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SI 2023

Call Short Initiatives (SI) 2023




Maximum duration of 2 years



Short Initiative (SI) projects are short-term projects that aim to explore, build and deepen academic/scientific collaborations among diverse teams of academics and researchers. They are very accessible, particularly for new/young project promoters that are eager to go for a first experience as promoter of a VLIR-UOS project.

Like TEAM projects Short Initiatives focus on a sustainable development challenge, but within a shorter time framework and budget. The objective is the same: strengthen research and educational capacities of higher education and science institutions in partner countries and create the conditions for uptake of new and relevant knowledge, applications and/or services by academic, civil society, private and public actors.

An online information session took place on 6 December 2022. During this session, we presented the call and the application modalities:

1. SI 2023 Information Session - Basic info and formats

2. SI 2023 Financial guidelines intro

3. SI 2023 Information Session - Full Video

Another online information session took place on 9 June 2023. During this session, we presented ourselves and the steps to prepare for the start of your project.

1. SI - ITP 2023 Information Session - VLIRUOS and contracting

2. SI - ITP 2023 FAQ

3. SI - ITP 2023 Information Session - Full Video

How does it work?

  • A Short Initiative (SI) is expected to produce short-term results within the 2-year project duration.

  • SI projects are very accessible, in particular for new/young project promoters that were sensitised via the Global Minds framework or via involvement in ongoing projects of other promoters, and/or are eager to go for a first experience as a promoter of a VLIR-UOS project. Also academics with VLIR-UOS experience have access.

  • SI projects allow for differentiated aims (exploration, innovation, valorisation, etc.) and approaches (education, research, policy, outreach, people, networking)

  • The partnership can vary in terms of size and composition: one or more Flemish higher education institutions, one or more local higher education, and science institutions and/or other actors; one or more disciplines; young/new and/or more experienced academics, etc.

Who can apply?

An application for SI involves both a Flemish and a local promoter, but it is the Flemish promoter who submits the application.  

When submitting a project proposal, a promoter must meet both the internal criteria and regulations regarding the project promotership of their institution and the minimum conditions set by VLIR-UOS.

Specific details of the eligibility criteria and internal regulations regarding the project promotership of the respective Flemish universities have recently been under discussion. On 10 February 2023, the Bureau UOS took the following final decision regarding the calls SI 2023, ITP 2023, and PSP FYP2.

Affiliation and statute of promoters

Flemish promoter:

For the Flemish Universities

The minimum conditions set by VLIR-UOS for a lead promoter from a Flemish university to submit a proposal are the following:

  • one must be able to be an account holder within one's own institution;
  • one must have a ZAP (1) status at the time of submission, with a minimum appointment level of 10%;
  • postdocs can also submit, depending on the Flemish institution’s internal criteria and on condition that a ZAP member with at least 50% appointment of the institution with whom the contract will be signed is included in the pro-ject team as co-promoter;
  • ATP (2) members can also submit, depending on the nature of the project and provided they can be account holders within their own institution, without a ZAP member with minimum 50% appointment as co-promoter being part of the project team.

(1) ZAP: Zelfstandig Academisch Personeel (Independent Academic Personnel)
(2) ATP: Administratief en technisch personeel (Administrative and Technical Personnel)

For the Flemish universities of applied sciences and arts

  • The applicant must be a professor/lecturer. 

For the Flemish universities of applied sciences and arts, most professors/lecturers might not have permission to be budget holder. Another person, e.g. the director, can be assigned as budget holder for the project.

Partner promoter:

  • Employed at a recognised higher education institution or national public (not-for-profit) research institute located in a VLIR-UOS project partner country.

A Flemish promoter can submit a maximum of 2 SI projects in case they have no ongoing SI 2022 or TEAM 2022 project.

The rule of a maximum of 2 projects applies to the lead promoter and, in case a postdoc submits as lead promoter, also to the ZAP member who is co-promoter. Co-promoters are only counted from the 2023 calls on, as the rule did not yet exist for the 2022 calls.

The lead promoter will be invited to confirm, when submitting the proposal in the VLIR-UOS tool, to meet both the internal and VLIR-UOS eligibility criteria and regulations.

This framework is considered a pilot project for the 2023 calls. There will be an evaluation of the impact of these new eligibility criteria on the number of proposals and their distribution.

Additional criteria

  • Applicants (Flemish/partner) can submit a maximum of 2 SI projects in case they have no ongoing SI 2022 or TEAM 2022 project. Promoters of a SI 2022 or TEAM 2022 project can submit only 1 SI 2023 project. This rule applies to the lead promoter and, in case a postdoc submits as lead promoter, also to the ZAP member who is co-promoter. Co-promoters are only counted from the 2023 calls on, as the rule did not yet exist for the 2022 calls.
  • At the level of the partner institutions, no further criteria apply. Former and present IUC partner institutions are fully eligible, without any restriction.

Which partner countries are eligible?

Higher education and science institutions located in one of the 17 project partner countries listed below may apply for SI projects:

Benin, Bolivia, Burundi, Cuba, DR Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam

Budgetary framework

  • Project budgets amount to a maximum of 70.000 EUR for two years.

  • The overall budget for SI 2023 allows for a maximum of 29 selectable projects.

Financial guidelines for proposal writing

  • The VLIR-UOS financial guidelines for SI projects indicate which expenses are allowed in the framework of a project, how budgets are to be determined, and how expenses have to be accounted for. In order to support the project formulation, we provided you with a basic set of guidelines needed for filling out the budget proposal. (see Call Annex 2, financial guidelines ppt presentation)

The applicable budget lines are:

  • A.  Investment costs (durable goods with a long life that can be depreciated in the accounts over several years)

  • B.  Operational costs (“project-related” costs incurred for the purchase and/or operational use of goods that are not depreciated in the accounts and costs directly related to a specific project activity)

  • C.  Personnel costs

  • D.  Scholarship costs
  • E.1.  Coordination cost at the level of the Flemish institution (5% of the A-D total)

  • E.2.  Coordination cost at level of the partner institution(s) (5% of the A-D total)

How does the assessment procedure work?

  • All project proposals will be assessed and selected based on four standard selection criteria: (1) relevance and coherence of the project; (2) quality of the project design; (3) implementation set-up of the project; (4) potential impact and sustainability.

  • Project proposals are assessed by Regional Selection Commissions (Africa, Asia, Latin America) in May 2023.

  • The selection decision will be communicated shortly after the ratification of the decision by the Bureau UOS, ultimately in May 2023.

Useful documents

UPDATE: the budget format (Annex 2) was updated on 9 December. If you already downloaded the file before that date, please download the new version.

2023 Call for SI projects SI 2023 Call Annex 1_formulation guidelines SI 2023 Call Annex 2_financial guidelines intro Formats SI 2023

Need inspiration for a VLIR-UOS project? Here are some ideas for your project proposal.

How to submit a proposal?


The Flemish promoter of the proposed SI project submits the application to the ICOS of the Flemish university (association) for quality control. The ICOS will validate and submit to VLIR-UOS.


Project applications are submitted via an online submission tool.

If you already have access to this tool, you can click the “Apply now” button below. If you do not yet have access, and wish to create your project application, please contact the responsible person at the Flemish institution of your project application. They will grant you access to the tool.

Please note that we will also organise online trainings on the tool for submitting your proposal. You can register for the final training by clicking the link below:

You can find recordings of all previous trainings in the video manual library.


Deadline March 16, 2023, 5pm (CET).

Did you miss the information session or do you need details on the call? Check it here.





Information Session SI 2023

Our new Theory of Change