Thierry Vanelslander

Thierry Vanelslander

Works at
University of Antwerp

A brief introduction to ...

Scientific challenges for KiM

The world has been confronted with great changes, on many fronts at the same time, and the challenges are great, not only for policy and society, but also for the science in support of the latter two. Geopolitics is changing the classical thinking about globalization. Climate and the environment impose new restrictions on the role that transport can and must play. Population evolution created new (transport) needs and competitive relationships. This all has an impact on the kind of response that is needed, as well as on the way that is scientifically supported.

Research to be proud of

After I obtained my PhD in 2005 on cooperation between seaport terminals, my research domain was expanded. In the period 2007-2010 I was scientific director of the Flemish Support Center for Goods and Passenger Transport, and in addition to port and maritime themes, many themes related to land, air and urban transport passed my radar. Each time, this was an enrichment, which also demonstrated the simultaneity of transport flows. In the last decade, the focus within research projects has also shifted from measuring sustainability in all its aspects, to helping to find solutions for making (transport) world events sustainable. I am happy and proud to contribute.

Affinity with KiM knowledge lines

Through my directorship of the Flemish Support Center for Goods and Passenger Transport, I came into close contact with the major challenges of transport (policy), which are of course very similar between Flanders and the Netherlands: both are small, open economies with at the same time major transport gateways to the European market. So it is indeed about increasing accessibility, accelerating sustainability, how to deal with uncertainty, et cetera. By the way, not only in the Netherlands or Flanders, but equally well in most other European countries.

Position and core scientific research

I have already indicated above which research themes form the core of my work. We are seeing more and more that it is best to approach them in an interdisciplinary manner, and this is increasingly being realized through large, mostly European research projects. The triple helix of academics, policy and industry cooperates in this and together looks for concrete solutions for the challenges posed. I therefore like to contribute to the right frameworks to make those solutions work optimally, in the first place economically, because that is my core background.

Scientific background

I am full professor at the Research Group Transport and Spatial Economics (TPR) of the University of Antwerp. After obtaining my PhD in 2005, after a short postdoc period in 2007, I became scientific director of the Flemish Support Center for Goods and Passenger Transport, hosted within TPR. From 2010 I became holder of the chair of Ports, Transport and Logistics within TPR, financed by BNP Paribas Fortis. In 2013 I took up a tenure track position, where I continued to grow to full professor at TPR. I am also chairman of Special Interest Group A2 Maritime and Ports and topic area manager Transport Modes within the World Conference on Transport Research, and chairman Freight & Logistics within the European Transport Conference.