Open Doors Fellowship Program for African Women Researchers. Apply Now!

Open Doors Fellowship Program for African Women Researchers.

Open Doors Fellowship Program

Deadline for submission: January 31, 2024

Why is the Open Doors Program unique in its kind

The Open Doors Fellowship Program (ODFP) targets post-doctoral and mid-career women researchers conducting agricultural research in African (inter)national research centres. Our program aims to contribute to the consolidation of mid-career researchers and avoid them leaking from the scientific pipeline. Therefore, through its unique conceptualization and implementation, the program is tailored to our participants’ training needs to provide a fulfilling, nurturing and empowering learning experience.

Two-Phase Curriculum that includes a research stage in Belgium

The program is structured in two phases. In Phase 1 (1-4 months), our 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, our program 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.  

Fellows chose what to learn and when

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, our fellows can tailor their training curriculum over16 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 confidently.

Fellows receive financial incentives to enhance their scientific visibility

The program supports our fellows’ scientific and public visibility because if research outputs are not visible, our fellows aren’t either. To this end, participants receive training on scientific communication and financial incentives to attend congresses and open-access publication fees.

Admissions requirement for Open Doors Fellowship Program for African Women Researchers.

Applicants have to be women researchers fulfilling all the following criteria:

  • 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). This requirement is not applicable for the Slot Water and Oxidative Stress Resistance (Slot Identification Number: ODF_06).
  • 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.



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