About University Development Cooperation

Everyone knows about "classical" development cooperation, but did you know that VUB is involved in several research and teaching activities with universities in the Global South? Each year, VUB professors work together with their colleagues from countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia to tackle global issues and perform excellent research. At the same time, student mobility (North-South or South-North) is geared towards the exchange of knowledge and experience. In these ways (and more), the whole VUB community and their partners are strengthening their capacity and building sustainable relationships.

Scroll down for the latest info, or visit our pages for Global Minds projects and Universitas scholarships.

Questions? Ideas? Head on over to the Contact tab.

UDC Career Award

for nurturing partnerships and being an inspiration to others

Who will you nominate?

What students have to say

Read students' reports on their travels to the Global South

Map of REI Scholarships

Global Minds 2021

Building our capacity and increasing visibility for sustainable development

The Global Minds Programme (GM), supported by VLIR-UOS, aims to increase VUB’s capacity in knowledge, scientific approaches and technologies to sustain, improve and expand its collaboration with partners in the South (developing countries). By integrating development issues into education and research, Global Minds strives to foster global citizenship and solidarity in society to better respond to global challenges. The Global Minds framework enables various projects and mobilities which we introduce in the next paragraphs. Links to all calls can be found at the bottom of this page.


Projects & Mobilities

An overview

1. XREI: Staff Mobility

The objective of this call is to stimulate the mobility of staff. This can be VUB personnel travelling South, or Southern staff travelling to the VUB or to a VUB organised event in Belgium. However, the mobility should contribute to capacity-building with regard to university development cooperation within VUB (in accordance with the Global Minds objectives). The destination is limited to the 31 countries of the VLIR-UOS list (except Suriname).

The next deadlines for submissions of XREI are:

  • Friday, 30 April 2021, 23:59

  • first week of September

2. Student Group Mobility [CALL CLOSED]

In addition to staff mobility, we also wish to stimulate outgoing student mobility, and to promote structured cooperation between the VUB and international institutions of higher education. The project must be development-relevant. The group mobility must contain at least 10 students and each student must obtain at least 15 ECTS ("study credits") at the host institution. The destination is limited to the 31 countries of the VLIR-UOS list (except Suriname). Students wanting to go abroad, will have to follow UCOS training before applying to the call.

"Small budget, Great impact!"

3. Small Great Projects [CALL CLOSED]

Small Great Projects (SGP's) aim to strengthen VUB’s academic capacity to participate in university development cooperation. Project proposals should stimulate an (innovative) development dimension in (one or more of) the three missions of the university (education, research and outreach), which are aligned with the core values of the university.

Examples include (but are certainly not limited to) international seminars, alumni gatherings, awareness raising events on campus and movies on VUB projects; about food, migration, the climate crisis, SDG's, entrepreneurship in the Global South.

Please take note of the new budget conditions for SGP's. From 2020 on the budget allows for a maximum of 2 international travels (return flights). More details can be found in the call.


4. Post-doc [CALL CLOSED]

By giving the faculties or departments the chance to hire a Post-doc who can focus fully on development-related proposal writing, research, teaching material, and more, Global Minds hopes to strengthen the capacity of the department (and hence the VUB) when it comes to university development cooperation.

5. Joint PhD

The objective of this call is to ensure a minimum academic capacity in development at the faculty level of the VUB so it can engage in effective University Development Cooperation with other stakeholders and strengthen the scientific collaboration with universities in the South by means of joint research in areas of mutual interest, through joint PhD-scholarships.

Be aware this call requires three annexes: the application file, a letter of recommendation, and a research proposal.


University Development Cooperation Career Award

For nurturing partnerships and being an inspiration to others

The UDC Career Award, organised within the framework of Global Minds, acknowledges VUB professors, their contribution to University Development Cooperation, and their part in the GM Programme.  Moreover, with this award we aim to increase the visibility of UDC at VUB, but also raise awareness among the VUB community about the opportunities for academic development cooperation.

For more information, head on over to the UDC Award page (or download the call below).


The full calls and application forms can be found below. For more information, please contact developoment.cooperation@vub.be for general questions, Olivia Lebbe for questions about the GM framework, or Françoise De Cupere for questions about the UDC Career Award.

* for all projects and mobilities (except Joint PhD)

University Development Cooperation Career Award

For nurturing partnerships and being an inspiration to others

The VUB has a long history of professors and staff working together with higher education institutions in countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, be it on their own initiative, or within the framework of national or international funding schemes. By doing joint research and by exchanging knowledge and skills, we actively strengthen the capacities of universities in the Global South and at VUB. At the same time, we want to enhance the knowledge of students, researchers and professors by working with new examples, new methods and unconventional field cases. This leads to improved quality of education at VUB and partner universities. Through cooperation, VUB staff, and their local colleagues, have an impact on the local and global challenges and as such, they greatly contribute to society.

With this award, we acknowledge VUB staff, their contribution to university development cooperation (UDC), and their part in the Global Minds Programme.  Moreover, with this award we aim to increase the visibility of university development cooperation at VUB, but also raise awareness among the VUB community about the opportunities for academic development cooperation.


Nominations for the UDC Career Award 2021 are now OPEN. More information and how to submit your nominations can be found in this document.

If you have any more questions, please contact Françoise De Cupere.


Submission deadline: 25 January 2022

The International Relations Office (IRMO) is launching the new, revised UNIVERSITAS call 2022 for  scholarships to candidates belonging to VUB-linked institutions, in developing countries.

This call is the third within the framework of the newly developed programme, as approved by the RIB on 5 November 2019.

The deadline for submission of proposals is is 25 January 2022.

We encourage everyone to share this page with any interested colleagues and partners. 

IRMO will organise an info session on 15 December 10:00 - 11:30.  Sign in here

Please download the full calls and application forms below. For more information, please contact development.cooperation@vub.be or christophe.goossens@vub.be.

Programme Coordinator UDC
Annabel Van Damme

+32 (0)2 614 80 74

Programme Coordinator UDC
Françoise De Cupere

+32 (0)2 614 80 82

Programme Coordinator UDC
Olivia Lebbe

+32 (0)2 614 80 76


International Relations

UDC is a part of the VUB International Relations Office (IRMO)

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Partner: UCOS

UCOS provides training for staff and students going abroad, and more...

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