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An International Course Programme (ICP) is an accredited (initial or supplementary) master's programme of two, three or four semesters in a development-relevant subject. It is organised at a university in Flanders, with participants from developing countries as the target group. Within an ICP, VLIR-UOS finances a total of 12 scholarships a year.

Such an ICP is organised every year at Hasselt University. The Master of Statistics is an English-language master's programme spread over two academic years which has been organised by Hasselt University every year since its inception in 1988. From the outset, a programme was opted for with a high scientific profile and a strong emphasis on the applied aspects of statistics. It quickly proved to be of great interest to students from developing countries. This prompted the organisers to convert this existing programme, with the approval of VLIR-UOS, into an international course programme (ICP). The Master of Statistics ICP is funded by VLIR-UOS, and scholarships are offered to participants from developing countries. The application of recognition for this programme was ultimately received very positively because of its innovative nature (in terms of both content and teaching), scientific importance and relevance to development.

The goal of the Biostatistics ICP is to offer a vocational programme that leads to positions of ultimate responsibility in the management of statistical data, derived from either epidemiological or clinical studies (medical statistics) or ecological, biological or agricultural research (biometrics). The programme is designed to train scientists from the South, whose expertise will ensure that they have an immediate science-based impact within health care and food. By influencing policy within these socially relevant fields, they can help address critical problems in developing countries.

The Biostatics ICP is unique in Belgium; even in Europe, only a few similar programmes are offered. The academically rigorous programme is based on high-level scientific expertise. Internationally, the programme also has a strong reputation, as is clear from the international character of the student intake. Besides the various VLIR-UOS scholarship students from the South who take the programme every year, there are other participants from developing countries, as well as students from Eastern and Western European countries. Finally, there is growing interest among Flemish students in enrolling in this programme.

For more information about this ICP, click here.

For more information about scholarships, click here.

For more general information, visit the VLIR-UOS website.

An International Training Programme (ITP) is an intensive, interactive short-or medium-term programme with practical applications, organised at a university or university college in Flanders and aimed at participants from developing countries. The subject of an ITP relates to development challenges in one or more developing countries. VLIR-UOS finances about 13 scholarships a year within an ITP.

An ITP entitled 'Road Safety in Low and Middle Income Countries: Challenges and Strategies for Improvement' is organised at the University of Hasselt every year. This initiative usually takes place from mid-September to mid-December. (2016: 15 September - 9 December).

During this training course, participants become familiar with certain theories and methods that they then learn to apply. Three subjects are addressed during the ITP:

Infrastructure and mobility: The participants study infrastructure topics, as well as the life cycle of infrastructure projects and their modification. They then examine the impact of infrastructure on road safety and link infrastructure to behaviour: to what extent can road infrastructure influence human behaviour in traffic, and vice versa: how can behaviour contribute to better infrastructure design?

Behaviour: The participants learn to explain traffic and travel behaviour, as well as to organise awareness campaigns and educational programmes to influence this behaviour.

Road safety policy: Finally, the participants examine mobility and road safety policy. As new developments occur in cities or the countryside, a look will be taken at how road safety and mobility policy can be adapted to reflect them, taking account of a number of different aspects such as economics, demographics, ecology, spatial planning and so on.

Promotor: Prof. dr. Tom Brijs

For more information about this ICP, click here.

For more information about scholarships, click here.

For more general information, click here.

An Institutional University Cooperation (IUC) is a programme of 10 years, aimed at strengthening the capacities of one specific university in the South. IUC’s have an annual budget between 350.000€ and 570.000€, with 2 to 5 different academic projects and one transversal project for capacity building in transversal fields such as ICT, library, English, quality assurance, statistics, etc. 

An IUC is a policy-initiated programme and does not result from a competitive call: VLIR-UOS selects eligible countries, and institutions from those countries can submit a concept note. After a first selection, the partner institution meets and selects Flemish partners in the scientific areas of the subprojects. These experts become project leaders, and one Flemish university coordinates the whole programme.

At the moment, two IUC programmes are coordinated at Hasselt University:

Besides, several academics from Hasselt University are project leaders or team members in IUC’s that are coordinated by other Flemish universities:

