ERLNMYR is the busi­ness of impro­vi­ser and doc­tor in lin­guis­tics Ben Ver­hoe­ven. During his sci­en­ti­fic career he beca­me fas­ci­na­ted with sci­en­ce com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on for which he used many of his impro­vi­sa­ti­on skills. Below, we give an over­view of Ben’s back­ground and run­ning pro­jects in both sci­en­ce and impro­vi­sa­ti­on.


Ben has been doing impro­vi­sa­ti­o­nal the­a­ter sin­ce 2011. After a few years of taking cour­ses he co-foun­ded Swaajp Impro­the­a­ter in 2014 which by now has grown to a group per­for­ming month­ly in English as well as per­for­ming in cul­tu­ral cen­ters some­ti­mes. As a mem­ber of Com­mo­tie — musi­cal impro­vi­sa­ti­on — he won the Kemp­ha­nen com­pe­ti­ti­on for best long­form improv show in Flan­ders in 2017. Ben also tra­vels to inter­na­ti­o­nal improv fes­ti­vals to take work­shops and mas­ter­clas­ses, to see shows, but also to per­form with — for example — the Dut­ch-Bel­gi­an ensem­ble Were­wol­ves, the improv show which he co-directs. As a pas­si­o­na­te orga­ni­zer he is also a foun­ding mem­ber of The SIN — an inter­na­ti­o­nal net­work  of ambi­tious improv play­ers and orga­ni­zers in Euro­pe. Final­ly, Ben is also musi­cally talen­ted and you can some­ti­mes spot him at the side of a sta­ge as a per­cus­si­o­nist for improv shows, e.g. at Improo­ve­li­cious, the inter­na­ti­o­nal improv fes­ti­val in Leu­ven in 2018.


Ben is a com­puta­ti­o­nal lin­guist by edu­ca­ti­on, which is a lin­guist that stu­dies and models lan­gu­a­ge with com­pu­ters. His aca­de­mic career star­ted in 2012 with an inter­na­ti­o­nal internship at the North-West Uni­ver­si­ty in South Afri­ca whe­re he researched how the mea­ning of new­ly com­poun­ded words can auto­ma­ti­cally be dis­co­ver­ed. After that he star­ted as a PhD stu­dent at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ant­werp on the AMi­CA pro­ject in which text tech­no­lo­gy was used to detect trans­gres­si­ve beha­vi­our on soci­al media. In 2014 he obtai­ned an FWO Young Researchers Grant which gave him ano­ther four years to do research on author pro­fi­ling — the research ques­ti­on being: which charac­te­ris­tics of the author can we pre­dict based on text alo­ne. During his PhD Ben was very acti­ve as a sci­en­ce com­mu­ni­ca­tor. He achie­ved the third pla­ce at Fame­Lab Bel­gi­um, he per­for­med sci­en­ce come­dy at Bright Club Brus­sels, and he was acti­ve at seve­r­al uni­ver­si­ty events such as the Sci­en­ce Day / Sci­en­ce Week / Kid’s Uni­ver­si­ty. For all this, Ben was awar­ded in 2017 with a year pri­ze in sci­en­ce com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on for the KVAB. In June 2018 he suc­ces­sful­ly defen­ded his doc­to­ral the­sis and was thus given the diplo­ma Doc­tor in Lin­guis­tics.