Strategic Institutional Partnerships (SIP)

Context: the Integrated Policy Plan for Internationalisation 

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.

Definition and Criteria

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. 

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

SIPs at Ghent University 

Regional Partnerships

European Partnerships

  • U4Society

International Regional Partnerships

Institutional partnerships based on long-standing development cooperation projects

  • Can Tho (Vietnam)
  • ESPOL (Ecuador)
  • Jimma (Ethiopia)
  • UWC (South Africa)

Institutional partnerships based on research excellence

SIP  Coordinator Initial research topics
Macquarie University Michel Tison

Data science
Global change

University of Queensland Korneel Rabaey

Knowledge Exchange and Entrepreneurship
Materials, Metals and Fire Safety
Fresh Water and Marine Systems
Health and Antibiotic Resistance

University of Toronto Olivier Degomme

Health equity & impact
Twenty-first century citizenship
Sustainable systems

Harvard University Lies Lahousse

Neurocognitive, cardiovascular and respiratory

University of California at Berkeley  Luc Martens

European studies
Art & Science
Augmented intelligence
Climate Change
Equity & Inclusion


More info and Contact

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