University Country Timing University Coordinator Project leaders Team members
UNZI Zimbabwe '97-06 KULeuven Prof. Odeurs G. Janssens  
SLU/BSU Philippines '99-08 KULeuven Prof. De Waele   G. Janssens, 
JU Ethiopia '07-'17 UGent Prof. Duchateau P. Janssen N. Veraverbeke, 
M. Granitzer, 
Z. Shkedy
ADEKUS Suriname '08-'18 KULeuven Prof. Van Petegem G. Janssens P. Steels, 
KJ. Van Zwieten, 
P. Janssen, 
N. Veraverbeke
UEM Mozambique '08-'18 UGent Prof. Valcke M. Aerts, 
P. Foubert
UNALM Peru '09-'19 KULeuven Prof. Schrevens A. Peters P. Janssen
UL South-Africa '09-'19 UA Prof. Van Geertruyden C. Faes Z. Shkedy
UNIKIS Congo '10-'20 Hasselt University Prof. Ackaert J.M. Rigo  A. Peters, H. Gevaerts, M. Vanhove
UO Cuba '13-'22 VUB Prof. Sahli A. Cuypers, 
D. Vandamme
Hué Vietnam '13-'22 UGent Prof. Bossier G. Janssens J.M. Rigo, T. Kuppens
NM-AIST Tanzania '13-'22 KULeuven Prof. Brendonck Elke Piessens  
Bahir Dar Ethiopië '16-'26 UGent Prof. Nyssen M. Goovaerts  
UMI Marokko '16-'26 UHasselt Prof. J.M. Rigo Prof. Vanheusden, Prof. Hendriks N. Hellings, M. Goovaerts, R. Malina, N. Witters, S. Lizin M. Gielen, W. Clijsters 
 UCB Bolivia '16-'26 VUB Prof. Loots   P. Lernout

1. IUC/CUI UNIKIS 2010-2020

In December 2009, VLIR-UOS decided to deepen its collaboration on a country level with Congo. Three Congolese partner universities were selected to function as centres of expertise within the national cooperation programme. In addition, a transversal programme was created for capacity building for seven Congolese partner universities (as had already been done for ICT). 
The selected partners for an Institutional University Cooperation (IUC) with Congo were:

  • Université de Kisangani (UNIKIS) (coordination: Hasselt University)
  • Université Catholique du Congo (UCC) (coordination: UA)
  • Université Catholique de Bukavu (UCB) (coordination: KULeuven)

The IUC programme with UNIKIS started in 2010 for a period of 10 years and consists of three projects:

Project 1: Contribution of sustainable agriculture to food security in the North-East Basin of the DRC
Project leaders: Prof. Didy Onauthsu (UNIKIS) & Prof. Geert Baert (Ghent University) 

Project 2: Contribution of Biodiversity to Training and Food Security in the North-East Congo Basin
Project leaders: Prof. Hippolyte Nshimba (UNIKIS) & Dr. Erik Verheyen (University of Antwerp) 

Project 3: Institutional capacity building of UNIKIS
Project leaders: Prof. Augustin Issoy (UNIKIS) & Prof. Jean-Michel Rigo (UHasselt)

Academic coordinators: Prof. Johan Ackaert (UHasselt) & Prof. Oleko Woto (UNIKIS)
Administrative coordinators: Liesbeth Oeyen (Hasselt University) & Fidèle Lungymba (UNIKIS)

The first years of the project were mainly dedicated to investments and the foundation of the necessary infrastructure (search fields, laboratories) to prepare for the actual work of the coming years. Since January 2017 the project entered in its third phase and more emphasis will be put on vulgarisation and sustainability.

For more information about the programme, please check out the dedicated webpage


The IUC with Université Moulay Ismaïl in Morocco (Meknès) runs from 2016 until 2026. The programme has an annual budget of 570.000€ and consists of 6 subprojects that are led by different Flemish academics: 


Flemish project leader

Local project leader

P1: transversal

Prof. Rigo (UHasselt)

Prof. Oussouaddi

P2: environmental health

Prof. Godderis (KULeuven)

Prof. El Jaafari

P3: food safety & biotechnology

Prof. Haesaert (UGent)

Prof. Hajjaj

P4: integrated water management

Prof. Van Rompaey (KULeuven)

Prof. Essahlaoui

P5: sustainable territorial development 

Prof. Vanheusden (UHasselt)

Prof. Baguare

P6: aromatic & medicinal plants

Prof. Hendriks & prof. Bito

Prof. Zaid

All projects share common goals:

  • Education : creation of new Master programmes in the different disciplines, with a core curriculum 
  • Research: creation of common lab facilities, joint PhD’s and collaboration with local stakeholders
  • Outreach: trainings for graduates and stakeholders, based on regional needs and ambitions and access to lab facilities

Academic coordinators: prof. El Jaafari (UMI) & prof. Jean-Michel Rigo (UHasselt)

Administrative coordinators: Aziza Menouni (UMI) & Stéphanie Frere (UHasselt)

A TEAM project involves a scientific collaboration between two departments, one in Flanders and in the partner institution. The goal is to strengthen capacity in education and/or research in a specific scientific area, through various activities such as joint PhD’s, new study programmes, workshops, etc. 

A TEAM lasts max. 4 years and has a total budget of 280.000€. There is an annual call, launched by VLIR-UOS.
For more information, you can visit VLIR-UOS website.

