Strategic Institutional Partnerships (SIP)

Whereas the Regional Platforms and the International Thematic Networks respectively focus on the cooperation with a certain region in the world or on a single interdisciplinary theme, the Strategic Institutional Partnerships focus on the university-wide cooperation with one or more preferential partners around the globe. 

Overview SIP's

Countries SIP  Coordinator Focus
Australia University of Queensland Kim Verbeken Knowledge Exchange and Entrepreneurship
Materials, Metals and Fire Safety
Fresh Water and Marine Systems
Health and Antibiotic Resistance
Canada University of Toronto Andrew Bricker Health equity & impact
Twenty-first century citizenship
Sustainable systems
Ecuador La Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral Peter Goethals Environmental science and technology
Ethiopia Jimma University  Luc Duchateau Expanding the research collaboration and PhD capacity building
South Africa University of Western Cape Stef Slembrouck Turning Diversity into Capacity
USA Harvard University Lies Lahousse Neurocognitive, cardiovascular and respiratory
USA University of California at Berkeley Luc Martens European studies
Art & Science
Augmented intelligence
Climate Change
Equity & Inclusion
Vietnam Can Tho University 

Liesbeth Jacxsens 

Katleen Raes

Strengthening valorisation of joint research


Gijs Coucke

Health and well-being
Digital revolution and Impact of digitalization
Climate action
Energy transition and Circular economy

South Africa
3C-Partnership (Tri-Continental) University of Missouri
University of the Western Cape
Strengthening valorisation of joint research
United Kingdom
3i University Network

Université de Lille
University of Kent

Marine and Maritime Challenges
Climate and Energy
Health and Nutrition
Communities and Well-being


More info about the aims, criteria and structure of the SIPs is available for download: strategic-partnerships-2020.pdf
Office of the Director of Internationalization
International Relations Office


A strategic partnership is ‘a formal alliance between two or more higher education institutions developed through an international process whereby the partners share resources and leverage complementary strengths to achieve defined common objectives. Strategic cooperation is tied to the strategic goals and objectives of an academic unit, college or university as a whole. It indicates a multi-dimensional engagement between the involved institutions and implies the joint undertaking of a diverse range of activities with the aim of the parties’ mutual benefit’ (Kuder, 2016). 

In the framework of the integrated policy plan for internationalisation specific criteria were defined for Ghent University's Strategic Institutional Partnerships. 

  1. Multidimensional character, not bound to a single faculty or thematic focus
  2. Top-down and bottom-up balance 
  3. Sustainable cooperation across various projects and initiatives
  4. Added value aimed at strengthening the individual position of the partners
  5. Mutual recognition and investment


In addition to the Regional Platforms and the International Thematic Networks, a third model for strategic international cooperation has been put forward in the framework of the Integrated Policy Plan for Internationalisation: Strategic Institutional Partnerships (SIPs)

The goals for Ghent University’s strategic international cooperation are:

  • to strengthen the link between research, education and services to society, within an international context;
  • to enhance visibility and impact of Ghent University by coordinating long-term partnerships to consolidate the leading role of Ghent University;
  • to seize opportunities (networking, funding...) within the international environment to enhance the impact of Ghent University.

Special emphasis is put on collaborations that:

  • focus on networking with high level and/or high potential partners;
  • focus on networking with countries, regions or around themes of strategic importance for Ghent University;
  • focus on human capacity building with partners in the South;
  • align themselves with the overall strategic goals of Ghent University in sustainable development and internationalization.