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Prof. K.I.J. (Karen) Maex

Rector Magnificus UvA
Executive Staff
Photographer: Sander Nieuwenhuys

Visiting address
  • Hogehilweg 21
Contact details
  • Profile

    Current position

    Prof. Karen Maex has been appointed Rector Magnificus of the University of Amsterdam as from 1 June 2016. 


    Karen Maex (b. 1959) is a native of Belgium, where she earned her doctorandus degree in Civil Engineering with a specialisation in microelectronics in 1982. She did her doctoral work as a research assistant at KU Leuven, taking her doctorate in 1987.  

    Previous positions


    In 1989 Maex was appointed university lecturer at KU Leuven, and subsequently as senior university lecturer in 1998, where for many years she taught the Master's course in Material Physics for Nanoelectronics and shared responsibility for the Bachelor's course in Semiconductor Physics. From 1999 until 2005 she was also affiliated with the University of Pavia, in Italy, as a guest lecturer in the European Master's in Material Science. In 2001 Maex was appointed to a professorship at the KU and in 2002 became programme director of its international Erasmus Mundus Master's programme in Nanosciences and Nanotechnology, which was set up under her initiative. In 2003 she was promoted to full professor. 


    After obtaining her doctorate in 1987, Karen Maex took an appointment as research director of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) and conducted groundbreaking research into the use of nanotechnology in electronics at the IMEC (Interuniversity Micro-Electronics Centre). From 1996 she held various positions at the IMEC, including as the programme director of different divisions. In 2002 she became a member of KU Leuven's Research Council. As author and co-author of various scientific publications, Maex has been a significant contributor to work at KU Leuven on material properties in micro and nano structures, in which she has also supervised (and co-supervised) numerous doctoral researchers. 

    Policy and advisory work

    Maex has held the position of IMEC Fellow and strategic research adviser since 2001. From 2005 until 2013 she was KU Leuven's first female vice-rector, appointed to the Science & Technology group, with responsibility for multiple faculties, departments and research centres, as well as for diversity policy. In addition, Maex has been a member of the Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) since 2008, where she focuses on international viewpoints on education and research. From 2009 until 2013 she was also a member of the Board of Directors of the IMEC. Maex was dean of the University of Amsterdam's (UvA) Faculty of Science and dean of VU University Amsterdam's faculties of Sciences and Earth & Life Sciences from 1 January 2014 to 31 May 2016.

  • Responsibilities
    • Teaching and research policies
    • Professorial appointments policy
    • Student policy
    • Internationalisation
    • Central Student Council
    • Senate, University Committee on Education, University Committee on Research
    • VSNU Rectors of the Dutch Universities
  • Ancillary activities
    No ancillary activities