The Data Analytics Laboratory within the Business Technology & Operations (BUTO) department at the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences and Solvay Business School is looking for a highly motivated candidate with strong abilities and interest to perform research in the field of data analytics for carrying out a research project in close collaboration with a company, with the aim to obtain a Ph.D. degree in Applied Economics.

The topic of the research project concerns the development of a framework for integrating data analytics applications and the development of profit-driven data analytics to support customer relationship management, with the aim to optimize customer lifetime value, by analysing large amounts of structured customer interaction data, marketing campaign data and financial information. By integrating various types of analyses and predictions, the aim is to provide detailed and actionable insight and feedback for optimized managerial decision-making.

The candidate is expected to conceptually develop and implement these applications by analysing available real-life data in close collaboration with and at location of the involved company. The project will require a thorough study of analytical approaches as well as the specific field of application. Upon successful realization of the project, the candidate will dispose of a strong theoretical knowledge as well as practical experience in applying and implementing analytics projects within a company setting.

The Data Analytics Laboratory is a vibrant research team of data scientists which actively engage in research projects with the industry for developing innovative business applications of Big Data Analytics. For more information, visit


Teaching exercises related to the course Statistics II for economic sciences to bachelor students.
Supervising bachelor paper and master thesis projects.
The teaching assignment relates to the research project, and will allow the candidate to reinforce his/her background knowledge on basic statistical principles, underlying the more advanced data analytical approaches.


The candidate will have to assist in surveying the computer rooms (one evening per week, 16h-20h).


Place of employment: Brussels (VUB, campus Etterbeek). For more information, please contact Wouter Verbeke: +32 629 20 53 or


The candidate has an academic Master degree in Engineering, Computer Science, Business Engineering, Applied Economics, Applied Sciences or Sciences (e.g. Mathematics, Informatics, etc.), and combines strong quantitative and problem solving skills with a profound interest in business and management.

Excellent written and spoken knowledge of Dutch and English.

Preferably, the candidate possesses the following skills and knowledge:

Knowledge of data analysis (statistics, analytics, machine learning)
Programming skills (e.g., R, Matlab, SAS, Python, Java)
Strong communication skills verbal and written (essential!)


As an employee of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel your days will be spent in a dynamic, diverse and multilingual environment. Both our campuses are set within green oases on the outskirts of the centre of the capital of Flanders, Belgium and Europe. This centre, with all its opportunities, is within your reach by public transport in under half an hour.

Depending on your experience and academic merits you will receive a salary on one of the pay scales laid down by the government. Hospitalisation cover and free use of public transport for travel to and from work are standard conditions of employment. If you would rather cycle to work, compensation is also available for that. Both campuses have extensive sporting facilities which are at your disposal and a nursery is within walking distance.
More information is available at under the heading “future employees”.

Additional information

  • Planned starting date: 01/12/2017
  • Length of contract: 1 year, initially, extendable upon positive evaluation
  • Deadline for application: 31/11/2017
  • Contact person Wouter Verbeke
  • Contact telephone +32 2 629 20 53
  • Contact e-mail
  • Applications can be submitted directly by contacting or online via the website of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel

All applications must at least include the following attachments:

  • A CV
  • A concise motivation of the reason for applying including relevant experience (research activities, study stays etc.)
  • A copy of the master degree

Data Science Meetup about the Panama Papers with Mar Cabra


There was a big crowd attending inspiring talk by Mar Cabra from ICIJ last Thursday at the Data Science Meetup at the VUBrussels.

mar cabraMar gave a whole new meaning to Messi data. This data was originally obtained from an anonymous source by reporters at the German newspaper Süeddeustche Zeitung, who asked ICIJ to organize a global reporting collaboration to analyze the files.

More than 370 reporters in nearly 80 countries probed the files for a year. Their investigations uncovered the secret offshore holdings of 12 world leaders, more than 128 other politicians and scores of fraudsters, drug traffickers and other criminals whose companies had been blacklisted in the US and elsewhere.

Here is the link to her presentation.

