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Academic entrepreneurship at the heart of Tilburg University’s history

Published: 01st October 2020 Last updated: 01st October 2020

Professor Sylvester Eijffinger to deliver farewell address

On October 9, 2020, Sylvester Eijffinger, Professor in Financial Economics, will say farewell to Tilburg University after more than 33 years. Throughout these years, Professor Eijffinger was deeply involved in the University as well as being, to many a journalist, the beacon that shed light on economic processes. In his farewell address, he will look back on these three decades and he will share his thoughts on the developments in research, education, and valorization he observed in this period. He believes Tilburg University is defined by academic entrepreneurship – a distinctness it owes to founding father Martinus Cobbenhagen, an academic entrepreneur before the term existed.

In 1927, the Roomsch Katholieke Hoogeschool was founded, and it has since thrived as, successively, Katholieke Hogeschool Tilburg, Katholieke Universiteit Brabant, Universiteit van Tilburg, and Tilburg University. The centerpiece of Professor Eijffinger’s address is the academic entrepreneurship as embodied by Martinus Cobbenhagen. A priest and economist, Martinus Cobbenhagen strongly believed that economics, ethics, and entrepreneurship are closely connected. And it is this conviction that has ensured that to this day philosophy is in evidence in every degree program Tilburg University offers and that character development plays such a prominent part in its educational vision.

How has academic entrepreneurship evolved over the past three decades? Professor Eijffinger outlines its progression looking at (1) the internationalization of research, (2) the internationalization of education, and (3) the revaluation of valorization and impact (serving society). He concludes that Tilburg University has shown to possess a remarkable and enduring capacity for renewal in these three areas – a capacity consistently fostered and fortified by Martinus Cobbenhagen’s academic entrepreneurship.

Looking ahead to the future of Tilburg University, Professor Eijffinger will conclude his address by giving the  Executive Board five recommendations: ‘Eijff’s Final Five’. He will reveal them in his farewell address.

Sylvester Eijffinger (1953, The Hague) is Professor Emeritus in Financial Economics at the Tilburg School of Economics and Management as well as Jean Monnet Professor of European Financial and Monetary Integration. He is also affiliated to the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London and the CESifo Research Network in Munich. Following his graduation from secondary school (gymnasium), Eijffinger enrolled in Economics and Econometrics at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 1983, where he also obtained a doctorate (1986). He was subsequently appointed at the School of Economic Sciences, as it was then called, in Tilburg, first as Associate Professor, later as Jean Monnet Professor of European Financial and Monetary Integration (1998) and as Professor in Financial Economics (2000) at Tilburg University. Since 1994, Eijffinger had already been (and was until 2004) part-time Professor in Monetary Economics at the College of Europe in Bruges (Belgium) as well as part-time Professor in Economic Policy at Humboldt University in Berlin from 1996 until 2000. Between 2005 and 2008 he was part-time Professor of European Financial Integration at the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) of Erasmus University Rotterdam. In that same period he also served on the Council of Economic Advisors to the Netherlands House of Representatives. In 2003, 2008, 2013, and 2018 he was a visiting Professor of Economics at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, USA). Between 2000 and 2015 he was the only Dutch member of the Monetary Expert Panel that advises the European Parliament on its dialog with the President of the European Central Bank. In 2008-2009 Eijffinger served on the Future of Banking Advisory Committee (the Maas Committee), whose recommendations have been transposed into a Banking Code, and in 2013 on the Commission on the Structure of Dutch Banks (the Wijffels Commission). He has served as President of the Tilburg University Society (formerly the University of Tilburg Club) since 2009.


Professor Eijffinger’s farewell address will be preceded by an online mini-symposium that has as its theme ‘Banking in corona times and beyond’. After a short presentation, this theme will be discussed by a panel consisting of Lex Hoogduin (independent board member of London Clearing House and Professor in Economics of Complexity and Uncertainty at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen), Nout Wellink (former President of De Nederlandsche Bank), and Berry Marttin (member of the Managing Board of Rabobank). The symposium starts at 13:00 hrs. and can be followed live through this livestream.

Note to editors

Professor Sylvester Eijffinger is scheduled to deliver his farewell address in the Auditorium of Tilburg University on Friday, October 9, 2020 at 16:15 hrs. Title: Academic Entrepreneurship in Times of Crisis: Martinus Cobbenhagen’s Legacy as Academic Entrepreneur. This event can only be followed online through this livestream.

For more information, please contact press officer Annemeike Tan at +31 (0)13 466 2596 or at Copies of the address can be requested after October 9, 2020 at or at +31 (0)13 466 4000.