Irina Veretennicoff was born in Antwerp, Belgium in May 1944. She graduated in Physics at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in 1973 with a PhD on the Statistical Transport Theory of Relativistic Plasma's under Prof Radu Balescu’s (ULB) guidance.
She contributed to the development of the successful Applied Physics Curriculum in the School of Applied Sciences (VUB, 1984), of the Photonics Curriculum for the EE students (VUB 1994) and lately to the establishment of the two Inter-University Master in Engineering Science: Photonics and their related Erasmus Mundus Master of Science in Photonics, funded by the EC with the Universities of Ghent (Belgium), St Andrews and Heriot-Watt ( Scotland, UK ) and KTH Stockholm (Sweden).
She has been actively involved, since 1989, in ERASMUS/SOCRATES/TEMPUS exchange programs. She served as Rectoral Coordinator international affairs of the VUB in the period 1996-1999.
Irina has been coaching and promoting the Master and PhD thesis of many generations of Flemish and foreign students in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the VUB. She is (co-) author of more than 200 publications in internationally reviewed Journals and Conference Proceedings. Her research interests go from plasma physics (papers published under the name I. Paiva-Veretennicoff) and from 1987 onwards to non-linear optics, optical switching in photonic micro devices, optical information processing. Since 2004 most of her work is related to the physics of metamaterials and transformation optics with Philippe Tassin and Vincent Ginis.
Her research in Plasma Physics was rewarded with the Russian State Prize for Physics and Mathematics in 1990. She was the first foreigner and first women to be honored by that prize.
Irina has been responsible as a promoter at the VUB, for several Belgian Interuniversity Attraction Poles. Between 2002 and 2006 she coordinated the fifth generation of the Belgian “Photon Network” (http://tona.vub.ac.be/Photon/).
She belongs to the board of the International Solvay Institutes, as full member since 2003, as honorary member since July 2007.
Irina has been serving as an expert for the evaluation of European, Federal and Flemish research programs. In particular, she worked on the assessment of the COST Actions in the domains of Physics, Materials and Chemistry (2004) and served in the Council of scientists of INTAS and CNRS (France). For many years she served as vice-chair in the Federal Board for Science Policy ( FRWB ) and in the Commission External Relations of the Flemish Advisory Board for Science Policy ( VRWB).
She is member of the Flemish Academy for Science and Literature and Fine Arts and is directing the Class of Natural Sciences in 2012 and 2013. She also belonged to the Advisory Group on the impact of Science and Technology on Society (IST) appointed by the President of the Flemish Parliament until the end of 2010.
She has been Vice-Chair of the EC External Advisory Group Human Resources and Mobility dealing with the Marie-Curie program and the Charter and Code of conduct for the Scientific Researchers in Europe. She was elected foreign member of the Russian Academy for Natural Sciences in 2011.
She became Prof Emeritus in October 2009. In that capacity she also took responsibilities in the Department of physics of the VUB. Among other activities she was responsible for the incoming Erasmus students and the mobility programs for the outgoing ones. In 2011-2012 she was appointed as professor for the course “present day sciences and society” in the programme of the first Bachelor in physics.