The data is available and can be downloaded ! users are now able to search through the data and visualize the networks around thousands of offshore entities, including, when available, Mossack Fonseca’s internal records of the company’s true owners. The interactive database  also includes information about more than 100,000 additional companies that were part of the 2013 ICIJ Offshore Leaks investigation.

Try it yourself and download the database:

Some interesting links:

We were very happy that she could come to do this for our community. Although we did not record the presentation, here are two videos for info:

How the ICIJ Used Neo4j to Unravel the Panama Papers – Mar Cabra
(very similar to last night, from GraphConnect Europe in London on 26th April);

The Making of a Scoop – The Panama Papers (W.Krach,
Süddeutsche Zeitung & K.Auletta) | DLDnyc 16




The Panama Papers is a global investigation into the sprawling, secretive industry of offshore that the world’s rich and powerful use to hide assets and skirt rules by setting up front companies in far-flung jurisdictions.
Based on a trove of more than 11 million leaked files, the investigation exposes a cast of characters who use offshore companies to facilitate bribery, arms deals, tax evasion, financial fraud and drug trafficking.
Behind the email chains, invoices and documents that make up the Panama Papers are often unseen victims of wrongdoing enabled by this shadowy industry.

New Years Drink @VUB – Januari 21 18:30

meetup marketing


Dear Friends,

You are kindly invited to our New Year’s drink in the Opinio @VUB after our first meetup of the year focusing on Climate change and what the data science community could do.

Join us next Thursday 21/1 at the VUB for a #Data4Good meetup organised by the Brussels Data Science Community about Climate and #datascience with Kris Peeters, Philippe Van Impe, Jeff R Noel, Matthew Porcelli, Christophe Vercarre, Maarten Lambrechts.

Register Here

Please Please engage with us often


18:30 Update on the activities of the HUB and the latest news on our community

19:00 The weather Company shows their dataset and how it can be used.

• Part 1: Why Businesses Can Create Better Outcomes as the Climate Changes

 Description: Climate change is causing more extreme weather.  Businesses and governments must prepare for extreme weather.  There is no reason weather is an excuse for poor outcomes (business and public), better decisions can be made.

 Speaker and biography:  Jeff Noel, The Weather Company, Business Development Director – IBM Strategic Partnership
— Topics covered by the first topic:    == Big Data and IoT:  Why weather is a Big Deal to IBM and you    == Leveraging data to make decisions that make a difference: Examples    == Preparing for the Future

• Part 2: Weather Data, a true IOT Story

 Description: The Weather Company collects data from many sources and uses this data to improve understanding of current conditions and forecasts globally.  The data is extensive and easily leveraged to deliver new solutions.

 Speaker and biography:  Matthew Porcelli, The Weather Company, Senior Sales Engineer – IBM Partnership     —

— Topics covered by the second topic:    == Explore why weather data is a key part of IOT:  Types and structure    == Enterprise Global data from APIs:  API structure and using the data    == There is so much more!

19:45 Christophe Vercarre is active in different sustainability projects from Futureproofed.

Futureproofed is the leading sustainability consultancy in Belgium since 14 years, addressing climate change with business models, objectively measuring and mapping organisations’ impact, developing best possible business solutions to minimise environmental impact and market testing them with customers for maximum revenue impact. Serge de Gheldere and his international team of engineers and economists develop tools and strategies for decision-makers in a climate-challenged and competitive world.

20:05 The stories of  Maarten Lambrechts can be found in De TIJD, he is a Data  visualizer and storyteller and has prepared a story on “How Belgium is heating up, the making of”

20:30 Kris Peeters is the founder of Dataminded, a company specialized in Datascience and BigData technology. His talk will focus on “how can we help climate scientists with modern data technology?” – Kris build a ‘open source’ demo using 4 years NASA satellite pictures of the world showing how CO2 is spread over the countries.

Inline image 1

21:00 New Years Drink at the Opinio




List of Open Data Portals from Around the World by


We will have a special meetup about Using Open data to promote Data Innovation on Thursday, November 26, 2015 @VUB. Here is a Comprehensive List of Open Data Portals from Around the World. is the most comprehensive list of open data portals in the world. It is curated by a group of leading open data experts from around the world – including representatives from local, regional and national governments, international organisations such as the World Bank, and numerous NGOs.