Current projects: 

Capacity building network in biostatistics for public health innovation in Kenya 
Promoter: prof. Braekers (Centre for Statistics)
Duration: 2016 - 2019
This project runs from 2016 to 2019 and aims at the creation of a collaborative network between 2 established (UoN and JKUAT) and 7 younger Kenyan universities, UHasselt (promotor: prof. dr. Braekers), UGent, KU Leuven and KEMRI and builds capacity in biostatistics at 3 levels: joint supervision of PhD and master students and co-organization of annual workshops. The central approach is scientific innovation, collaboration and hands-on application of statistical methodology through real-life datasets on communicable diseases and cancer research to support policy and management of dominant public health challenges in Kenya.

Strengthening the scientific offer at the University Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah concerning the energy transition and the promotion of shared renewable energy in the region Fès-Meknès
Promoter: prof. Vanheusden (Faculty of Law)
Duration: 2017 – 2020
The project frames within the Moroccan national strategy for the development of renewable energy. The goal is to strengthen the capacity at the University Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah (USMBA) concerning legal scientific research on energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE). The project consists of two major parts: 1. the development of the legal scientific research at the USMBA concerning EE and RE via PhD researches, formations, studies and practical guides; 2. promote the energy transition in the region Fès-Meknès by making emerge together with local stakeholders a movement towards shared energy and by accompanying them with the structuring of projects.

Capacity building and exchange of expertise in cardiology and neurology in DRC
Promoter: prof. Hendrikx (Faculty of Medicine & Life Sciences)
Duration: 2017 – 2020 
This project is a continuation of a former South Initiative about heart failure with UNILU, and extend the collaboration to Bukavu (UCB). Two PhD students from UNILU will conduct research on hypertension and the biomarkers of CMPP. A third PhD student from UCB will contribute to the set up a department of neurology, through a scientific study of epilepsy and Konzo (local disease).

Development of a Rapid Point of Care Device for Tuberculosis Diagnosis in Morocco
Promoter: prof. Thoelen (Faculty of Industrial Engineering)
Duration: 2018-2021
The goal of this project is to contribute in reinforcing the implemented national and regional public health strategy in the effective management of TB among local populations. We aim to contribute to reducing susceptible and resistant TB transmission, morbidity, and mortality by enabling early TB screening and diagnosis the poorest and most crowded urban areas of Morocco. Thus, we will develop, in collaboration with Moroccan (MAScIR, ENSA of Tangier, Pasteur Institute) and Flemish (Hasselt University, PXL University College) institutions, an accurate, rapid, easy-to-use and cost-effective point-of-care (POC) device for the diagnosis of TB, which will allow higher access to quality health care for vulnerable groups.

South initiatives are small-scale projects with limited budgets, between academics in Flanders on the one hand and in developing countries on the other. There are two types of South initiatives: 'seed funding', when new partnerships are being established, and 'harvest funding', when the impact of a finished project is increased. The maximum duration of a South initiative is two years, with a total budget of 70.000€.

VLIR-UOS launches a yearly call for SI. 
More information on the website of VLIR-UOS.

There is one running South Initiative at Hasselt University:

Statistics for development in Indonesia
Promotor: prof. Verhasselt (Center for Statistics)
Duur: 2019-2020
The project is aimed at developing capacity in statistics for public health, medical and environmental research at Universitas Padjadjaran (UNPAD), Universitas Bengkulu and STIS Polytechnic of Statistics, both in education and research, with support of Hasselt University. By doing so, we are able to tackle among others infectious diseases, floods and land use changes. The focus is on biostatistical capacity building by organizing workshops on specialized statistical topics (epidemiology, longitudinal data and clinical trials, data management and mining). In order to enhance joint research projects with the stakeholders, we organize a statistic workshop for non-statisticians and a workshop on Academic English to improve the academic quality of research output. We setup a network with local stakeholders from the Faculty of Medicine at UNPAD, the Indonesian National Institute of Aeronautics and Space, the Meteorological Climatological and Geophysical Agency and with governmental (research) institutions with a focus on public health, medical and environmental research.

JOINT are networking projects between several universities from VLIR-UOS partner countries, together with one Flemish university. They are less scientific in nature, but focus rather on exchange of good practices in transversal aspects (management, ICT, library, etc). A JOINT has a duration of three years, with a maximum budget of 135.000€.

More information on the website of VLIR-UOS.

Current JOINT projects:

  • Statistics for development
    Promoter: prof. Shkedy (Center for Statistics), in collaboration with KULeuven & UGent
    Countries: Ecuador & Peru; South Africa& Ethiopia
    Duration: 2018-2020

  • A Cuban-Flemish Training and Research Program in Data Science and Big Data Analysis
    Promoter: prof. Valkenborg (Center for Statistics)
    Duration: 2018-2020
  • Improving quality control and monitoring of scientific research output on national and institutional level in Cuba and Peru
    Promoter: Marc Goovaerts (Library)
    Duration: 2019-2021