Global Minds Fund

The Global Minds Fund provides opportunities to build innovative responses to global and local challenges with partners form the Global South. Since 2017, the Federal Government allocates funds to Ghent University through the office of the VLIR-UOS to further develop and expand its collaboration with partners of the Global South. Global Minds Ghent University funds initiatives that enhance Ghent university’s research and/or teaching capacity with respect to partnerships with the Global South. The programme exists out of 5 pillars and fits into the Integrated Policy Plan for Internationalisation.

Global Minds

Regional Platforms

The regional platforms (RP) offer support, facilities and advice to expand existing or set up new forms of cooperation, to the Ghent University community.

  • They bring together all relevant academic and administrative expertise and look for synergies with external know-how.
  • They support the development of new initiatives in mobility and new forms of cooperation.
  • They strive for impact in the region and on the external policy towards this region.
  • They promote the expertise and activities of Ghent University and its country-based partners towards the region of focus, thus contributing to the international Ghent University brand.

The RPs are a policy tool for the faculties and their respective internationalisation agenda. Each of the faculties is represented in the platform steering group.

Regional Platforms map

The Global Minds Fund cofinances the Ghent University:

ASEAN & South Asia Platform

CESAM Platform

AFRICA Platform

More information on other Regional Platforms

Strategic Institutional Partnerships

The Strategic Institutional Partnerships (SIP) funded by Global Minds Ghent University focus on the university-wide cooperation with preferential partners in the Global South.

  • SIPs are formal, long-term and multi-dimensional cooperation partnerships between Ghent University and an international institution, that has acted in the past as a formal Partner Institution in a VLIR-UOS IUC programme. The partnership is based upon mutual recognition and upon a joint investment on an equal and/or complementary basis.
  • SIPs are platforms open for bottom-up ideas, initiatives and opportunities. A SIP is not bound to one project, it is the umbrella over a future pool of different projects focusing on a specific partner and should be the incubator to attract funding, and can be the start of initiatives in new areas. A SIP acts as a laboratory to further study how university cooperation leads to sustainable and long lasting effects in local communities.
  • SIPs offer a maximum range of opportunities to faculties, departments and individual staff and students of Ghent University to engage with well-known preferential and high quality partners in the Global South together with the prospect of institutional support and recognition. The SIPs provide an ideal environment for students, junior and senior staff members of Ghent University to have first experiences with Global South partnerships.

The Global Minds Fund finances 4 Institutional Partnerships based on long-standing development cooperation projects.

Can Tho University (Vietnam)
Strengthening valorisation of joint research with Can Tho University (CTU)

The overall objective of the proposed SIP is to create an enabling environment for valorisation of prior, current and future collaboration. To do so, the SIP will
- establish a platform bringing together selected CTU and Ghent University partners with stakeholders from the private sector and NGO’s both in Vietnam as in Belgium, and stakeholders from other relevant parties such as provincial and city authorities;
- develop a series of activities geared at boosting the transition from academic output to applications with societal relevance. Given the nature of former and ongoing collaboration between both partners, activities will focus on disciplines related to the sustainable and reliable value chain in food production;
- provide support by the UGent UTC to enhance English language skills at CTU, resulting in improved communication and interaction between both partners and increased exchange of students in both directions.

Coordinator Ghent University: Prof. Koen Dewettinck

Global Minds

ESPOL (Ecuador)
UGent-ESPOL integrated solutions partnership

The SIP will cooperate on joint opportunities and challenges, via both matching and complementary expertise. Joint efforts will imply that funding sources will be brought together e.g. from VLIR Biodiversity Network, Joint and SI projects, EU projects, VLIR, FWO funding etc. This will allow to gather much more relevant and integrated data than the single projects are able to. Further capacity building activities will be embedded in the joint research and integration of new researchers will be catalysed by existing cooperations.

Coordinator Ghent University: Prof. Peter Goethals

Jimma University (Ethiopia)
Expanding the research collaboration and PhD capacity building between Ghent and Jimma University: Adding new research disciplines and reinforcing the existing ones

The SIP has two main objectives

  1. To offer financial and contextual support to (new) Ghent University PHD supervisors of NASCERE PhD students
  2. To involve new Ghent University professors, especially those from disciplines that were not yet involved in historical collaboration between Ghent and Jimma University, such as civil engineering, ecology, sociology, anthropology, criminology and economy. The SIP project will advertise the opportunities for collaboration, also for these disciplines, and bring investigators together from these disciplines with colleagues who have been active in Ethiopia. This could lead to new North-South partnerships with joint research and possibly PhD research using the NASCERE project with some financial support from SIP for the North promoter.

