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VU honorary doctorate for virologist Marc Van Ranst

12 October 2022
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam awards an honorary doctorate to Professor of Virology Marc Van Ranst. Van Ranst receives the honorary doctorate for his contribution to the public debate on COVID-19. The honorary doctorate will be awarded during the Dies Natalis on 17 November, which is dedicated to 'Recognition and Rewards'. 

Marc Van Ranst is a professor of Virology at the Catholic University of Leuven. During the COVID-19 crisis, he is one of the main advisers of the Belgian government. As a virologist, he is a valued expert and interpreter in the media. Van Ranst also makes himself heard on Twitter and speaks out against sceptics. As a result, he regularly becomes a target of lawsuits and threats. "It is worrying that in this day and age even scientists cannot speak out freely. Especially in times where misinformation leads to polarisation and unrest in society, science communication is indispensable. With this honorary doctorate, we want to emphasise the important role Marc Van Ranst has played within science communication. As well as his perseverance and courage as a scientist to speak out against COVID-19 sceptics," said Jeroen Geurts, rector magnificus of VU Amsterdam.

Van Ranst will receive the honorary doctorate on the recommendation of the dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Chris Polman. 
Dies Natalis 2022
On Thursday 17 November, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam will celebrate its 142nd birthday. This year, the Dies Natalis is dedicated to 'Recognition and Rewards', an initiative of Dutch knowledge institutions and research funders to appreciate academic talent more widely. During his first Dies Natalis, rector magnificus Jeroen Geurts will share his views on these important reforms in the academic landscape. "I want to create more space for teachers and researchers to further develop within their fields and build bridges between disciplines and between science and society. The broader recognition and appreciation of diverse talent should lead, among other things, to more openness of data and education, more sustainable cooperation in networks that can respond to current social developments and also 'just' to greater job satisfaction among academics."