Open Doors Fellowship Programme 2023 for Women Researchers in Africa

Deadline: 10th of January, 2023

For the Open Doors Fellowship Programme 2023, applications are being accepted. The Open Doors Fellowship Program for Women Researchers in Africa is an all-encompassing initiative that will assist women researchers in Africa in developing the hard and soft skills they need to improve their placements within their host institutions and, ultimately, prevent leaving before they reach the consolidation stage.
The VIB-IPBO is dedicated to assisting female researchers in African universities and research centers. They are working hard to make sure that the Open Doors program will develop, expand, and support the empowerment of many more women scientists in Africa via their hard work, outreach initiatives, and beneficial relationships with many African groups and Belgian institutions.

Programme Details:

The programme is structured in two phases. In Phase 1 (1-4 months), fellows expand their research
horizons and scientific network in Belgium through a fully-funded short research stage of three months.
This stage occurs in a laboratory where fellows can use equipment not accessible in Africa and learn new
techniques and skills relevant to fast-track their research.

Yet, the programme pursues to actively connect the Belgian laboratories with the existing African
research to generate long-term and mutual learning for enriching collaborations. To this end, the
continuous North-South and South-South collaborations between the labs are fostered after this phase
through diverse projects managed by IPBO.

While in Belgium, the fellows receive courses on cross-cultural communication, public presentation skills,
and how to submit competitive project proposals under the EU Horizon funding scheme, together with
their Belgian counterparts. In Phase 2, upon returning to Africa, fellows can tailor their training curriculum
over 16 months by accessing six courses from the VIB training online portfolio on soft, hard skills and
coaching courses during this period. Beyond these, the training package includes Negotiation Skills,
Project Management and Self-Leadership modules to help our beneficiaries navigate their careers more

Financial Support:

Fellows receive financial incentives to enhance their scientific visibility.


  • Applicants are post-doc female scholars (minimum one year after defending their PhD) or in
    mid-career positions who experience challenges to progress in their career path due to
    limited access to training, infrastructure and international networks. There are no age
  • Scholarship candidates should be national and resident in one of the VLIR- UOS scholarship
    countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa,
    Tanzania or Uganda); or employee of a target organization in one of these countries
    (candidates exceptionally can have a different nationality). Candidates from Nigeria will also
    be supported despite not being VLIR-UOS scholarship countries through our program.
  • Applicants’ research fields must be plant breeding, agrobiotechnology, molecular biology
    and genetics, microbiology, chemical ecology, plant & soil health, livestock or aquaculture.
  • Applicants must have an active employment contract in a High Education institution or an
    (inter)national research centre in any of the countries listed above for the duration of the
    fellowship (20 months), where they conduct research and teach.
  • Applicants are supervising MSc or PhD students and supporting staff.


The following documents are required for application:

  • A duly filled application (Template for Modality A or B).
  • A motivation letter from the candidate.
  • A maximum 3-page CV. Note that a CV with more than three pages will not be reviewed.
  • Soft copies of the academic transcripts of the PhD and the diploma.
  • A list of publications, including papers, book chapters, technical reviews in indexed journals
    and patents. Only articles in the Web of Science: Master Journal List will be considered valid
  • A signed letter from the applicant’s direct supervisor to indicate how she/he intends to
    support the fellow in completing her training programme.
  • An official signed letter from the Human Resources Office of the applicant’s institution to
    prove that the applicant has a valid contract in SSA for the duration of the fellowship. The
    letter also should inform on what support the fellow will receive during the training period.
  • An HR focal point should commit to participating in the four webinars related to genderequitable practices in the workplace during the 20 months of the fellowship.
  • A signed letter from the research centre in Belgium supporting the applicant’s short
    research stay (only for Modality B applications).
  • All these documents are compulsory for a valid application. Submissions shall be reviewed upon receipt
    of the documents via e-mail to ipbo@vib-ugent.be.

Click here to apply

Oyin Olufayo

Oyin Olufayo is a Sustainable Development Goals Advocate. A recent graduate of The School of Politics, Policy, and Governance (SPPG) She is a Technical Writer, Political Writer, and a Content Writer. Her passion for sustainable development goals has been implemented by creating tangible solutions. She has featured in grassroots initiatives like TedX, World Literacy Foundation, Spur Nation Media, FRCN, Naija Law and etc. spreading the impact of Sustainable education, and also facilitated numerous events regarding SDGs.

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