Indirect university cooperation

Indirect university cooperation is governed by six agreements (one general agreement and five agreements) between the Belgian state and the francophone (French speaking) universities represented by the ARES (Académie de recherche et d'enseignement supérieur, blog), and between the Belgian state and the Flemish universities represented by the VLIR (Vlaamse Interuniversitaire Raad). These agreements are accompanied by five-year plans that determine the objectives and resources specified for university cooperation.

Specific agreements (or the various tools for university cooperation)

a. Specific agreement regarding educational costs

These are the costs of educating students from developing countries in a Belgian university.

b. Specific agreement regarding North actions

These are all development cooperation activities that are primarily organised at Belgian universities, in particular:

  • policy-supporting research;
  • educational programmes (international courses and traineeships) and international congresses;
  • study trips by university students to partner countries;
  • operational grants for the VLIR and ARES.

Each year, the VLIR and ARES must submit a programme showing the amounts allocated to each type of activity.

c. Specific agreement regarding the universities’ own initiatives

These are projects with a maximum duration of five years which aim to strengthen the educational and research capacities of Southern countries, with particular attention being given to strategic research projects. These must involve genuine development projects for the partner country.

d. Specific agreement regarding institutional university cooperation

The objective of this form of cooperation is to consolidate the educational, research and administrative capacities of a (limited) number of institutions in the South.

e. Specific agreement regarding scholarships

This agreement entrusts the ARES and VLIR with the management of the scholarships and traineeships programme. These scholarships are granted for international courses and traineeships.

It should be noted that the various agreements governing university cooperation will soon be updated to:

  • strengthen the programme approach and, through this, increase the predictability of funding provided for universities in the South;
  • include, where possible, the principles of the Paris declaration;
  • harmonise the various channels used by Belgian cooperation for granting scholarships.