The alpha version of was launched at OKCon 2011 in Berlin. We have plenty of useful improvements and features in the pipeline, which will be launched over the coming months.

If you have an idea for a feature you think we should add, please let us know via the discussion forum.

open data

The Open Definition sets out principles that define “openness” in relation to data and content.

It makes precise the meaning of “open” in the terms “open data” and “open content” and thereby ensures quality and encourages compatibility between different pools of open material.

It can be summed up in the statement that:

“Open means anyone can freely access, use, modify, and share for any purpose(subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness).”

Put most succinctly:

“Open data and content can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone forany purpose

Meetup – OCT22 – Brussels – A journey through advanced analytics in insurance


Data science is going to drastically change the insurance industry. Through the analysis and exploitation of massive data, the possibilities opened up by Big Data will have a long-term impact on the market. Data science will allow insurance companies to offer better services individually adjusted to the uses and needs of its beneficiaries.


18:30 monthly update by Philippe Van Impe

19:00  « Geographical pricing in Motor Insurance »
by Xavier Maréchal from Reacfin.

19:25 « A journey through advanced analytics in insurance »
by Colin Molter from AXA

19:50 « Data-drive valuation as an alternative for a grid @ fire insurance  »
by Michaël Peeters from Mimec

20:15 « Overview of the activities of the Fintech community »
by Eric Rodriguez &  Toon Vanagt

20:40 « series of open 5 minutes presentation from anyone with an opinion or interesting project »

  • Noisy Channels by Filip Deryckere
  • Brainvolve by Steven De Blieck
  • by Tomas Broodcoorens

21:10 Netorking at the Opinio

Register for free:

The Value of Advanced Analytics in the Insurance business

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015, 6:30 PM

VUB Pleinlaan 2B – 1050 Brussels, BE

123 Business & Data Science pro’s Attending

Data science is going to drastically change the insurance industry. Through the analysis and exploitation of massive data, the possibilities opened up by Big Data will have a long-term impact on the market. Data science will allow insurance companies to offer better services individually adjusted to the uses and needs of its beneficiaries.Agenda:…

Check out this Meetup →

Meetup – VUB – 24/9 – How Data Science is Transforming Sales and Marketing

  Patrick Glenisson Eric Lecoutre carl


18:30 monthly update by Philippe Van Impe

  • Official opening of the HUB with Alexander De Croo on 20/10
  • How to benefit from the training facilities from ‘European Data Innovation Hub’ – here is the overview of the trainings organized.
  • How to benefit from the DataScience co-working space
  • Nice list of outstanding job opportunities

19:00 « evolution of the Marketing story seen by marketing executive from fintech  » 
Gunter Uytterhoeven, Chief Marketing Officer & Head of Transformation at AXA

19:30 «Humanizing data, focusing on the impact of the consumer on how marketing and sales is done today»
Claudine Knop, Managing Director at DataBase Management

20:00 « architectural view on what is needed to have a nice big data environment generating valuable insights »
Patrick Glenisson, Managing Consultant at Business & Decision
Eric Lecoutre, Analytical Thinker – Fraud Analytics Domain Leader

20:30 «Test & Improve! Optimise marketing campaigns with an experimental approach »

Speaker is Carl Sablon senior data scientists specialised in marketing.

21:00 Open presentation: « series of open 5 minutes presentation from anyone who has a point of view to share »

• Peter Campbell – Data Innovation for Energy

21:30 Networking at the Opinio –


How Data Science is Transforming Sales and Marketing

Thursday, Sep 24, 2015, 6:30 PM

VUB – Aula QB
Pleinlaan 2B – 1050 Brussels, BE

131 Business & Data Science pro’s Attending

Agenda:18:30 monthly update by Philippe Van Impe• Official opening of the HUB with Alexander De Croo on 20/10• How to benefit from the training facilities from ‘European Data Innovation Hub’ – here is the overview of the trainings organized.• how to benefit from the DataScience co-working space• nice list of outstanding job opportunities19:00…

Check out this Meetup →

#datascience training programmes

Why don’t you join one of our  #datascience trainings in order to sharpen your skills.

