Understanding Society

Tilburg University is convinced that it can contribute to solving social issues by developing and transferring knowledge and bringing together people from various disciplines and organizations.

Dr. K.M. (Koen) Becking, President of Tilburg University

Dr. Koen Becking is the President of the Executive Board of Tilburg University. He is responsible for general administrative matters, such as the relationship with the Board of Governors and the University Council. Additionally, he works on the University's strategic policy, corporate identity and administrative and social representation. He is also responsible for Personnel and Student policies. His portfolio includes Legal Affairs, Communications and Marketing, the University newspaper Univers, Academic Forum, Financial Affairs, Real Estate, Facility Management and ICT.

Before Koen Becking joined us at Tilburg University, he was chairman of the board of the Dutch Catholic broadcasting organization KRO (2007-2012). Previous to that, he was Managing Director at the ROI (now PBLQ), a training center for public sector staff (2002-2007). He has also worked for the Ministry of Justice and the Centre for Public Sector Labour Relations (CAOP).

Koen Becking studied political science at the University of Amsterdam from 1988 to 1992, and in 1999 he received a Master's degree in Public Administration from the Netherlands School of Public Administration. In 2002 he was awarded a PhD from Utrecht University for his analysis of ten years of labor relations in the public sector. From 2003 to 2009, he was a professor by special appointment at the School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

Overview of outside activities (unpaid):

  • Stellenbosch University
    • Professor extraordinary (01-01-2015 until 01-01-2018)
  • VSNU (Association of universities)
    • Various roles in connection with the General Board
  • VVD (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy)
    • President of the VVD Brabant scouting committee

Offices in the context of his position

  • Member General Board Brainport
  • President Board Starterslift
  • Member Board Foundation Professor Cobbenhagen
  • President Tilburg University fund

Koen Becking about Tilburg University

‘You must dare to think big and then take action’

'As a university, we are firmly rooted in a world that is in constant flux. We are heading towards bilingualism: in the long term, English will be the first language on campus at Tilburg University. We are training young people to work with technologies and in jobs that do not yet exist but that will be around in five years’ time. Tilburg University is a top university with the potential and the ambition to play an important role at the international level. With our talent and with leading research. And by working more closely together with other knowledge institutions, the business sector, and governments in the region that, like us, set the highest quality standards. We will promote our strengths by investing more in them. Such a choice also entails that we discontinue the things that do not score very highly.

The social context is becoming increasingly important for the university, also for our funding. As a result, we must increasingly often ask ourselves how we can make a difference for that social context. Without selling our souls to the business sector of course, because independence is crucial in science. You must dare to think big and then take concrete action to roll out your strategic agenda. Our multidisciplinary research makes us unique. Society is struggling with problems involving the aging population, the labor market, and care. We have the perfect profile to find innovative solutions to those themes. It is with good reason that our slogan is Understanding Society. In the coming years, we will further elaborate that motto. I find it wonderful to be able to participate in executing an agenda that was formulated in alliance with all relevant parties at Tilburg University.'