Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KULeuven)

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The objective of a university is the free and disinterested search for truth. Nothing more than that, but nothing less either. All its other objectives are derivate concretisations of that foundation, namely the well-known trio: scientific research, which searches for the truth; research-based education, which instructs and moulds one towards the truth; and science-based service to society, which assists the truth.

In point of fact, these objectives are so divergent that it seems almost impossible to practice them concurrently: providing a haven to the successors of Aristotle and Newton, teaching an 18-year old how to use a test-tube and voicing opinions on current affairs have so little in common intrinsically that they need an underlying, unifying principle. This principle is to be found precisely in that free and disinterested quest for the truth. Moreover, it is this principle that distinguishes universities fundamentally from all the other participants in the scientific world, which each have differing final goals. When this essential but very fragile principle is threatened, by us or by the outside world, it sickens our soul. Conversely, a university which continues to seek the truth and a society which enthusiastically dares to make that search possible, guarantee the best possible future together, both for themselves and for one another.

Self-evidently, such a fundamental principle must be practiced. Amongst other things, we do this by creating and developing the optimal circumstances for both small-scale and large-scale research, by offering education of the best possible quality, oriented towards independence and the stimulation of an inquisitive disposition, and by manifesting ourselves in the many areas of society where scientific contributions are needed or relevant. In doing all this, we endeavour to create a clear profile, in which our Catholic nature is never repudiated, but which also provides space for philosophical and ideological openness.

We don’t make things easy for ourselves. After all, truth and science only flourish and prosper when they are inspired by the co-operation of active commitment, playful creativity, an ancient value system and a professional framework. This does not just happen, nor do we just make it happen. To work is to work together; not working together is a waste of time. That is why we are organically united to a number of partners, for example the Campus Kortrijk, the University Hospitals or K.U.Leuven Research & Development, all of which are entities that operate fairly independently and are yet inextricable parts of K.U.Leuven. We co-operate closely with the City of Leuven and the Province of Flemish-Brabant, as well as with the Flemish and national governments and our kindred spirit in Louvain-la-Neuve, the UCL. We play a driving and guiding role in the promising collaborative venture of the K.U.Leuven Association. We maintain an abiding bond of friendship and mutual commitment with our thousands of alumni. We search continuously for international partners with whom we can exchange researchers or students or with whom we can join forces in scientific collaborations. Leru and the Coïmbra-group are only two of the important international university organisations in which K.U.Leuven actively participates.

We accomplish all of the above in a strong, close community of people, which also provides space for diversity, marked individuality and even well-founded contrariness, but not for alienating cliques or counterproductive ‘baronies’. Clarity with respect to our policies will contribute to achieving these goals. These policies must not determine what a researcher researches or what a lecturer lectures. However, they must ensure that the preconditions are stipulated in order for research and education to take place under the best possible circumstances. The contribution of administrative services (service being the operative word), unavoidable in large organisations, must be able to withstand the tests of common sense and necessity. A number of elements are indispensable in this regard, such as a policy of diversity that allows every talent to thrive and a staff policy that results in tangibly increasing satisfaction, by making it possible to combine one’s professional and private life easily, for example.

One thing at least should be fairly obvious: K.U.Leuven is an extremely complex whole, with extremely multifaceted ambitions. This website will assist you in forming an image of those aspirations and ambitions. I wish you much wonder, surprise and amazement whilst you explore it.

(Source : http://www.kuleuven.be/about/welcome.html )

The HCI research group within KULeuven has been the core development group of ARIADNE. Research in the HCI group focuses on how people interact with information, relying on language technology (including text and multimedia mining), visualization and computer graphics. The focus is on new algorithms and interaction techniques, using the full spectrum of hardware from small mobile devices to large multi- touch displays. Applications include technology enhanced learning, music, research information systems and virtual worlds.

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