Global development

Hasselt University sets up initiatives aimed at scientific cooperation with non-European and developing countries (science sharing). Hasselt University provides its students, researchers and staff with opportunities to acquire experience travelling in the South. At the same time, UHasselt seeks to attract students, PhD students, researchers and professors from the Global South to study, work and teach at Hasselt University. Furthermore, Hasselt University seeks to actively participate in the quest for sustainable solutions to social challenges in developing countries by working with local partner institutions. This way, Hasselt University expertise in education and research is applied globally.

The realisation of projects for development cooperation is possible thanks to funding provided by the Flemish Interuniversity Council - University Development Cooperation (VLIR-UOS) The different Institutional Coordinators Development Cooperation (ICOS) of the UHasselt International Office act as a link between UHasselt and VLIR-UOS. The ICOSs of the university are responsible for, among other things, the distribution of calls, guidance with project applications, monitoring of projects, quality controls, reporting and support to project staff.

In addition, each Flemish university is represented in the VLIR-UOS Bureau. The UHasselt Bureau members are Prof. Ken Haenen and Prof. Ann Cuypers.

Contact (ICOS) UHasselt:

Sara Schaeken (Global Minds, ICP, ITP, REI)
Ann Verstraeten(TEAM, SI, JOINT, IUC Morocco)
Liesbeth Oeyen (IUC Tanzania and Congo)


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, four IUC programmes are coordinated at Hasselt University.

DR Congo

1. IUC/CUI UNIKIS 2010-2023

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)

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.

More information:

2. IUC/CUI UNILU 2021-2032

On 1 September 2022 the first Phase of the IUC with UNILU officially started entitled "Challenges and opportunities for a sustainable socio-ecology of in the Katangese Copperbelt Area".

By providing adequate training and building stronger multi-disciplinary research capacities, UNILU, together with the local stakeholders, could make a significant contribution towards improving the sustainable socio-ecology situation in the Katangese Copperbelt Area.

The IUC has an annual budget of ca. 600.000€ and focuses on six sub-projects:


Flemish team leader

Local team leader

P1: Biodiversity and climate change

Prof. Pascal Boeckx (UGent)

Prof. Basile Mujinya Bazirake

P2: Environment and health

Prof. Virginie Bito (UHasselt)

Prof. Salvius Bakari Amuri

P3: Governance and security

Prof. Sara Geenen (UAntwerpen)

Prof. Laurent Ngoy Ndjibu

P4: Entrepreneurship

Prof. Nikolay Dentchev (VUB)

Prof. Pascal Sem Mbimbi

P5: Climate smart agriculture for sustainable food systems

Prof. Geert Haesaert (UGent)

Prof. Florence Kampemba Mujinga

P6: Institutional capacity building

Prof. Jean-Michel Rigo (UHasselt)

Prof. Donatien Dibwe Dia Mwembu

More information:


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

More information:


On 1 September 2022, the first Phase of the IUC with Ardhi University officially started entitled "Building Capacity in Education, Research, Innovation and Societal Outreach to Foster an Inclusive and Sustainable Built Environment in a Rapidly Urbanizing City, Dar Es Salaam (SDG 11 In Dar Es Salaam)".

Ardhi University (ARU) will establish an African Centre for Sustainable Cities Studies (ACS1) in order to (i) build capacity in education and training, research, innovation and societal outreach to contribute in generating solutions to these challenges and contribute to the sustainable growth of Dar es Salaam and its wider region in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in general and SDG 11 in particular, and (ii) realize the ambition of becoming an internationally recognized, inclusive, civic university that responds to societal and environmental problems.

The IUC has an annual budget of 600.000 EURO and seven sub-projects:


Flemish team leader

Local team leader

P1: Land use planning

Prof. Oswald Devisch (UHasselt)

Prof. Fredrick Magina

P2: Decent housing

Prof. Patrick Willems (KUL)

Prof. Jacob Kihila

P3: Socio-economic development

Prof. Joost Dessein (UGent)

Prof. Makarius Mdemu

P4: Urban transport

Prof. An Neven (UHasselt)

Prof. Wilfred Kazaura

P5: Cultural heritage

Prof. Koenraad Van Cleempoel (UHasselt)

Prof. Shubira Kalugila

P6: Gender and participation

Prof. Nathalie Holvoet (UAntwerpen)

Prof. Nelly Babere

P7: ICT and SSIC

Dhr. Dieter Roefs (UGent)

Dr. Ntwa Katule

More information:

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


Partner institution


Project leader


Bahir Dar University

Prof. Nyssen (UGent)

Marc Goovaerts (UHasselt)


Universidad Católica Boliviana San Pablo

Prof. Loots (VUB)


Quy Nhon University

Prof. Temst (KU Leuven)

Pieter Lernout (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. 5 years and has a total budget of 280.000€. There are regular calls, launched by VLIR-UOS.

More information:

Current UHasselt TEAM projects:


Partner institution

Project title


Universidad de Oriente

Climate-adapted production of plants with neuro-active compounds in the South-Eastern region of Cuba

DR Congo

Université de Kindu

Rethink and reform education of medical doctors to enhance patient care in KINDU, through the renewal of the medical curriculum at the Faculty of Medicine at UNIKI (University of KINDU, DR Congo)


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€.

More information:

UHasselt is involved in different SI:


Partner institution

Project title

DR Congo

Université de Kisangani

Mastering ICT tools by the University of Kisangani education actors

DR Congo

Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé

The use of virtual reality in the management of children and teenagers with sickle cell disease after stroke in Democratic Republic of Congo: clinical implementation, users’ acceptance and validation study


Universidad Central "Marta abreu" de las Villas

Development of a research data management strategy in Higher Education and Research Institutes in a Latin American context

UHasselt was also involved in the application of two SI of association partner University Collega PXL:


PXL promotor

Partner institution

Project title


Sara Janquart

Jimma University

Developing a sustainable palliative care network in Ethiopia through co-creation of an interdisciplinary educational programme


Dorien Jansen

Universidad Técnica del Norte

A high-impact professionalization trajectory for UTN (and PXL)-lecturers to promote educational inclusion while respecting 'cultural identity’


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€. There are no calls for JOINT projects foreseen in the current five year plan.

More information:


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.

Hasselt University currently has two International Course Programmes:

More information:


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.

More information:

Global Minds

Global Minds is a project funded by VLIR-UOS. Each university has developed its own Global Minds project that matches the needs of the institution. The first Global Minds project (2017-August 2022) was completed and the second Global Minds project (pdf, 936 KB) runs from September 2022 to August 2027.

The Global Minds project of Hasselt University aims to provide students, employees and other stakeholders of Hasselt University with a broad view of the world and to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge so that they can contribute to a sustainable and equitable world for people, animal and planet and have an impact on society to guarantee a sustainable and esuitable future.

By organizing various activities within the Global Minds project, the aim is to contribute to this objective.

A few Global minds activities:

More information?