Ides Nicaise has a background in economics and wrote his PhD on ‘Poverty and human capital’. He works since 1989 as a research manager, currently head of unit ‘education and lifelong learning’ at HIVA, a multidisciplinary research institute of the University of Leuven. He further specialised in social policy, more precisely the relationships between education, labour market policy and social inclusion (in rich as well as developing countries). He also has a part-time teaching assignment (economics of education, education and society, lifelong learning and equal opportunities) at the Department of Education Sciences of the same university. At the Faculty of Law, he teaches the ‘economics of social security’ in the European Master of Social Security programme. Besides his professional activities, he is chairing the Belgian Resource Centre for the Fight against Poverty, a centre created by law as an interface between the government, the civil society and grassroots organisations defending the interests of the poor. At EU level, he leads the Belgian team of the EC’s Social Policy Network.