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:
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.
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:
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.
2. IUC/CUI UNILU 2021-2032
In March 2021, the IUC partnership entered the IUC Phase-In, the preparatory stage during which the operational set-up of the long-term IUC cooperation between the local partner university and the Flemish higher education institutions is prepared. On 1 September 2022 the first Phase of the IUC with UNILU officially started with an annual budget of ca. 600.000€. The IUC focuses on six themes that will be further developed during the Phase-In. These six subprojects are coordinated by Flemish academics from different universities:
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
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
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
Prof. Rigo (UHasselt)
P2: environmental health
Prof. Godderis (KULeuven)
Prof. El Jaafari
P3: food safety & biotechnology
Prof. Haesaert (UGent)
P4: integrated water management
Prof. Van Rompaey (KULeuven)
P5: sustainable territorial development
Prof. Vanheusden (UHasselt)
P6: aromatic & medicinal plants
Prof. Hendriks & prof. Bito
All projects share common goals:
In March 2021, the IUC partnership entered the IUC Phase-In, the preparatory stage during which the operational set-up of the long-term IUC cooperation between the local partner university and the Flemish higher education institutions is prepared. On 1 September 2022, the first Phase of the IUC with Ardhi University officially started with an annual budget of ca. 600.000€. The IUC focuses on seven themes that will be further developed during the Phase-In (more information about these themes can be found in the extended concept note (pdf, 1.1 MB)). These seven subprojects are coordinated by Flemish academics from different universities:
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
Besides, several academics from Hasselt University are project leaders or team members in IUC’s that are coordinated by other Flemish universities.
Prof. De Waele
Prof. Van Petegem
Prof. Van Geertruyden
A. Peters, H. Gevaerts, M. Vanhove
J.M. Rigo, T. Kuppens
Prof. J.M. Rigo
Prof. Vanheusden, Prof. Hendriks
N. Hellings, M. Goovaerts, R. Malina, N. Witters, S. Lizin M. Gielen, W. Clijsters
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.
Current UHasselt TEAM projects:
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€.
UHasselt is involved in different SI:
2. 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.
Development of a research data management strategy in Higher Education and Research Institutes in a Latin American
UHasselt was also involved in the application of two SI of association partner University Collega PXL:
Developing a sustainable palliative care network in Ethiopia through co-creation of an interdisciplinary educational programme
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€.
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:
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.
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. A first Global Minds program (2017-August 2022) was completed and a second Global Minds project will run 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.
Global minds event, organisations