programs: Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, Master of Science in Applied Computer Science and Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering. The entanglement with the faculty of medicine and pharmacy and the university hospital supports unique interdisciplinary skill development and an holistic approach on technological problem solving. We are well-known for our ability to try out new things, for our tradition of out-of-the-box thinking, our cosmopolitan attitude, our team work, and our enthusiasm to enter brand new R&D areas. Together with our international partner network, we have created an attractive ecosystem for individuals that want to be bold, take risks, and work across disciplines.


  • Delivering unique value through multidisciplinary engineering.
  • Making sense of multi-modal sensors and hyperdimensional signals/data for various sectors.
  • Venturing into the future: to nurture a dynamic, sparkling entrepreneurial academic environment.


The ETRO department prepares qualified professionals for leadership positions in industry, business, government, and education. A wide range of excellent courses taught in English and Dutch are available, for international as well as national students. They get the opportunity of benefiting from the high standards in education held at VUB. The vast platform of modern research facilities is accessible to the students via dedicated courses under the supervision of highly committed professors and staff. Students are provided with tools to become life-long learners with a critical mindset and to become participating responsible citizens. Our graduates keep a “lifelong market value”.


In R&D, ETRO prides itself on its facilities and its willingness to tackle the unknown resulting in innovative and high-quality research. ETRO is made up of three research groups (laboratories) that cover a wide range of generic technologies in Micro- and Optoelectronics, in embedded electronics, communication and networks, in Multidimensional Signal Processing and data representation, including big data, computer vision, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The R&D activities of ETRO cover fundamental and strategic basic research and these activities are recognized at university-wide level with funding coming from multiple strategic research programs (SRPs) in collaboration with other engineering departments of the university. Due to its longstanding expertise, ETRO is also recognized as a group of excellence of applied research (GEAR) funded by the Flemish industrial research fund (IOF). This has led to numerous successful spin-off initiatives and new employment.

We provide modern laboratories, where students and staff, as well as business and industry personnel, can enhance their understanding of technology.


From sensor design, data capturing and communication to advanced signal processing and physical and computational analysis.

Design, integration into systems and usage of sensors, operating in various parts of the EM spectrum, covering low (biological) frequencies (sub-kHz), the micro-, mm-wave and THz wave bands, the IR and VIS optical bands, as well as the acoustic and ultrasound domain. Sensor development includes physical interfacing, smart data acquisition systems, analogue, digital and embedded electronics, and communication techniques. At higher level, telecom research also includes components of 5G and 6G systems via the collaboration with IMEC. Also, R&D on opto-electronic, and nano-electronic technologies of tomorrow take place under the denominator: more Moore with the hybrid integration of III-V into Si technologies, developed at IMEC.

Embedded system design for wireless sensors/actuators/stimulators and optical networks, computer networking domain, Internet of Things, edge computing, GDPR where needed, encryption techniques for the data communication networks, routing algorithms, web technologies.

Data compression of 3D video, 3D graphics, and holographic data, sparse signal representations, coding theory, multidimensional signal processing, including machine vision, data fusion, registration, segmentation, pattern recognition, machine learning theory and algorithms for explainable A.I., data mining, natural language processing, advanced representation and visualization techniques, digital decision support systems, diagnostic functionality and prognostic functionality, medical imaging modalities.



Making the most of its ambitious projects requires expanding the critical mass through the creation of national and international networks, through strong long-term strategic collaboration with partners in industry and research and higher education institutes. In this field ETRO has acquired the needed credibility, thanks in part to its expertise, vision, work ethic and professional attitude, entrepreneurial vision and leadership.

The most important partners are:

  • Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC)
  • Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium (RMIB)
  • University Hospital of Brussels (UZ-B)
  • Green Energy Park (GEP)
  • Hospital Erasme
  • Université de Bruxelles (ULB)

Joint Labs have been created with the following partners:

  • University of Gent
  • University College London
  • University of Patras
  • Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne
  • Duke University

A more extended list can be found in the website section “Networks”.

ETRO has strong fruitful links with the entrepreneurial field and can be proud of its industrial network. More on the prominent role of the industrial partnerships can be found in the website section “From research to business”. ETRO has initiated several spin-off initiatives, all of which are successful in their own right.


Today the boundaries of our planet become tangible. This forces a global re-thinking, whereby the sustainable development goals of the United Nations act as a reliable compass. Growth cannot go on forever. This causes a dramatic change in the holistic view on business, governments, industry but also university education and research. We motivate the ETRO-community towards new approaches to create a true impact of ETRO’s technology and a sustained commitment to adopt a responsible mindset.

The challenging problems of today are complex problems that can only be tackled through collaborative research excellence, uniting academics from different disciplines to create fertile grounds for new ideas and interdisciplinary research:

  • We are passionate about creativity.
  • We motivate and encourage academic excellence.
  • We strive towards professionalism in our activities and our management organization.
  • We inform, inspire and influence.
  • We have a supportive and engaging attitude.
  • We take up societal responsibility.
  • We like being unreasonable in our targets, but always in a spirit of respect and ethical behavior.
  • We like crossing boundaries.
  • We create transdisciplinary partnerships within the university, as well as with business and industry, to the benefit of student learning, joint R&D and technology transfer.
  • We nurture the entrepreneurial spirit and a professional business mindset.
  • We provide an atmosphere for discovery, diversity of opinions, debate, freedom of thinking and interpersonal relations.
  • We are at the forefront of knowledge creation, enabling transformations towards a more sustainable, prosperous and healthier world.