University of Queensland - UGent partnership


The preferential partnership between Ghent University and the University of Queensland joins the research capacity and expertise of two excellent institutions to explore and test interdisciplinary responses to global challenges. By leveraging the complementary research and educational strengths from the two academic communities, we target high-impact scientific and real-world outcomes. This partnership leverages the complementary research strengths in the two academic communities to deliver a high-quality programme of research and to offer sustained and high-impact scientific and real-world outcomes.

The preferential partnership conceptualizes its initial work in several thematic areas:

  1. Knowledge Exchange
  2. Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  3. Fire Safety Science and Engineering
  4. Materials, Metallurgy and Recycling
  5. Freshwater and Marine Systems
  6. Antibiotics
  7. Spinal pain
  8. Art and Architecture

Over time, the number of themes will be expanded.

Both institutions are currently setting up the strategic framework for bilateral and multi-dimensional engagement in the fields of education, research, service delivery, and institutional management. Throughout 2020 and 2021, researchers have initiated this by mapping the existing collaborations (e.g. over 250 joint publications prior to the preferential partnership, several joint masters…) and held thematic virtual research workshops to identify per theme the optimal means of collaboration: cooperative projects, innovative educational programmes, joint supervision of PhDs and student exchange.

Call for seed funding

With funding from the Ghent University Special Research Fund, the preferential partnership between the University of Queensland and Ghent University has launched a rolling call for seed grant funding.


Seed grants serve to broaden and deepen research collaboration between faculty and staff at the University of Queensland and Ghent University. This seed grant aims to support new or ongoing research or educational partnerships in 2024/2025. Examples of seed grant activities include but are not limited to:

  • Initiating a jointly organised seminar, webinar, workshop, conference, or another academic event

  • Fostering research collaboration between a Ghent University Masters or PhD student or post-doctoral researcher with peers at the University of Queensland

  • Supporting the mobility of a Ghent University Masters or PhD student, post-doctoral researcher, or professor to the University of Queensland.

Eligibility criteria

Professors and post-doctoral researchers at Ghent University may submit a seed grant. The beneficiaries can also be PhD students. Beneficiaries should always be UGent researchers.



In June 2023 a matchmaking event was held between researchers at UGent and the University of Queensland. Based on web of science and research links, researchers were introduced to each other, to investigate potential further collaboration. The possible sources of funding for common research projects were presented.

In March 2023, Ghent University received UQ Pro-Vice Chancellor, Global Partnerships, Mr Brett Lovegrove. This resulted in a very constructive dialogue which will lead to concrete actions and agreements in preparation of the royal/University visit to Australia (October 2023).

In April 2022 a virtual session was held to sign the Strategic Institutional Partnership Agreement. Rector Rik van de Walle (Ghent University) and Vice-Chancellor Deborah Terry (University of Queensland) were present and discussed the good standing of this partnership and future plans.

What do we do?

The preferential partnership activities include but are not limited to:

  • Joint research collaborations, or the joint publication of scientific papers and educational materials
  • Joint courses or graduate and post-doctoral mobility
  • Exchange of faculty, trainees and staff
  • Participation in, and the co-hosting of lectures, meetings, seminars, symposia, exhibitions and conferences
  • Exchanges of knowledge
  • Joint applications for funding for future or ongoing collaborative projects
  • Collaboration in other areas that foster research and educational cooperation
  • Joint education programmes, e.g. MOOCs


The preferential partnership is a living partnership. Therefore, its membership may change and those changes may not immediately be reflected below.

From Ghent University:

Steering group:

  • Faculty of Bioscience Engineering: Gijs Du Laing
  • Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences: Jan De Waele, Lieven Danneels, Tine Willems
  • Faculty of Engineering & Architecture: Bart Merci, Kim Verbeken
  • Faculty of Psychology & Educational Sciences: Johnny Fontaine, Daniele Marinazzo
  • Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences: Dieter Deforce
  • Faculty of Economics and Business Administration: Marleen Easton, Mirjam Knockaert
  • Faculty of Arts and Philosophy: Wouter Davidts
  • Team director on internationalisation: Pieter Pauwels (Policy advisor on international affairs)


Ingmar Nopens, Arne Verliefde, Nico Boon, Joris Michiels, Hans Verbeeck, Kim Calders, Tarek Beji, Ruben Van Coile, Inge Bellemans, Mark Saeys, Eric Cox.

From the University of Queensland:

  • Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology: Zhiguo Yuan, Damien Batstone, Jurg Keller, Ilje Pikaar, Steven Kenway, Denys Villa Gomez, Evgueni Jak, Peter Hayes, George Zhao, Jorge Beltramini, Andrej Atrens, David Lange, Felix Wiesner
  • Faculty of Science: Phil Hugenholtz, Gene Tyson, Mark Schembri, Rowland Cobbold, Eugeni Roura, Stuart Phinn, Julie Baglot
  • Faculty of Medicine: Jeffrey Lipman, Jason Roberts
  • Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences: Paul Hodges
  • Faculty of Business, Economics and Law: Neal Ashkanasy, Henri Burgers, Rebecca Wallis 
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences: Brian Head,  Jennifer Yarnold
  • International Relations Office: Rosalind Boulton, Corinne Francken

For further information concerning the preferential partnership between Ghent University and UQ please contact either the chair of the partnership, Professor Kim Verbeken, or the coordinator of the partnership, Elise Meerburg.