Funding VLIR-UOS for international master’s programme of Statistics and Transportation Sciences Sep 13, 2016
Prof. dr. Tom BRIJS
VLIR-UOS recently awarded new funding to the international master’s programmes of Statistics and Transportation Sciences of Hasselt University. The funding – for the period 2017 - 2021 – is part of the ‘International Course Program (ICP)’.
With the International Course Program, VLIR-UOS financially supports English master’s programmes focussing on development-related themes. The programmes (mainly) welcome students from developing countries – to whom VLIR-UOS funds scholarships.
In the past years, the international master’s programme of Statistics received a lot of attention from students from the South – about 250 applications while offering only 16 scholarships. Prof. Dr Niel Hens: “The VLIR-UOS funding acknowledges the innovative and scientific value and importance of Statistics in the field of medicine, food safety and agriculture.”
Regarding the new ICP-edition, the master’s programme of Statistics introduces some innovations. “We aim at new partnerships with organizations in Morocco and Vietnam. Furthermore, our master’s programme will slightly differ from the last edition as we introduce three new courses taught by professors from the South (‘Design of Agricultural Experiments’, ‘Planning of Health Studies’ and ‘Capita Selecta’). The programme will attract twelve southern students annually. In the long run, we hope to establish – with these students or universities from the South – a local educational programme of Statistics or to expand the number of international students in our master’s programme.”
Thanks to the ICP-funding, the Master of Transportation Sciences annually offers twelve students from developing countries a scholarship. The programme takes two years and has a specific focus on road safety in developing countries. Prof. Dr Tom Brijs: “Developing countries face an increase of people participating in traffic, with all its consequences. The World Bank predicts that the number of road victims in Asia will double in the near future. That’s why it is incredibly important to build local knowledge and expertise in road safety and to strengthen it.”
Within the next years, the Master of Transportation Sciences will organize additional lectures and courses on this topic. Moreover, the master’s programme and the Transportation Research Institute (IMOB) aim to expand and strengthen their international network. “In our ambition to expand and strengthen our international network, we strongly focus on Vietnam, a partner of Hasselt University. It is our main goal to launch a Master of Transportation Sciences at the Ton Duc Thang University in Ho Chi Minh and thus to assure in the long run local expertise in road safety.”
“The selection of these ICP’s give us – Hasselt University – the ideal opportunity to shape our ambition of science sharing with partners from the South”, said Vice Rector Paul Janssen. “By offering these programmes, we are able to lift the scientific networking with the South to a higher level.”
Thanks to the international intake of students in the Masters of Statistics and Transportation Sciences, Hasselt University has widen its expertise and the number of researchers has grown. “Essential in this story is the impact in the South. Students who returned to their home country with solid knowledge and expertise, contributed and are still contributing to the capacity building of their home university.”