Uganda Matchmaking 2012

PLATFORM and 'Community based development' IUC with Mountains of the Moon University

In June 2011, the Bureau UOS took the decision to shift from the traditional system of selection based on 'open calls' to strategy and country based calls in a phased manner. Five countries (Ecuador, Cuba, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam) went up front in the strategy identification process and for each country a strategy was formulated. The other countries (14) will benefit from the same 'open call 'mechanisms as before for the first action plan 2013-2015 and move to country strategy based selection as of the 2nd action plan (2016-2018).
In the case of Uganda, the identification mission resulted in the proposal to :

  • create two problem-based, interdisciplinary and inter-university platforms, reflecting the priorities identified by the Ugandan universities during the identification mission, and matched by the interests expressed by academics and lecturers in Flanders.

  • preselect 1 university as a potential partner for Institutional University Cooperation (IUC): Mountains of the Moon University with a limited focus of strategic interest in complementarity with the proposed platform themes.

The Bureau UOS endorsed this decision and preselected Mountains of the Moon for participation in a competitive IUC call (launched 6 February 2012) sent to 7 preselected universities in 5 countries. Next to this, it was decided to further study the feasibility for the platform university cooperation around 2 themes and coordinated by Mbarara University of Science and Technology - 'The relevance of the family in addressing food, health and environmental insecurity' and Uganda Christian University - 'Responsible and accountability Governance to local communities in the areas of natural resource management, social service delivery and post conflict recovery'.

In this context 2 preparatory meetings were organised in Uganda on 14 and 15 March 2012. The purpose of these meetings was to agree on the contents, formats and modalities of these platforms, and to jointly define their agenda (= set priorities within the main theme dealt with by the platform). Professor Koen De Feyter (Representative of the Bureau UOS) and Herman Diels (Programme Officer, VLIR-UOS) attended both seminars.

On Friday 30 March, the Bureau UOS revised the received South proposals from Uganda and agreed to invite Mountains of the Moon University and both platforms to a matchmaking in Belgium and to start a formulation process for IUC/PLATFORM cooperation and organise a specific matchmaking event for Uganda in the week of 7 May 2012.

This Uganda matchmaking took place between 7 and 11 May 2012 when delegations of 8 Ugandan universities visited Belgium (presentations of 8 May 2012 sessions are available in the downloads below).

On 15 May 2012 a call for Flemish academic interest was closed and by 25 May 2012 the objective is to identify teams of Flemish academics willing to engage in IUC cooperation with Mountains of the Moon University and platform university cooperation in the context of the 2 thematic networks. (Information on the calls for academic interest including the principles of cooperation are included below).

By the end of May 2012 a call for TEAM/SI proposals in the context of the Uganda programme will be launched. All proposals will need a clear link with the platform university cooperation proposals and further guidelines on team composition will be included in the calls for proposals. TEAM to TEAM cooperation is promoted and as such inclusion of at least 2 universities on both sides (Uganda/Flanders) are recommendable.

What is a platform and how is it different from a Network?

A Platform is to be seen as a research network, but focused on a well-defined theme with obvious and high impact at the country level. It requires the participation of experienced researchers from different universities and research institutes in the partner country. A Platform will be led by a coordinating ‘host' university -reasonably well-developed institute in the South- which will be responsible for the organisation of the platform activities (planning and monitoring meetings, virtual platform host, etc). As such, the platforms focus less on institutional capacity building and more on research strengthening in view of development relevant societal problems and aiming at supporting the identified and agreed VLIR-UOS country strategy for a particular partner country. A platform can also focus on cross-institutional interactions of various kinds and should link up with existing platforms and networks in South and North.

The platform is different from the NETWORK university cooperation programme VLIR-UOS funds with former partner universities, in the sense that the platform is driven by a common research agenda but that the platform as such will not manage the individual projects. This remains the responsibility of the Flemish and Ugandan project promoters of projects (TEAM/SI) which are formulated and selected in the context of the Uganda Platform. The role of the platform is to advise on the implementation of the Uganda Country Strategy and to support the individual projects that are elaborated within this platform strategy. The ‘host' terminology is meant to indicate that the relevant university should not be considered as the lead university of the platform - all universities are considered equal and invited to take up an active role in the platform.

The state of 'selected platform' does not guarantee final approval of TEAM/South Initiatives projects. Specific calls for TEAM and SI projects will be launched for Uganda. All proposals will need to be submitted by teams of 2 (of the 8) Ugandan universities and 2 Flemish institutions (universities and university colleges) and take into account the Uganda and Platform strategy options. Final selection will be made on the basis of scientific quality, development relevance in the context of the country strategy and available budgets.


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