Special rates apply if you are a job seeker.

Here are some training highlights for the coming months:

Check out the full agenda here.

Next Meetup – December 18th @ VUB – Big Data & Data Science


I’m please to invite you to our next meetup focused on Big Data and  Data Science.

Here is the agenda:

Dedicated session on Big Data. Our friends from wil explain what issues that terabites of data bring and what architectures are required to be able to manage it. We will have Agoria talking about key projects they support where data analytics plays  a major role, followed by talks from companies involved in BigData projects.


•18:30 Update on resent activities and evolutions by Philippe Van Impe

• 19:00 Wim Van Leuven about Big Data and the influence of data science

• 19:30 Daan Gerits about the technological challenges around BigData and how the ideal IT architecture should look like

• 20:00 Ferdinand Casier about 2 running projects at Agoria (EluciDATA and Made Different) where companies of different sectors are supported in their data innovation and data analytics challenge..

• 20:45 Karim Douïeb The pro & cons of the open-source data analytics cluster computing framework called Spark. How it is helping us to perform analytics on large amount of telco/banking data. How to convey the insights provided by this analysis through data visualisation using D3.js

• 21:30 Networking in Kultuurkaffee – X-mas party !

Big Data & Data Sciences

Thursday, Dec 18, 2014, 6:30 PM

VUB – lokaal D.0.02 – max 170 plaatsen !
Pleinlaan 2 B-1050 Brussel Brussels, BE

95 Business & Data Science pro’s Attending

Dedicated session on Big Data. Our friends from wil explain what issues that terabites of data bring and what architectures are required to be able to manage it. We will have Agoria talking about key projects they support where data analytics plays  a major role, followed by talks from companies involved in BigData projects.Agenda:•18:…

Check out this Meetup →

You are invited – The business value of the ‘Internet of things’

The Belgian Internet of Things Community and the Brussels Data Science Community is happy to invite you to their seminar about IoT analytics that is taking place at the VUB on November 18th 18:30. You are welcome to join more that 200 experts for this exclusive & non-commercial event in Brussels.


Interconnected sensors and objects will soon deliver big business benefits

The IoT (Internet of things) has the potential to transform business. Promising unprecedented connectivity between objects and the gathering of massive amounts of data, IoT will soon deliver significant business benefits to organizations. But how can these organisations prepare themselves and discover what opportunities and efficiencies IoT can bring to them.

Already the first projects have delivered positive ROI. Resource monitoring, usage pattern tracking, just-in-time delivery of goods and services — some IoT pioneers have launched or are deploying projects, and they’re seeing positive results.

But if your organization is looking to explore IoT as a business strategy, be warned that a number of technical and administrative challenges await you. Here’s a look at the opportunities, hurdles, and new skills required to make the most of this intersection of Web-enabled physical objects and the deluge of data they will bring.


What exactly is the Internet of things?


At its heart, IoT is a wide-ranging ecosystem of everyday physical objects connected to the Internet, capable of identifying themselves and communicating data to other objects on the network.

The concept initially gained traction via the Auto-ID Center, a nonprofit collaboration of private businesses and academic institutions that created a Web-like infrastructure to track goods through the use of RFID tags that carry EPCs (Electronic Product Codes).

By Web-enabling just about any type of product or equipment (vehicles, construction equipment, gas and electric meters, appliances, vending machines, and so on) the IoT will allow information about these objects to be captured, resulting in a network of “smart objects” that can actively participate in a variety of business processes.

Fueling the IoT revolution is a combination of ubiquitous connectivity, low-cost sensors, and microelectronics that allow almost anything to be connected to the Internet. The greatest enabler of IoT applications for business may be the smartphone, with its ability to optically scan bar codes or RFID tags.


Business opportunities

IoT presents compelling business benefits, especially for organizations prepared to make the most of its stream of real-time data.

