Profile & expertise

Founded in 1425, KU Leuven is one of Europe’s oldest universities. Today, KU Leuven accommodates 50,000 students, spread across the various campuses in Leuven and elsewhere in Belgium’s Flemish region.

KU Leuven provides both legal and technical expertise by the participation of two of its research centers from different departments: the DistriNet research group and the KU Leuven Centre for IT & IP Law.

DistriNet is an international research group with extensive expertise in secure and distributed software – obviously including middleware. Research on software engineering techniques is performed in both domains on a wide range of topics such as middleware for cloud computing, internet architectures, network and software security, embedded systems and multi-agent systems. Embedded in the department of Computer Science of the KU Leuven, DistriNet has a headcount of over 90 researchers of which 16 professors and 20 senior researchers. DistriNet has a tradition of application driven research often in close collaboration with industry partners.   Currently DistriNet is actively involved in about 30 national and international research projects, ranging from fundamental over strategic-basic to applied research.

The know-how of DistriNet is at the basis of Ubizen, a spin-off company specialized in secure e-business and related security services (now part of Verizon). A second DistriNet spin-off company is Qmedit, which focuses on the development of medical workflow software (now part of Agfa). Three more recent spin-off companies are Inmanta (end-to-end orchestration of applications and networks), Elimity (identity governance and access control) and VersaSense (zero configuration IoT platform).

DistriNet has built up a unique expertise in security analytics and middleware for decentralized data management, necessary to tackle the challenges present in this project. The KINAITICSI project fits well in the strategy of the group, in which the inception and development of distributed architectures and middleware solutions for ML-enabled security is one of the spearheads.

The Centre for IT & IP Law is a research center at the Faculty of Law and Criminology of the University of Leuven (KU Leuven), with a staff of (at the time of writing) over 80 researchers, specialized in the legal and ethical aspects of IT innovation and intellectual property.

Researchers at the Centre for IT and IP law focus on the fundamental re-thinking of the current legal framework, necessitated by the rapid evolution of technology in various fields, such as government, media, health care, information, digital economy, banking, transport, culture, etc. Their research is characterized by an intra- and extra-juridical interdisciplinary approach, constantly aspiring cross-fertilization between legal, technical, economic, ethical and socio-cultural perspectives.

The Centre for IT & IP Law has a solid track record as a law and ethics partner of large international and interdisciplinary research projects. It is internationally renowned for its expertise in the areas of Artificial Intelligence & Autonomous Systems, Data Protection & Privacy, eHealth & Pharma, Ethics & Law, Intellectual Property, Media & Telecommunications and (Cyber)Security.

Based on its extensive research expertise, the Centre for IT & IP Law also provides education programs and courses both in Dutch and English, both on undergraduate and graduate levels on the KU Leuven campus in Leuven and Brussels. In this way, the Centre for IT & IP Law is able to share its expertise with students, scholars and practitioners from around the glove and guide them through the complex world of law & ICT. The teaching programs of the Centre for IT & IP Law are ranking high, both in student evaluations and in periodic interuniversity teaching assessments. Amongst the curricula of the Centre for IT & IP Law the Masters of Intellectual Property of ICT Law is one of the most popular programs.

The Centre for IT & IP Law is a member of the Leuven Center on Information and Communication Technology, which combined the complementary expertise and experiences of electronics engineers, computer scientists, sociologists and legal scholars in the ICT field at KU Leuven in a multidisciplinary research center that aims to play a leading role in the worldwide ICT research scene, as well as of imec, high-tech research and innovation hub for nanoelectronics and digital technologies, which unites more than 850 researchers in ICT and ICT-driven technologies located at 5 Flemish universities.

Role in the Project

KUL has two roles in the KINAITICS project, fitting with the two research centers of which the KUL team is composed. DistriNet will assist in defining the use cases, in updating the threat-risk assessment framework, as well as provide its expertise with regard to AI attacks and defence strategies from a technical perspective. CiTiP will act as the legal partner and will provide an extensive assessment of the legal and ethical framework that is applicable to the KINAITICS research and the tools that will be developed in KINAITICS, focusing on the legal and ethical aspects of using artificial intelligence for cyberdefense purposes.



First name: Koen

Last name: Vranckaert

Email: koen.vranckaert@kuleuven.be

Phone number: +32 37 63 53

Organisation website: https://www.law.kuleuven.be/citip/en;

Key people on the project

Peggy Valcke is full professor of law & technology at KU Leuven and vice dean for research at the Leuven Faculty of Law & Criminology. She is co-director of CiTiP, executive committee member of Leuven.AI, and principal investigator in the Security & Privacy Department of imec (previously iMinds). She has taken up positions as visiting and part-time professor at Tilburg University (Netherlands; 2009-2018); Bocconi University Milan (Italy; 2018-2019), the European University Institute in Florence (Italy; 2014), and Central European University in Budapest (Hungary; 2006-2007).


Wouter Joosen is full professor at the Department of Computer Science of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, where he teaches courses on software architecture and component-based software engineering, distributed systems and the engineering of secure service platforms. His research interests include security and privacy of distributed software systems, services and applications.


Davy Preuveneers is a research manager of DistriNet, the Distributed and Secure Software research group of the Department of Computer Science of KU Leuven, Belgium. His research interests are in the field of federated identity and access management, security analytics, data mining and (adversarial) machine learning for security and privacy, scalable distributed systems and event-based middleware for context-aware, mobile and embedded applications, semantic modeling and reasoning for intelligent environments. He leads a team of researchers and projects on these topics with a particular focus on applications in the area of the pervasive and ubiquitous computing, Internet of things, e-health, finance, media and Industry 4.0.


Koen Vranckaert is a legal researcher at KU Leuven Centre for IT & IP La. Koen’s research interests include AI safety, AI ethics, privacy & data protection, intellectual property, and everything related to the impact of technological progress on the legal system. Prior to joining CiTiP, Koen worked as an attorney at the Leuven and Brussels Bar.