Academically and professionally, Dirk Van Damme is a well-known expert on issues related to international higher education policy, quality assurance and accreditation. He served as an expert and consultant for several international organisations (UNESCO, OECD, IAUP, IAU, EUA, INQAAHE, CHEA, etc.). He published extensively in international journals on higher education quality assurance and accreditation. Between 2003 and 2013 he served as board member of QANU, the quality assurance agency for the universities in the Netherlands. He was also a member of the scientific board of AQA, the Austrian Quality Agency in higher education, and as member of the Committee for the evaluation of the University of Luxembourg, besides many other commitments.
In 2008, he joined the OECD in Paris as Head of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI), with a staff of approximately 30 research staff. He also became member of the management team of the Education and Skills Directorate of the OECD. His main work concentrated on research management on educational innovation. From 2012 onwards, he also became responsible for the Indicators of Educational Systems (INES) programme and his flagship publication Education at a Glance. Under his leadership, CERI developed research work on social and emotional learning, teachers’ pedagogical knowledge, social outcomes of learning, the assessment of social and emotional skills, and the new science of learning. In 2017, he was asked to lead the rapidly expanding work on skills and lifelong learning at the OECD, which he did until the Centre for Skills was established in 2019. In 2019, he was appointed as Senior Counsellor for the Education and Skills Directorate, responsible for the strategic development and management of the directorate. He drafted a paper on the strategic development of OECD work in education. In the OECD, Dirk is also leading work on assessing higher education learning outcomes.
On 1 June 2021 he retired from the OECD and joined the Center for Curriculum Redesign in Boston (MA, USA) as Senior Research Fellow. He also created his own consultancy company DVD EDUCONSULT and is working with governments and institutions in emerging economies on education and skills policies. He is advising the Flemish minister of education on the design and implementation of central testing in Flanders. He is also appointed as external member to the Quality Committee of Trinity College Dublin (Ireland).
Dirk is widely regarded as a global expert in education and is frequently invited to deliver keynotes at international conferences and guest lectures at many global universities. His main interests are the science of learning, comparative analyses of educational systems, lifelong learning and higher education policy.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) in the UK.