Cisco estimates that 50 billion devices and objects will be connected to the Internet by 2020. Yet today, more than 99 percent of things in the physical world remain unconnected. The growth and convergence of processes, data, and things on the Internet will make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before. This growth creates unprecedented opportunities for industries, businesses, and people .



EMC and IDC see the Internet of Things (IoT) creating new opportunities for business in five main ways:


  • New business models:  The IoT will help companies create new value streams for customers, institute processes that speed time to market, triage market performance, and respond rapidly to customer needs.
  • Real-time information on mission-critical systems:  With IoT, organizations can capture more data about their processes and products in a more timely fashion to create new revenue streams, improve operational efficiency, and increase customer loyalty.
  • Diversification of revenue streams:  The IoT can help companies create new services and new revenue streams on top of traditional products, e.g., vending machine vendors offering inventory management to those who supply the goods in the machine.
  • Global visibility:  The IoT will make it easier for enterprises to see across the business regardless of location, including tracking effectiveness and efficacy from one end of the supply chain to the other.
  • Efficient, intelligent operations:  Access to information from autonomous end points, as today’s smart grid already supplies to utility companies, will allow organizations to make on-the-fly decisions on pricing, logistics, sales, and support deployment, etc.

Challenges to address

The real benefits of the Internet of Things will not, however, be realized until leading companies develop the next generation of applications that address specific business needs from this wealth of data. It is within the Internet of Things that we’ll see a new generation of applications, such as:

  • Predictive maintenance:  predict when and how a device will fail and what replacement and maintenance parts and service personnel skills will be required to preempt the failure
  • Loss prevention:  monitor device and network usage to flag unusual usage situations that may be indicators of revenue loss and theft
  • Asset utilization:  monitor and predict asset utilization under a number of different usage scenarios in order to improve asset, device, and node utilization
  • Inventory tracking:  monitor inventory levels and inventory assets to minimize loss and waste and improve inventory utilization
  • Disaster planning and recovery:  model different disaster scenarios and likely device and network usage requirements to proactively plan for disaster situations (e.g., hurricanes, ice storms, tornados, earthquakes, Zodiac Killers)
  • Downtime minimization:  leverage predictive maintenance and inventory tracking to identify high-probability downtime situations and ensure that the right maintenance and replacement parts are available, as well as the right skilled service personnel
  • Energy usage optimization:  optimize energy usage given current and historical device performance, historical and predicted energy costs, and device performance requirements
  • Device performance effectiveness:  monitor and optimize individual device performance/throughput based upon historical performance, given certain workloads and environmental conditions and coupled with a detailed profile of the performance behaviors of that device or node
  • Network performance management:  monitor and manage/fine-tune the performance of a network of devices given current load, required performance requirements (service level agreements), and forecasted performance requirements
  • Capacity utilization:  reallocate device resources and jobs to optimize network and device performance given the history of device interactions and current and forecasted performance requirements
  • Capacity planning:  predictive and prescriptive analytics that model product and device usage and in real time, make resource allocations and automate the provisioning of new capabilities (turning on and off capacity as dictated by the predictive models) in order to ensure the required capacity at the optimal price
  • Demand forecasting:  leverage device behavioral models, actual usage patterns and trends, and external factors (weather, traffic, events) to forecast longer-term network configurations and product and network build out
  • Pricing optimization:  understand device usage patterns, coupled with demand forecasting, to optimize device and network pricing—lowering pricing when demand is low and increasing pricing when demand is higher; almost like surge pricing, but hopefully without the same customer satisfaction issues
  • Yield management:  optimizing device and network usage to extract the most value out of the overall network capacity and capabilities
  • Loading balancing optimization:  balancing usage load in light of forecasted demand to ensure that all nodes are being utilized equally and to avoid performance bottlenecks


Is your organisation ready, are you ?

