Welcome back to “Let’s discover the Project Consortium”, a blog series where we present the experts and researchers working on the ToBe Project.

This time around we reached out to Ghent University. Founded in 1817 and considered among the best universities in Europe and the world, Ghent University counts with around 50,000 students and over 200 programmes. Representing the univeristy in ToBe, Brent Bleys and Claire Soupart are both happy to join the ToBe Consortium.

Brent, a professor at the Department of Economics of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, says that many of the interdisciplinary researchers that form ToBe knew each other and feels like they “were waiting for the right research opportunity to collaborate, and the Horizon Europe call was launched at the right moment in time!”. Claire, a PhD student under Brent’s wing, notices that Ghent University highlights the importance of sustainability and sustainable wellbeing and is happy to join ToBe because she has “wanted to work on topics related to the Doughnut Economics, sustainability, ecological economics,… for a long time”.

Brent and Claire will be working in WP2 Empirical Analysis, “that critically assesses the determinants of economic growth versus those of (sustainable) welfare – as measured through the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW). In order to do that, they will “first build a dataset on country-level ISEW data for the EU-27 countries (1995-2020 at least) and several others”.

Both Brent and Claire find the team of brilliant researchers one of the most exciting aspects of the project: “It feels like coming home in a way, as within ToBe we seem to understand each other quite easily” states Brent. Claire is also looking forward to seeing the impact that a European Commission-funded project could have on policymaking.

As to what they think will be an added value for their experience, Brent wants to come out of the Project with knowledge of the “perceptions on post-growth and sustainable well-being in different parts of Europe, and the way public debates on the just transition towards planetary boundaries may differ from one country to the next” as well as how other research organisations in Europe operate. Claire, from her side, wants to expand her knowledge of her topics of interest and “by participating in different events, (she) hopes to learn more about topics related to ToBe on a broader basis”.

Even if Claire is very interested in the work of ICHEC for WP1, both researchers agree that the development of a new macro-economic model that WP4 will be leading is something to look out for.

Join us in wishing Brent and Claire the best time during their work in ToBe!