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IUC 2017 Phase 1 UCB-B


This program aims to contribute to the development of the Bolivian society by enhancing institutional capacity building at the four regional academic units (Cochabamba, La Paz, Santa Cruz and Tarija) of the Universidad Católica Boliviana (UCB). Last decennium, Bolivia faced rapid economic, legal, social, climatic and environmental changes, having an impact on natural resources, agricultural production, food sustainability and social develop-ment and safety. Those changes have put urban and rural communities in vulnerable circumstances all over the country, diminishing and threatening the quality of life for its families and members, especially for women, children and adolescents.  
The program focuses on reducing this socio-ecological vulnerability of rural and urban communities by support-ing them to generate knowledge, know-how and practical tools to respond, adapt and anticipate to the problems accompanying the aforementioned changes, and creating more adapted inclusive and sustainable solutions. This contribution to increase community resilience to challenges of climate change, environmental degradation, migration and urbanization will be realized through the creation of Transdisciplinary Learning Communities (TLCs) at the four regional UCB universities, which include the three main geographical or socio-ecological regions of the country: (1) Altiplano/Highlands (UCB La Paz), (2) Valleys (UCB Cochabamba and UCB Tarija) and (3) Oriente/lowlands (UCB Santa Cruz), as well as all eight Departments of Bolivia.
The creation of transdisciplinary learning communities at the four regional UCB universities is based on two main strategies that will be realized during the first phase (2017-2021) of the program: (1) Improving and expanding currently developed UCB research in the areas of (a) social development and safety (Projects 1, 4 and 5), (b) environment and natural resources (Project 2), and (c) food sovereignty (Project 3) at the four regional UCB universities; and (2) Integrating and transforming the aforementioned UCB research into a transdisciplinary and collaborative learning community approach (Project 6). To deal with the interdependent complexity of the current socio-ecological challenges, this program aims to support UCB to build out interdisciplinary and inter-university research in collaboration with local communities in vulnerable urban and rural areas. By doing research that collaboratively involves local communities as equal partners - equally profiting in knowledge and expertise development – networks that generate knowledge and expertise are created within, between and outside universi-ties. By doing this, the program responds to the most important problems of Bolivian higher education, as men-tioned in the VLIR-UOS country strategy document: (1) insufficient research capacity, (2) insufficient interdiscipli-nary and interuniversity cooperation, and (3) lack of research support for institutes outside the universities.

Intervention type

Institutional University Cooperation


01/01/2017 - 31/12/2021

This project is being implemented in:
Flemish coordinator Gerrit Loots
Local coordinator Edith Marcela Velasco Losantos
Programme manager Rodrigo Alvarez
Financial collaborator Shana Cocqueriaux
GEO Rein Antonissen
Flemish institution Vrije Universiteit Brussel
visit www.vub.ac.be
Local partner institution Universidad Católica Boliviana “San Pablo”
Other Flemish Partners KU Leuven
visit www.kuleuven.be
Universiteit Antwerpen
visit www.uantwerpen.be
Universiteit Gent
visit www.ugent.be
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
visit www.vub.ac.be
visit https://www.odisee.be
Budget € 2.793.000