Leuven and IMEC


The historic college town of Leuven is a mere 15 minutes away from Brussels and its International Airport (BRU). Few towns in Belgium appeal to the imagination more than this haven for students, where history, culture, architecture, gastronomy and modern science intermingle to form a compelling cocktail. Leuven has approximately 90,000 inhabitants. Add to these the 50,000+ students and it should come as no surprise that the streets are brimming with young faces and that the city lives at a student's rhythm. Leuven is proud of its heritage, and rightly so. Around the 11th-12th century Leuven began to develop as an important trading center within the Duchy of Brabant. It was at this time that its first town wall, churches, monasteries and abbeys were built. The K.U.Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven) was founded in 1425, a time when various industrial concerns flourished and the main market square with its fine Gothic Town Hall was laid out. The finely sculpted Town Hall and Saint Peter's church with its magnificent interior in which hangs the famous 'Last Supper' by Dirk Bouts, are fine examples  of flamboyant Gothic architecture at its best. The town still owes much of its character to the numerous university college buildings dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, many of which were renovated in the 18th century. Van Dale College is pure Renaissance style and De Valk College, Pauscollege (Pope's College) and the Arras College are neo-classical style. K.U.Leuven is also a charter member of the League of European Research Universities, and European surveys rank K.U.Leuven among the top ten European universities in terms of its scholarly output. Now, with more than 31,000 students and more than 5,000 academic staff, this academic reputation attracts students from all over the world (~12% are international students from more than 120 nations).  Each year around 600 international European Union Erasmus students spend part of their study program in Leuven, while more than 500 K.U.Leuven students share the same European experience at another university. Beyond these exchange programs, the university has organized many English language courses within its international academic programs so shorter term students are not required to follow Dutch-language classes.

The Inter-University Micro Electronics Center  www.imec.be (imec), performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. In the spirit of the proposed program, it is very much a model for translational chemistry and materials research. In its research labs, imec scientists and engineers collaborate with experts from its partners: top companies such as Intel[i], research institutes and universities in ICT, healthcare, communication and energy. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium (where the REU participants will do their research), and has offices in the Netherlands, China, Japan, Taiwan and the USA.  1,900 people work at imec. These include 336 residents, visiting researchers from partner companies and institutes, and 208 PhD researchers. Imec’s employees alone represent 66 nationalities. The average age of its staff is 37 years. In 2010, imec published 1,763 articles and conference contributions. 26 prizes were awarded to imec’s researchers for their research papers, posters, or articles. In 2010, 143 imec patents were awarded. A further 139 patents were submitted. Imec collaborates with over 600 companies and 175 universities worldwide. Since imec’s start in 1984, it helped start 35 spin-off companies. In 2010, imec's revenue (P&L) was 285 million euro, while its federal funding from the Flemish government amounted to 42.8 million euro.