1. Background & context
    How was this extended concept note developed? How did you take into account the comments of the selection
    commission (selection stage 1 – concept Note South)?
    Faced with the multiple challenges surrounding the region’s exploitation of natural resources, having negative
    repercussions on the population’s socio-ecological conditions and ecosystem services, UNILU is anxious to
    improve the above-mentioned conditions with UHasselt as main partner. To ensure that the different axes of the
    problem are taken into account, professors from UGent and UAntwerp (with expertise complementary to that of
    the UHasselt partners) joined the team during the formulation of this extended concept note. The first discussions
    took place during a workshop organized on 12.03.2020 at UNILU, at the end of which a small team (whose
    members were contacted on the basis of their specialisations; only those who were available ultimately worked on
    the proposal) headed by Prof Nkuku was set up and entrusted to write the extended concept note. As the IUC
    programme cuts across several sectors of UNILU activities, teacher-researchers from different UNILU faculties
    were involved from the start and during the whole development of the concept note. Initially, 4 academic projects
    covering (i) biodiversity, climate change, environment and health; (ii) governance and security; (iii)
    entrepreneurship; (iv) climate smart agriculture for sustainable food systems, as well as one transversal project
    (institutional capacity building) were identified. Subsequently, drafting teams for each project were set up and local
    team leaders were designated. Travel to Lubumbashi from already involved North Partners (from UHasselt and
    UGent) to further elaborate on the extended concept note, definition of the different aspects and establishment of
    a working strategy was planned and organized in April 2020. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the North
    coordination team (Virginie Bito, Jean-Michel Rigo, and Liesbeth Oeyen from UHasselt; Pascal Boeckx and Geert
    Baert from UGent) were not allowed to travel and to stay in Lubumbashi. The pandemic also affected the work of
    the local teams, who were unable to physically meet between mid-March and mid-May as a result of the closing
    of Congolese universities. The discussions on the extended concept note continued, however, including several
    email and video conference exchanges with the North partners. In brief, the South partners drafted several projects
    and sent them to the North partners for feedback. Through extensive shared documents and exchanges, the South
    coordination exchanged with the North coordination on its proposal to have 6 projects within the IUC programme. Read more …

Biodiversity and climate change
Environment and health
Governance and security
Climate smart agriculture for sustainable food systems
Institutional capacity building