The mission of RIVA is to stimulate research, innovation and valorisation through proactive support for our researchers, research groups, faculties and the leadership of the university. As such, RIVA contributes to the profile of the University of Antwerp as a research intensive and entrepreneurial university with strong international standing.


Research, Innovation & Valorisation Antwerp (RIVA) is managed by the Head of Department Tim Engels and consists of 4 units:

Since the end of 2016, the department has two academic leaders, Vice-rector of Research Ronny Blust, also chairman of the Research Council, and Vice-rector of Valorisation and Development Steven Van Passel, who is also chair of the Innovation Board.


We use the acronym DRIVERS as a communication tool to explain what the key activities are of the Department and the respective units.

  • D stands for Development & training, 
  • R for Reporting & analysis
  • I for Information, advise & solutions
  • V for Visibility & impact
  • E for Expanding opportunities
  • R for Reaching out
  • S for Safeguarding compliance

The department, and each of its units continuously contributes to each of the key activities, in close interaction with our partners and researchers.

Development & training

In terms of development, we stimulate and train researchers, students and research support staff to realise top notch research and valorisation. 

We reach hundreds of researchers every year with the following training:

More information on Pintra (after login)

Reporting & analysis

Reporting, monitoring and analysing the research and valorisation activities of the university are essential for our university. To this end, we conceive, implement and maintain efficient processes and workflows according to the criterion ‘enter once, reuse often’.

For example, the research database Antigoon, part of Peoplesoft, captures a range of data on projects, research groups, researchers’ expertise, research infrastructures and ethics issues, which feed into your eCV, the university website and the FRIS portal.

Information, advice & solutions

The employees of RIVA inform, advice, support and help researchers, policy makers, and external partners to reach solutions for any question with regard to research and valorisation. Crucially, we are hereby proactively take into account the policy development in the region and at the European and international level.

We are for example closely involved in and/or advice the vice-rectors on developments at the Research Foundation Flanders, the Flemish cluster organisations, and, through YERUN, the development of the Horizon Europe programme.

We have three priorities in terms of our operations.

  1. We want to continuously invest in collaboration
  2. integrate and optimise business processes
  3. measure our business processes and results on a more finegrained level.

Indeed, a continuous set of services, from PhD student to professor, from longterm research to business opportunity, and from project conception to grant agreement is our goal. We hereby envision streamlined processes during which each step is taken care of. We therefore also want to introduce pipeline monitor-ing for PhDs, Open Science, grants, and our valorisation portfolio.

Next to these three operational priorities, we have also set three contentrelated priorities:

  1. a strong training offer
  2. more focus on multidisciplinary collaboration
  3. putting an emphasis on internationalisation.

Overall, RIVA is responsible for:

  • supporting the academic government in research and innovation (policy preparation, implementation decisions
  • the functioning of the OZR and Innovation Board and their subordinate bodies (preparation of meetings, reporting, follow-up and implementation decisions)
  • the support of the researchers and intermediate research coordinators and managers (provision of information, provision of education and training, preparing and implementing research policy, support in formulating external research proposals, guidance in valorisation processes).

Through its composition and responsibilities, RIVA covers the full range of research, innovation and valorisation activities, from basic research to commercialisation of results, including the support provided, ranging from training of young researchers (ADS, Grants Office), to developments in research requirements (Research Affairs Service) to contractual aspects (Legal Service, JD).

In the context of this assignment, members of the department take on a number of internal and external representations, including in the consultative bodies of the Flemish and federal governments (in particular VLIR and EEMCS working groups, Flemish Spearhead Clusters and SOCs).

Throughout the academic year, a wide range of information and training sessions will be set up for the benefit of the researchers and the intermediary partners under the umbrella of the Dive-into-Projects and Dive-into-Business programmes. For these activities RIVA works closely with the intermediary partners (faculty research staff, research managers of the UAntwerp research research consortia of excellence).

  • More information on Pintra (after login).

In addition to the management and secretariat of the department, the department currently comprises four units, each of which is also responsible for policy support and preparation with regard to the academic government and/or the UAntwerp representatives in the Flemish policy and advisory bodies as far as their sector is concerned.

Visibility & impact

We assure that successes in research are visible, and we encourage our researchers to explore opportunities for valorisation. As such, we enhance the visibility and the realworld impact of the University of Antwerp.

Expanding opportunities

We expand the opportunities for our researchers by providing proactive information on funding calls, valorisation avenues, and possibilities for maximizing impact. For example, already early on we acquaint our doctoral students in the doctoral study programme with the challenges and expectations of the job market for PhD holders.

Reaching out

We reach out for external and internal collaboration and invest in strong networks with funders, universities and other research performing organisations, governments, companies and sector federations.

As such, we strengthen the innovation ecosystems of the University.

Safeguarding compliance

We safeguard compliance through efficient and effective implementation of the rule-based framework set by the government, we provide solutions within this framework and make sure that the university’s decisions in the areas of research and valorisation are taken with all due diligence.

To this end, the Legal Office interacts on a daily basis with the Antwerp Doctoral School, the Research Affairs Office, the Grants Office, and the Valorisation Office.