Coordinator Ghent University: Prof. Luc Duchateau

Photograph: Prof. dr. Piet Pattyn with partners in Jimma UniversityNascere - Prof. dr. Piet Pattyn

University of the Western Cape (South Africa)
Turning Diversity into Capacity

In today’s South Africa, a large part of people’s daily life involves getting to grips with diversity, in the wake of complex and unsettling histories of dislocation, relocation and anomie, while the country at the same time pursues aspirations of socio-economic mobility, education-for-all, service delivery and quality of life in a context which is still ridden by both inherited and more recent forms of inequality. Strategies are needed for rendering the values of care, empathy and respect for diversity into coherent policies and into practices which successfully feed across relevant spheres of socio-economic and public activity (education, health, economy, welfare, etc.). As part of understanding the contemporary dynamics, the notion of “diversity” in many ways continues to require “unpacking” – empirically, theoretically, critically and practically, both in the global North and South. This strategic interinstitutional programme (SIP) is driven by an interdisciplinary, cross-faculty agenda of scientific exchange and collaboration, which engages in a future-oriented theoretical-conceptual debate and framework for knowledge production and social impact. The SIP-program currently hosts 12 joint PhD dissertation projects. Six doctoral scholars have UWC and six have Ghent University as their “base camp”.

Coordinator Ghent University: Prof. Stef Slembrouck

More information on other SIPs at Ghent University

International Thematic Networks

The international thematic networks (ITN) are cooperative networks consisting of Ghent University staff members and international partners concerning a specific topic of excellence in education and research.
The network of international partners offers an added value through synergy by strengthening the existing capacity and expertise within Ghent University, and/or strengthening the capacity of partners in the Global South.


  • The network offers support to members of the Ghent University community in the chosen disciplines to engage internationally.
  • It supports the development of new initiatives in mobility, research, education and service to society. It strives for an increase both in the quality and in resources for the work done within Ghent University around this theme.
  • Further, the network promotes the excellence of the institution in this field, thus contributing to the position as an important partner in education, research and service to society and to the international Ghent University brand in general. Global Minds
The Global Minds Fund cofinances the following ITNs:
ANSER-Sexual and Reproductive Health
Governance in Conflict (GiC) Network
Plant B + B

More information on other ITNs at Ghent University

Former calls 2017-2021 

These calls of the first five-year plan (2017-2021) reached out to Ghent community members to propose scientific or educational oriented initiatives to strengthen the Ghent University capacity in research, education and partnerships with the Global South.

Operational Grants for doctoral and postdoctoral fellows (OPG)

Ghent University wishes to provide funding to PhD students as well as young postdoctoral fellows to either support and expand their ongoing research on development-related research issues, promote the inclusion of a development cooperation dimension in their ongoing research or initiate university development cooperation research within their department.
The amount of the grant is € 12,500.
-This call is closed-

University Development Cooperation Capacity Building (CB) Research in Nakivale Refugee Settlement in collaboration with Nakivale Researchers Network (NRN) © Karen Büscher, 2019GMF

Ghent University provides funding for initiatives that enhance the university’s research and/or teaching capacity with respect to development cooperation. This call reaches out to all Ghent community members, academic and non-academic staff and students, to propose scientific or educational oriented initiatives.
Proposals can be submitted for two budget categories:
Category A up to €7,500 (e.g. explorative missions, guest lectures, staff training, …)
Category B up to €15,000 (e.g. conference)
-This call is closed-

Short Research Stays (SRS)

GMF Ghent University provides funding to junior and senior researchers from one of the 31 VLIR-UOS countries who wish to spend a short research stay (SRS) at Ghent University to support and expand their ongoing research on development-related research issues.
Visitors will receive a monthly allowance for a stay between 1 month and 90 days (€1400/month). This grant does not provide the airline ticket.
-This call is closed-

Sensitizing Events (SE)

The Global Minds Fund of Ghent University provides funding for events or actions that raise awareness among the Ghent University community (students, co-workers, other Ghent University stakeholders) on Global South perspectives and challenges in a context of global issues and inequalities on the one hand and the approaches Ghent University is taking to tackle some of these problems on the other.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified by the United Nations will be used as guidance for themes within this call.
Selected proposals will be granted a contribution up to a maximum of € 3.500.
-This call is closed-

CALLS 2023-2027

Show me the calls

VLIR-UOS Travel Grants

Students from the European Economic Area (EEA) who are enrolled at Ghent University can apply for a VLIR-UOS travel grant. Global Minds
This grant provides limited financial support for an internship or a research stay in one of the 31 scholarship countries and Suriname.
More information on VLIR-UOS travel grants and other funding opportunities.

Policy study at Ghent University: moving beyond development cooperation

How do we, at Ghent University, want to engage in international cooperation with academic and non-academic partners based in Latin America, Africa and Asia – and how do these partners want to collaborate with us? This question is central to a two-year policy study on “moving beyond university development cooperation (March 2021 – June 2023).

Detailed information


Interested in collaboration with Belgian NGO’s? Have a look at NGO-Openbook. This website presents a selection of projects from Belgian NGOs that are mostly co-funded by the Directorate-general Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD) and published in the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). For each individual project, you can find a description, information about the country, local partners, sector, status of implementation, financial information, as well as indicators to measure their progression and results.


Prof. Dr. Guido Van Huylenbroeck, Director for Internationalisation
Global Minds promoter

Steven Schoofs
Global Minds coordinator