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The Executive Board of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) has appointed Professor Karen Maex as the new dean of the Faculty of Science (FNWI). Maex is a full professor of Material Physics for Nanoelectronics, and until recently was vice-rector at the University of Leuven. She will succeed Professor Kareljan Schoutens effective from 1 January 2014. Pending a positive decision regarding the establishment of the Amsterdam Faculty of Science (AFS), it is the intention of the Executive Boards of the UvA and VU to appoint Maex as dean of the AFS.

Prof Karen Maex

Louise Gunning, president of the UvA Executive Board: ‘It’s significant that a woman with the scientific stature  of Karen Maex wants to take responsibility for our science faculty for the coming years. She shares our ambitions with respect to teaching and research and has extensive executive experience at a leading university. I’m convinced she will take the exact sciences in Amsterdam to an even higher level.’

Karen Maex has simultaneously been appointed dean of the Faculty of Sciences (FEW) and the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences (FALW) of VU University Amsterdam (VU). Professor Maex succeeds Professor Hubertus Irth of the FEW and Professor Bauke Oudega of the FALW. Karen Maex has stated that she values continuity in the leadership of the faculties involved.  Accordingly, and in consultation with the UvA and VU Executive Boards, she asked Hubertus Irth (FEW) en Kareljan Schoutens (FNWI) if they would be available for positions as vice-deans. Professor Irth has accepted, while Professor Schoutens, after six years of executive positions at the UvA’s Institute of Theoretical Physics, Institute of Science and Faculty of Science, has indicated he wishes to return to his professorship. A second vice-dean with an FNWI background  will therefore be recruited in the near future. At the request of Professor Maex, Bauke Oudega (dean FALW), Ben Cornelissen (vice-dean FNWI) and Kareljan Schoutens have all agreed to continue to be actively involved in the integration of the science faculties.

Amsterdam Faculty of Science

Earlier in 2013, the UvA and VU decided to integrate their science faculties in the joint Amsterdam Faculty of Science (AFS) as soon as possible. The decision-making process will be finalised after consultations with the different representative staff and student bodies of both universities have been completed. It has been agreed with these bodies that, pending discussions between the two Executive Boards, decisions can be made that will facilitate a rapid realisation of the AFS following a positive decision. The appointment of a high-powered and internationally renowned dean represents part of this process. Among other things, it guarantees collaboration between the faculties concerned, thus allowing the UvA and VU to continue to offer and improve degree programmes and to invest in research.

About Karen Maex

Karen Maex has been a professor of Material Physics for Nanoelectronics at the University of Leuven since 1998, and became a full professor there in 2003. Under her tenure, a strong research collaboration was developed with the Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC) in Leuven, where she held several research-related executive positions. She has extensive executive experience in the national and international context. In 2008, she became a member of the Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT). As vice-rector of the University of Leuven, she was responsible for the Science & Technology group from 2005 to 2013.  Given her executive experience and superior qualities, the Executive Boards of both the UvA and VU have every confidence in how she will fulfil the roles.

About the faculty

The UvA’s Faculty of Science (FNWI) offers teaching and research in different disciplines: Physics, Astronomy, Mathematics, Biology, Physical Geography, Computing Science and Chemistry. The FNWI occupies a prominent place internationally with respect to its research areas and participates in a large number of collaborative projects with both universities and businesses. The Faculty has approximately 4,000 students and 1,500 staff members, and is located at Science Park Amsterdam.