History

The Business Informatics research team, officially the Ghent University Management Information Systems (UGentMIS – http://www.mis.ugent.be) research group, was founded within the Department of Business Informatics and Operations Management (EB08) at the end of 2005. At that time, the current UGentMIS director Geert Poels decided to form a research group with his two junior assistants Ann Maes and Frederik Gailly, and Prof. Roland Paemeleire who was dean of the Faculty. Until October 1, 2002, when Prof. Poels joined Ghent University, Prof. Paemeleire was the only Information Systems professor at the Faculty. Initially, the group focused its research on the application of conceptual modeling (research interest of Prof. Poels) to the design of accounting information systems (research interest of Prof. Paemeleire). Early research topics included quality evaluation of semantic accounting data models and design of such models using ontology-based model patterns. The research on enterprise ontology resulted in the group’s first PhD graduation in December 2008 (Dr. Frederik Gailly).

Following the retirement of Prof. Paemeleire in 2008, Prof. Poels joined forces with Ghent University College lecturers Manu De Backer and David Martens, Information Systems professors at the Department of Commercial Sciences and Public Administration, and together they founded the Ghent University Association research group (AOG) Information and Knowledge Management, which officially started on February 1, 2009. As a result, new research lines were added: Business Process Management (BPM) (Prof. De Backer) and data mining and business intelligence (Prof. Martens). In this period the group also grew in size as a result of project acquisition with funding organizations like the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO), the Special Research Fund Ghent University (BOF), and the Ghent University College Research Fund. At the end of 2010, Prof. Martens left the group, to be replaced temporarily by Prof. Christophe Mues (Southampton Management School) and later, on January 25, 2013 by Prof. Amy Van Looy, a former PhD student of the group who graduated in December 2012. While the exit of professors Martens and Mues lead to a de-emphasis of the financial application focus of the data mining research line (still Dr. Gert Loterman graduated in September 2013 on prediction of loss given default), Prof. Van Looy strengthened the BPM research line with her research on BPM maturity models and the data mining research is re-orientating towards BPM applications (e.g., business process mining). Due to the integration of the former Ghent University College Department of Commercial Sciences and Public Administration into the Ghent University Faculty of Economics and Business Administration on October 1, 2013 and the subsequent incorporation of professors De Backer and Van Looy into the EB08 department and the UGentMIS research group on October 1, 2014, the AOG was discontinued.

Meanwhile, on October 1, 2011, the UGentMIS research group became part of the Ghent University – Vrije Universiteit Brussel Strategic Alliance research group (ALO) Information Systems. VUB professor Gailly, who left his UGentMIS position of FWO postdoctoral fellow on September 30, 2010, hence rejoined the research team, adding the ontology engineering research line. When Prof. Gailly became a BOF tenure track professor at UGent – EB08 on October 1, 2012, he was replaced at VUB initially by Prof. Sven Casteleyn, and later by Prof. Wouter Verbeke, who specializes in business analytics research. The formation of the ALO resulted in the startup of a first joint UGent – VUB PhD in Information Systems (Nadejda Alkhaldi).

Today, the UGentMIS group counts about 22 members including one full professor (Geert Poels), two associate professors (Amy Van Looy, Frederik Gailly), one affiliated professor (Jan Devos from the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture), two postdoctoral researchers (Jan Claes, Michaël Verdonck) and fifteen PhD students including six junior assistants (Abdel-Jaouad Aberkane, Pooria Jafari, Thomas Derave, Steven Mertens, Aygun Shafagatova, Dries Couckuyt), three doctoral fellows (Dirk Steuperaert (IWT – agency for Innovation by Science and Technology), Pooyan Ramezani (BOF project), Abhimanyu Gupta (FWO project)) and six externally or self-funded PhD students (Adnan Kraljic, Tarik Kraljic, Georgios Georgiadis, Patrick Luyts, Hossein Abroshan, Tahir Ahmad). During its history, the group has ‘produced’ eleven PhD’s: Frederik Gailly (2008), Wim Laurier (2010), Ken Decreus (2010), Amy Van Looy (2012), Gert Loterman (2013), Ben Roelens (2015), Maxime Bernaert (2015), Jan Claes (2015), Maria das Graças da Silva Teixeira (2017), Nadejda Alkhaldi (2017), Renata Petrevska (2017), Laleh Rafati (2018), and Michaël Verdonck (2018).

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