Hans Bruyninckx is the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, taking office on 1 June, 2013. He was born in Schoten, Belgium in 1964. Dr Bruyninckx studied undergraduate and master’s degrees in political science specialising in international relations at Antwerp University and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. He also completed an additional programme in development studies at the University Catholique de Louvain.
He completed a PhD degree in 1996 at Colorado State University on the topic of international environmental politics, subsequently teaching at several other universities in the United States and Europe, including Colorado State University, Canisius College and Wageningen University.
From 2010 until his appointment at the EEA, he was head of the HIVA Research Institute in Leuven, Belgium, a policy-oriented research institute associated with the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, where he was also head of the Political Science department from 2007 to 2010. Dr Bruyninckx has also been a senior member of the interdisciplinary Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and promoter-coordinator of the Flemish Policy Research Centre on Transitions for Sustainable Development (TRADO).
Over the last 20 years, he has conducted and managed policy-oriented research in the areas of environmental politics, climate change, and sustainable development. He was responsible for research in the domains of policy evaluation, monitoring and reporting, methodology development, environmental policy integration, and more recently also on long-term transition policies. His experience pertains to the level of the regions (Flanders in a comparative European perspective), the EU Member States, the EU level, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and processes of global environmental governance (climate change in particular).
His academic expertise lies primarily in the field of European and international environmental policy, studying the effects of globalisation on the global governance of environmental issues and sustainable development. From this perspective he has also studied global production and consumption systems, as well as issues relating to distribution and justice. He has taught courses on the topics of global environmental politics and global environmental governance in relation to the European Union (EU), publishing extensively on EU environmental policies and its role as an actor in global environmental governance.
Dr Bruyninckx was involved in numerous policy processes as an advisory board member, involved in steering groups of government agencies, and as academic policy advisor to governmental agencies and other key actors. In addition, he has worked intensely with civil society and business actors, in support of public-private initiatives or private regulatory approaches to environmental, climate change and sustainability issues. Furthermore, he was president of the board of Bond Beter Leefmilieu (The Association for a Better Environment), a Flemish umbrella organisation bringing together many different environmental groups.
Dr Bruyninckx speaks fluent English, French and German in addition to his native Flemish. During his career he has conducted research in more than a dozen different countries. He is a keen sailor as well as an outdoor and sports enthusiast.