Open Doors Fellowship Program for Women Researchers in Africa

Open Doors Fellowship Program for Women Researchers in Africa

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.

Supporting gender diversity and inclusion, providing equal training, and funding opportunities for advancing and consolidating women's careers are tasks that belong to all.

Why is the Open Doors Program Unique in Its Kind?

The 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.

    Objectives of the Open Doors Fellowship Program

  • Build up the hard and soft skills of our fellows to consolidate knowledge, open new paths of research and navigate their careers with more confidence.

  • Expand and consolidate the Belgium-Africa scientific networks.

  • Enhance the scientific outputs of our fellows in fields of research that are relevant to the African agro-biotechnology and agricultural sectors.

  • Contribute to reducing the dropout from early & mid-career women scientists in African research and academic institutions.

    How to Apply

    For more information and job application details, see: Open Doors Fellowship Program for Women Researchers in Africa

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