The VIB-IPBO Open Doors Fellowship Program 2023 for women researchers in Africa


Application Deadline: January 10, 2023

The Open Doors Fellowship Program for women researchers in Africa is a holistic program that shall target women researchers in Africa to help them acquire the necessary hard and soft skills to strengthen their placements within their hosting institutions and, ultimately, avoid dropping out before their consolidation stage.

The VIB-IPBO is committed to supporting women scientists in African research institutions and universities. We are working hard to ensure that through our hard work, outreach efforts, and fruitful partnerships with several African organizations and Belgian institutions, the Open Doors program shall grow, expand and contribute to the empowerment of many more women scientists in Africa.

Eligibility Requirements

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). 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.


  • Complete financial sponsorship of our fellows for a period of 8 weeks (minimum) to 12 weeks (maximum), including a bench fee of 500 euros/month per fellow for the receiving laboratory.
  • Whenever needed, for those researchers opting for Modality A, the VIB-IPBO team will conduct active scouting through our network for matching candidates with the proposed project.
  • Upon receipt of applications (both for Modalities A & B), VIB-IPBO will filter and assess the suitability of the fellows for selecting the most suitable candidates for each receiving institution in Belgium to maximize the impact of this collaboration.
  • Full coordination support to arrange travel, logistics, and accommodation of the fellows while in Belgium.
  • Follow up support with the fellows, their institute in Africa and the receiving laboratories in Belgium to generate future opportunities to strengthen collaboration and face-to-face interactions.

Application Procedure

Documents to fulfil the application process

  • A duly filled application (Template for Modality A or B).
  • 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[1].
  • A signed letter from the applicant’s direct supervisor to indicate how she/he intends to support the fellow in completing her training program[2]
  • 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 [email protected].

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.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Open Doors Fellowship Program