Narrative Biography – Prof. dr. ir. Jan Cornelis

Jan Cornelis (M’80) received his MS degree in Electronics and Electro-mechanics from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in 1973, and the PhD degree in Applied Sciences (biomedical engineering) in 1980. He started his university career in 1973 and co-created the new Department of Electronics (VUB-ETRO). Biomedical signal processing became his major research interest as a postdoctoral researcher in the Cardiology Department of the academic hospital (UZ Jette). From 1983 onwards, he became fulltime professor, with various teaching duties in design of electronic circuits, digital image processing, medical imaging and security statistics. From 01.03.1995 till 30.09.2004 he was also scientific collaborator in the department “Systèmes Logiques et NumĂ©riques” of ULB (UniversitĂ© Libre de Bruxelles). He was head of the Department of Electronics and Informatics (ETRO) at VUB, till September 2008. He was coordinator of the research group IRIS (computer vision, image processing) till 2017. His current research interest is in data analysis, and medical imaging. Jan Cornelis is author or co-author of more than 600 international publications in journals and conference proceedings, promoter of 27 successful PhDs and (co)inventor in 4 patents. Web of Science (all data bases): h-index 18; Web of science (core collection): h-index 17; Scopus: h-index: 23. He has been member of several conference program committees, reviewer at FWO, FNRS, IWT and Innoviris (science foundations in Belgium) and several foreign science agencies, as well as reviewer for diverse international (e.g. IEEE) journals. Within the ETRO department he was coordinating the technology transfer activities till end 2015. He has practical experience with spin off creation: Exia, Softkinetic-Optrima, UD, Aquantis, Ecqologic.

"I like ETRO’s out of the box research and true innovation, addressing worldwide challenges, in a cosmopolitan ecosystem based on free inquiry and without geopolitical constraints"

He received in 2015 the Chinese state friendship award and previously a similar award of the province of Shaanxi for his early involvement in cooperation with Chinese universities including technology transfer.

From 2001 onwards, Jan Cornelis has taken up various central university governance functions inside VUB – Vicerector R&D, coordinator Technology Transfer and Vicerector International Policy,  and outside VUB -Deputy Head of Cabinet – Ministry of Innovation, co-founder and board member of BI3 and Qbic incubation funds, ICAB incubator, board member of IMEC (Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre – Leuven) and VIB (Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie). He has participated to university institutional audits in several countries.

Nowadays he is emeritus professor with a 10 % research appointment. His interests are in digital signal and image processing, applications of deep learning in biomedical engineering and meteorology. He is chairman of the scientific council of RMIB (Royal Meteorological Institute Belgium), international expert at CTI (Commission des titres d’ingĂ©nieur- France) and member of several networks related to university governance. He joined the editorial team of Sensors. He is Consultant professor at NPU-Xi’an since 1999; visiting professor at UO (Universidad de Oriente – Santiago de Cuba). For more details consult: ecv_biography_-Jan-Cornelis

  • Digital image and video processing, Digital signal processing, Computer vision, Pattern recognition, Machine learning and decision making, Multimedia processing.
  • Electronic circuits, System and instrumentation design, Computer architectures.
  • Biomedical engineering, Biomedical image processing, Public health care, Remote sensing, Meteorology.
  • University governance and leadership, Research  and Development management, University international policy, Knowledge and technology transfer, University audits
Academic management experience in “innovation and university knowledge transfer” 
  • Co-initiator of “BI3 NV” – incubation fund of VUB, which started in 2002, the Qbic Fund (first interuniversity early seed fund in Flanders-Brussels), He is now board member of the interuniversity Qbic Fund, where he also presides the strategic committee.

    The Qbic Fund seeks to invest in spin-off companies of the universities of Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp, leveraging the creativity of more than 8.500 researchers. This strategic alliance provides a sufficient level of critical mass to set up a sizeable, professionally managed fund. The fund mainly targets life sciences, new materials, cleantech and ICT start-ups.
  • He has co-initiated ICAB NV – Business and Technology Incubation Centre of VUB. He is now board member of ICAB NV.
  • He was successively board member, deputy of the Flemish Government in the Board of Directors of IMEC. (Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre), and afterwards board member again till 2017. He was board member at iMinds from the start as IBBT (an independent research institute funded by the Flemish government), where he was also member of the remuneration committee and member of the strategic reform committee. As member of the strategic reform committee he collaborated to the design of the strategic plan “iMinds 3.0” (2016-2021) and prepared the merger of IMEC and iMinds (September 2016).


Academic management experience in “university governance” 
  • In 2001-2008 he was Vice rector for R&D at VUB
  • In 2009 he became deputy head of cabinet in the Ministry of Science Policy and Innovation for 6 months,
  • He then acted as VUB academic coordinator Knowledge Innovation and Technology Transfer
  • From October 2012 till October 2016 he was Vicerector International Policy at VUB.
  • He has also been member and chairman in various institutional accreditation and review panels (NVAO, ANQA, University of Wien, CTI …) and panel chairman for the distinctive quality feature “entrepreneurship (NVAO). He has been active in the definition of the KPI’s for the Industrial Research Fund of the Flemish universities, the Flemish allocation policy of university research funding, and the financing model of the universities and colleges of higher Education in Flanders.
    NVAO:        The Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders NVAO
    ANQA:        National Center for Professional Education Quality Assurance Foundation
    CTI:            Commission des titres d’ingĂ©nieur- France
Professor emeritus (Today) 
  • Member of Strategic Committee in Qbic2, VC Fund of VITO, VUB, UGent, UA, ULiège
  • Member of the Board of Directors of Qbic VC Fund
  • Member of the Board of Directors of ICAB NV (Incubator)
  • Senior advisor VUB’s Brussels Diplomatic Academy; Economic Advisory Board member
  • Member of the Academic board of BACES – Brussels Academy for China EU Studies
  • Part-time Professor with research appointment at VUB-ETRO
  • Expert in two Erasmus+ capacity building projects: VETEC (Vietnam), LEAD (China)
  • Teacher in LEAD’s MOOC on University governance  and leadership – Research & Innovation
  • International expert for accreditation of engineering training and education – CTI France.
  • Master course on “Digital Signal Processing (6 ECTS) at VUB
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