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Institutional University Cooperation (IUC)

A 10-year partnership between a university in the South and universities and university colleges in Flanders.

Open call

Every 3-5 years

Target group

Universities in partner countries and Flemish universities and university colleges


2 x 5 years plus a two-year phase out period


EUR 350 000 - EUR 600 000 per year

Need more information?

Contact the ICOS at the Flemish institution of your choice.

What is an IUC?

Institutional University Cooperation (IUC) programmes are long-term institutional partnerships between a university in the South and the Flemish universities and university colleges in Flanders.

What is the goal?

The general objective of Institutional University Cooperation is “Empowering the local university as institution to better fulfil its role as development actor in society”. This means that an IUC envisions not only a contribution to developmental change –linked to different academic priority domains– outside the university but also a change process within the university leading to improved performance of the Higher Education Institution (HEI) in a number of institutional priority domains.

How does it work?

An IUC partner programme is guided by a strong overall programme strategy and logic supported by a coherent set of synergetic/complementary projects involving interdisciplinary approaches. An IUC envisions both institutional and developmental change. This change realised through academic theme-based projects (research and educational strengthening of involved departments) and mandatory transversal (institutional strengthening) projects. These “transversal projects” are expected to focus on institution-wide organisational capacity building in a number of prioritised institutional policy domains (research policy, curricula/accreditation, university management, HRD, international relations, finance department, gender policy); and/or in domains of internal service delivery (ICT, library, language, basic sciences labs, ..); and/or in domains of external service delivery (outreach services, dissemination, extension/ Research and Technology Transfer (RTT) - offices, communication, ...)

What is the application procedure?

The IUC intake process is a multi-stage process with 3 main selection stages, each consisting of several steps in the procedure. The first stage in an IUC selection and intake process is a Call for Concept Notes South open to universities in a limited number of partner countries (as indicated in the call). This first selection stage leads to the shortlist  of potential IUC partner institutions that will move into a next (second) selection stage (institutional assessments, followed by a call for extended concept notes). Result of the Extended Concept Note stage is a selection of partner institutions moving into a Phase in (matchmaking, formulation of final programme proposals). In a final stage, partner programme proposals are selected in view of starting an IUC partner programme on 1 January 2022. More information can be found under the Calls section.

IUC 2022 – Phase In

In March 2021, 5 new partner universities entered the IUC Phase In, the last stage in the preparations  to engage in IUC cooperation with Flemish HEIs.

Overview IUC 2022 – Selected IUC for Phase In

The IUC Phase In is a preparatory stage of a longterm IUC partnership (Phase I) between a local partner university and the Flemish HEIs. During this stage the operational set-up of an IUC partnership is prepared as well as the necessary steps in the formulation process of a Phase 1 project proposal for 2022-2026.
Overview IUC 2022 – Selected IUC for Phase In :

Country Partner Institution Local Coordinator Programme Title Flemish Institution Flemish Coordinator  ICOS 
DR Congo Université de Lubumbashi César Nkuku Khonde Challenges and opportunities for a sustainable socio-ecology in the Katangese Copperbelt Area UHasselt Virginie Bito Liesbeth Oeyen
Kenya Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology Benson Estambale Strengthening Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology Capacity in Natural Resource Management, Food Security and Health Vrije Universiteit Brussel Ann Van Griensven Annabel Van Damme
Tanzania Ardhi University Gabriel Kassenga Building Capacity in Education, Research, Innovation and Societal Outreach to Foster an Inclusive and Sustainable Built Environment in a Rapidly Urbanizing City of Dar Es Salaam UHasselt Rob Cuyvers Liesbeth Oeyen
Uganda Mbarara University of Science and Technology Charles Tushabomwe-Kazooba University as a Facilitator for Community Based Sustainable Solutions to Demographic Challenges in South Western Uganda (UCoBS) Vrije Universiteit Brussel Gily Coene Annabel Van Damme
Vietnam Quy Nhon University Thi Ngan Vu Improving livelihoods and living conditions by the sustainable development of the South-Central Coast and Central Highlands of Vietnam through enhancing the capacity of Quy Nhon University KU Leuven Kristiaan Temst Elise Konings/Piet Wostyn

General information on the IUC project tool:

IUC 2022_Background document_General IUC Concepts and framework

IUC 2022_Background document_IUC Management structure and adapted procedure for IUC team composition

IUC 2022_Background document_Short Overview IUC Team Leaders

VLIR-UOS Connect Sessions

In the fall of 2021, VLIR-UOS - in close cooperation with the involved partner universities - organised connect sessions where the IUC-project proposals were presented to the broader public.

You can find their short introductory videos here, as well the registration of their respective connect sessions.

We. Sept. 15

UNILU / UHasselt

Fr. Oct. 1

ARU / UHasselt

Th. Oct. 7

QNU / KU Leuven

Th. Oct. 14


Fr. Oct. 29


IUC Platform

The new IUC projects have a dedicated sharepoint, the IUC Platform where they can interact with each other, exchange lessons learned and also find all formats and guidelines for formulation.

Each IUC also has a reserved page.

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