While the technology challenges in capturing, managing, backing up, securing, and analyzing these huge volumes of real-time data are significant, the biggest challenges are, first and foremost, organizational. Here are three steps all organizations must contemplate to prepare for these monetization opportunities:

  • Create a C-level position in charge of identifying and overseeing new digital business opportunities:  whether it involves creating a new position (e.g., Chief Digital Officer), or an enhancing an existing one (e.g., upgrading the CIO’s current responsibilities), the executive would be responsible for identifying and pursuing new analysis-driven revenue streams.
  • Develop and continuously revise an executive-team understanding of the new digital landscape for your enterprise:  who are the new (and potential) digital competitors? How are you going to cooperate with others in your industry to anticipate and thwart digital disruption? What are the short- and long-term steps you must take to ensure a smooth and timely digital transformation?
  • Design and execute a plan for accelerated investments in digital enterprise technologies and skills:  re-allocate resources across the business based on key business initiative, invest in promising data collection and analysis areas, and identify the gaps in talent and skills required for success in the era of the Third Platform.

Increased investment in human capital and the new skills required today is the first order of business for all organizations. However, organizations need to invest the time to make sure where and how to start; to drive collaborate between IT and key business executives to understand or envision the realm of what’s possible with respect to these new sources of data and advanced analytics. And organizations need to integrate and/or expand their user experience expertise and capabilities in order to exploit the move to the third platform.

Remember: organizations don’t need a Big Data strategy to exploit the digital universe; organizations need a business plan that integrates the data and capabilities enabled by Big Data and the digital universe.


Your next step:

Join or meetup on November 18th.

Data Science and the Internet of Things

Tuesday, Nov 18, 2014, 6:30 PM

VUB – Aula QD
Pleinlaan 2B – 1050, Brussels Brussels, BE

110 Business & Data Science pro’s Attending

In collaboration with the IoTBE – the Belgian Internet of Things CommunityAgenda:18:30 – Update on our Data4Good  activities with Doctors without borders (MSF)18:45 – Update on our Hands-On session about Social Network Analysis19:00 – Presentation – The Internet of Things & Data Sciences – Mr Frederik Santens (IoT be group)19:30 – Presentatio…

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Meetup – IoT – Internet of Things – November 18th 2014

In total >200 professionals have already registered to our next meetup that will be organised together with the Internet of Things User Group of Belgium.

Presenters will explain the different concepts of IoT and clarify how datasciences is playing a major role in this revolution.

Join us at the VUB on November 18th at 18:30.



18:30 – Update on our Data4Good  activities with Doctors without borders (MSF)

18:45 – Update on our Hands-On session about Social Network Analysis

19:00 – Presentation – The Internet of Things & Data Sciences – Mr Frederik Santens (IoT be group)

19:30 – Presentation – Erik Mannens, Prof. PhD. MEng. MSc.- Prof. on Big Data Semantics @ iMinds-MMLab

20:15 – Presenation – Prof. Ann Nowé, head of the VUB ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE LAB.

21:00 – Round Tabel Q&A & Wrap up Philippe Van Impe

21:30 – Networking in KultuurKaffee – Celebrating our >500 members


IOT                      IoT Be User Group


Data Science and the Internet of Things

Tuesday, Nov 18, 2014, 6:30 PM

VUB – Aula QB
Pleinlaan 2B – 1050 Brussels, BE

107 Business & Data Science pro’s Attending

In collaboration with the IoTBE – the Belgian Internet of Things CommunityAgenda:18:30 – Update on our Data4Good  activities with Doctors without borders (MSF)18:45 – Update on our Hands-On session about Social Network Analysis19:00 – Presentation – The Internet of Things & Data Sciences – Mr Frederik Santens (IoT be group)19:30 – Presentatio…

Check out this Meetup →


Data Science and the Internet of Things

Tuesday, Nov 18, 2014, 6:30 PM

VUB – Aula QB
Pleinlaan 2B – 1050 Brussels, BE

83 Smart People Attending

In collaboration with the Brussels Data Science Meetup!Agenda• 19:00 – How smart does the Internet of Things needs to be? by Frederik Santens• 19:30 – Semantic Annotation and Reasoning for Sensor Data by Erik Mannens, Prof. PhD. MEng. MSc.- Prof. on Big Data Semantics @ iMinds-MMLab• 20:15 – Presenation – Prof. Ann Nowé, head of the VUB ARTIFI…

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Meetup – Datascience and Marketing

Forward this to the best marketing person you know.

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