The VIB-IPBO Open Doors Fellowship Program 2024

Deadline: 10th of January, 2024

The Open Doors Fellowship Program is a comprehensive initiative designed to assist female researchers in Africa in gaining the hard and soft skills needed to improve their placements in their host institutions and, ultimately, prevent them from leaving before the consolidation stage.

The ODFP is intended for female post-doctoral and mid-career researchers who work in African (inter)national research centers and do agricultural research. The goal of our initiative is to prevent mid-career researchers from leaving the scientific pipeline and to help them consolidate. As a result, the program is specifically designed to meet the training goals of our participants, offering a rewarding, supportive, and empowering learning environment through its innovative conception and execution.


  • 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 limits.
  • 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.


  • A duly filled application
  • A motivation letter from the candidate.
  • A maximum 3-page CV. Please 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 publications
  • A signed letter from the applicant’s direct supervisor to indicate how she/he intends to support the fellow in completing her training program
  • 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 gender-equitable 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.

Incomplete applications will be notified via e-mail to the applicants, who will have ten days to provide the missing documents. After this period, incomplete applications will be rejected.

Click here to apply 

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