Press Release

United Nations University Welcomes New Director of UNU-MERIT in the Netherlands

UNU is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Bartel Van de Walle as the next Director of UNU-MERIT.

The United Nations University (UNU) is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Bartel Van de Walle as the next Director of the United Nations University Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT). Professor Van de Walle will take up his position on 1 September 2020.

Prof. Van de Walle will take over from current Director Prof. Bart Verspagen, who will complete his second term on 31 August 2020. Under his directorship over the last eight years, UNU-MERIT has reinforced its role as one of the world’s leading research institutes on the economics of innovation, while expanding its research portfolio on migration, social protection, institutions and governance – topics incubated at UNU-MERIT’s School of Governance.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Prof. Van de Walle to the UNU family and I wish him every success in his new role as Director of UNU-MERIT,” said UNU Rector and United Nations Under-Secretary-General Dr. David M. Malone. “Prof. Van de Walle’s experience in leading a multidisciplinary department combined with his extensive collaborations within the UN system and beyond will greatly benefit UNU-MERIT and UNU more broadly.”

Internationally recognised for his research on information systems and decision-making, Prof. Van de Walle is a thought leader in his field. He is a Professor of Policy Analysis and Head of the Department of Multi-Actor Systems in the Faculty of Technology, Policy, and Management at the Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands. He has also held faculty positions at Tilburg University, the Netherlands and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA and was a researcher at the Nuclear Research Centre SCK·CEN, Belgium. He was previously a senior fellow with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, USA and has worked extensively with humanitarian organisations, most notably the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Prof. Van de Walle holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Ghent, Belgium (1996). He has authored around 150 peer-reviewed papers in international journals and proceedings of international conferences on issues related to information systems, decision-making and policy analysis, often in the context of humanitarian response.

The United Nations University wishes to thank warmly Professor Bart Verspagen, who has led UNU-MERIT with great success for the past eight years. Dr. Malone commented: ”Prof. Verspagen has engineered very significant growth of UNU-MERIT during his tenure without ever compromising on the quality of the Institute’s work, a signal achievement in an already distinguished career. We are very grateful to him. And throughout his term, he has greatly reinforced our rich partnership with the University of Maastricht, which we greatly value.”

Daniel Powell, UNU Principal Communications Specialist,
Howard Hudson, UNU-MERIT Head of Communications,

About the United Nations University

For the past four decades, the United Nations University (UNU) has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on the pressing global problems of human survival, development, and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 12 countries, UNU’s work spans the full breadth of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, generating policy-relevant knowledge to effect positive global change.

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