Lutgarde Buydens
Lutgarde Buydens

Former Faculty of Science dean Lutgarde Buydens retires

In a packed auditorium, Prof. Lutgarde Buydens delivered her farewell speech on 10 March 2023. After 34 years at Radboud University's Faculty of Science, the former dean is leaving. "It was a warm farewell, a nice end to my career."

Her farewell speech marks the end of an impressive scientific career. At the age of 31, Lutgarde Buydens obtained her PhD in Pharmacology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She then specialised in chemometrics: the application of statistical methods and techniques in chemistry. She is now internationally recognised as an authority in this field. Her career at Radboud University started in 1989. Six years later she was appointed professor of Analytical Chemistry and from 2016 to 2022 Lutgarde Buydens was dean of the Faculty of Science.

Nightingale research

“I look back on my deanship with great pleasure,” says Lutgarde Buydens. “I found it a challenge to be able to shape science at an administrative level as well. My favourite topic is of course Pasteur research, or as I prefer to call it now: Nightingale research: research that is fundamental in nature, but ultimately helps to solve problems in society. I envisioned making more and better links between our research and society, and I saw opportunities there.”

When Buydens started as dean, collaboration with industry was seen as less important. It was not appreciated, says Buydens. “But it already existed at our faculty, interdisciplinary Pasteur research. All we had to do was put it on display. Now we show it, and it is valued as much as pure basic research. I think people think differently about Pasteur research now. I am proud that this cultural shift has been achieved in a relatively short time and that I have been a catalyst in it. When we started GreenIT, all researchers asked if they could join. That’s when I saw: it's alive! Collaborations with parties such as Jansen and Alliander also help. I am very proud of the strategic alliances we have entered into.”

Women in Science

Another of Buydens' spearheads is encouraging women in the natural sciences. She thinks that will continue to be a challenge. “There really is a lot of female talent. But in the last phase of an application, a man is often chosen. Arguments always come up to opt for that man, such as: ‘he looks confident, I always see him at conferences.' Perhaps we should approach it differently at the start of the procedure. What if we start with a list of suitable people. You select three of which the selection committee thinks: I can see them doing it. And then you let fate decide who it will be. It would be worth a study to see what percentage of women we would have on the faculty now if we had done this earlier.”


“After my farewell as dean of the faculty, I worked on my research for a few months. Now I'm retiring. That doesn't mean I'm completely leaving science. I still want to try to bring in European projects with the department of chemometrics. I would like to play a role there in guiding and bringing people together. I will continue to do that in COAST. And I also want to do the things that I finally have time for: going on a trip, visiting colleagues in the world without obligations, reading books. I have started a book about the life of Erasmus. That's quite a tome, but interesting. He was also a person who always had to chase pots of money.”

“I look back fondly on my farewell speech. When I saw that full corona and saw all those people in the room, it really gave me wings. It's nice to see that so many colleagues have come to support me, heart-warming.”

About Lutgarde Buydens

Lutgarde Buydens (1955) graduated cum laude in pharmacy at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She also obtained her doctorate cum laude from the same university. Buydens started her career at Radboud University in 1989. In 2005 she was appointed professor of Analytical Chemistry. In her research she integrates state of the art concepts and methods from disciplines such as statistics, computer science, artificial intelligence, data mining, and chemical knowledge for data analysis in the context of, for example, environmental pollution, food research and the diagnosis of brain tumours. From 2016 to 2022 she was dean of the Faculty of Science at Radboud University. In 2000 she won the Christoffel Plantin Prize. On 26 April 2017, Buydens was appointed Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion.

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