After having studied Business Engineering at Hasselt University (2001-2006), Kim Willems obtained a joint PhD in Applied Economics: Business Engineering at Hasselt University and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2012. She continued her academic career as tenure track professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences & Solvay Business School, in the Business Department, namely the Cluster Marketing & Consumer Behaviour (BUSI/MARK). Since 2017, she is associate professor of marketing. End 2019, the BUSI/MARK group also joined the interdisciplinary BruBotics group. Within the faculty, Willems assumes the role of chairwoman of the Marketing & Communication council and the Faculty’s Education Board.
Willems published various book chapters, a book and over 30 peer-reviewed journal publications, having attracted over 1,600 citations (Google Scholar). In the last five years, three PhD students under her supervision successfully defended their PhD. Willems’ resume consistently gives proof of valuing and thriving in interdisciplinary research collaborations with colleagues in Human-Computer Interactions (Saarbrücken Universität, DfKI and UHasselt, EDM), Arts & Architecture (UHasselt, Retail Design), Rehabilitation Sciences (UHasselt), Communication Sciences (UAntwerpen) among others.
In terms of teaching, Willems is course holder of four 6 ECTS courses in (strategic) marketing at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, at Bachelor and Master level, to both Belgian and international students. She is supervisor of about 35 master thesis students per academic year. She has been guest professor at IESEG Business School in Lille (France) for several years, and one semester at Hasselt University in 2018. Her teaching evaluations are consistently very good to excellent, leading to several awards for being one of the best teachers in the faculty ES. She is active member of the program board Bedrijfskunde-Management and the program board Toegepaste Economische Wetenschappen-Handelsingenieur.
At present, she is (co)-promoter of four PhD students, and one post-doctoral researcher in the BUSI/MARK team. She is member of the editorial board of two international double-blind peer-reviewed SSCI-indexed journals, namely Journal of Product & Brand Management (SSCI = 4.355) as well as of Journal of Retailing & Consumer Services (SSCI = 7.135). She regularly serves as reviewer for well-respected journals in the disciplines of marketing and computer sciences and has been jury member and advisory board member in several doctoral dissertation committees at VUB, UAntwerp, UHasselt and UCLouvain Mons.
Willems also engages in policy-supporting research for VUB (ASP2 ‘Differentiated Marketing’ – 2012-2016; ASP2030 ‘Data-driven marketing in a university context’, 2018-2021). In these research projects, her expertise is applied to the benefit of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and more particularly its marketing policy. Willems also puts her expertise at service of external parties, such as NBN (National Bureau of Standardization), in studying the strategic role of standards for Belgian organizations (DAD-project WDGO1673, 2019-2020), and in examining how to optimize communication with and involvement of different stakeholder groups (DAD-project ANI312 2022).