Thomas Dermine, born on 1 May 1986 in Charleroi, is a French-speaking Belgian economist and politician who is a member of the Socialist Party. Since 1 October 2020, he has been a member of the Belgian government, deputy to the Minister for the Economy and Labour, as State Secretary for Economic Recovery and Strategic Investment with responsibility for Science Policy, in Alexander De Croo's federal government.
Academic and professional background
Thomas Dermine was born in Charleroi and spent his entire childhood and adolescence there. He studied Dutch at the Abdijschool in Dendermonde and then went on to study management engineering at the Solvay Brussels School, which he completed with a course in political science at the Université Libre de Bruxelles.
He continues his academic career at Harvard University in Boston on a scholarship from the Belgian American Education Foundation (Francqui Fellow). There he will collaborate with Professor Jeffrey Liebman, advisor to President Obama on issues related to social innovation.
From 2009 until 2016 he worked as a consultant in several countries and joined the Kamet Ventures start-up incubator in London working on technological innovation projects.
After several years working abroad, Thomas returns to Charleroi in early 2017 to work on the Catch plan, aimed at accelerating job creation in the Charleroi region following several industrial restructurings. During this time, he supervised several important projects for the socio-economic reconversion of Charleroi, such as the arrival of the Legoland park at Caterpillar, the expansion of the biotech ecosystem and several industrial redevelopment projects.
As a result of this commitment he receives the Bologna-Lemaire prize as "Walloon of the Year 2018", awarded by the Jules Destrée Institute.
In November 2019, he becomes Director of the Institut Emile Vandervelde (IEV), the Study Centre of the Belgian Socialist Party, succeeding Gilles Doutrelepont. In this position, Thomas will actively participate, alongside Paul Magnette, in the negotiations for the formation of the Belgian federal government for the period 2019-2020.
Secretary of State for Recovery and Strategic Investments, responsible for Science Policy (since 2020)
On 1 October 2020, when the De Croo government was formed, Thomas Dermine was appointed Secretary of State for Economic Recovery and Strategic Investments in charge of Science Policy, deputy to the Minister of Economy and Labour, Pierre-Yves Dermagne.
Within the federal government, he leads the coordination of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) at the Belgian level by ensuring close collaboration between the European Commission and all entities in Belgium. The plan is officially submitted on 30 April 2021, making Belgium one of the first European countries to meet this deadline.
The Belgian Recovery and Resilience Plan is one of the most environmentally ambitious plans in Europe.
The Recovery and Resilience Plan is structured around 5 thematic axes (sustainability, digital, mobility, inclusion, productivity) and includes 118 investment projects for a total amount of 7.5 billion euros. It is systematically and transparently reported on www.nextgenbelgium.be
In parallel to this mission, Thomas Dermine also manages the Federal Science Policy, which includes the Belgian and European space agenda, the financing of research programmes, as well as the supervision of federal scientific institutions, including the major Belgian museums.
Under his leadership, in 2020 and 2021, Belgium exceeded its target of 3% invested in research and development, thus ranking among the top three European countries investing the most in research and development.
In addition, as guardian of the Royal Museum for Central Africa (AfricaMuseum), he initiated a pioneering approach for the restitution of cultural goods from the colonial past to their country of origin - notably the Democratic Republic of Congo. This approach was translated into a bill recognising the alienable nature of property from the colonial past and determining a legal framework for its restitution and return. This law was adopted by the House of Representatives on 30 June 2022, the 62nd anniversary of the independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Furthermore, on 8 June 2022, on the occasion of King Philippe's first official visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a first Kakuungu mask was returned to its country of origin, symbolising the joint will of the two States to deepen their collaboration on this issue.
President of the PS Federation of Charleroi (since 2022)
On 17 February 2022, Thomas Dermine succeeded Babette Jandrain and became President of the PS Federation of Charleroi.
Since 2016, Thomas Dermine coordinates an academic programme at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in "Microeconomics and Competitiveness" in partnership with Harvard University.
He is also a member of the advisory boards of the University of Mons in Belgium and of the Solvay Brussels School of Economics & Management.
“Contrat à impact social : une opportunité pour le financement de l’action sociale ? ” , in Economie(s) sociale(s) et solidaire(s), Informations Sociales n°199, 2019
“Contrat à Impact Social – Balises et potentiel en France pour le financement de l’innovation sociale” , with Bazy M.-E. in ‘Economie sociale et solidaire et Etat, Institut de la gestion publique et du développement économique, Ministère de l’Economie et des Finances, Mai 2017
“Social Impact Bonding”, with Le Grelle M., Simonart F., Stanford Social Innovation Review, Viewpoint Economic Development, Fall 2016
“Establishing Social Impact Bonds in Continental Europe ”, Harvard M-RCBG Associate Working Paper Series n°26, May 2014
“Evaluation and analysis of Walloon Aeronautic Cluster” with Kalita R., Valenti L., Bodeux M., edited by Pr. Michael Porter, Report to the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, Harvard Business School, March 2013
“Un plan stratégique pour Charleroi”, Courrier hebdomadaire du CRISP, n° 2060, March 2010
“Axes de développement prioritaires pour la ville de Charleroi”, Revue du Conseil économique et social de la Région wallonne, n°100, January 2010