Institute of Development Policy

ICP Connect Globalisation and Development

Through ICP Connect IOB aims to reinforce its longer-term strategy of engaging its partners in the South in co-creating joint teaching initiatives, and to evolve from a Northern based to a networked, diversified, multi-epistemic, ‘decolonial’ knowledge co-creation and policy dialogue institute. The programme draws upon the lessons learned and the pathways opened during highly innovative pilot experience in Central America.

The ICP Connect programme aims to 

  • deepen and broaden an international network of partners 

  • offering a global Master program of Globalisation and Development, 

  • including a digital/blended pilot, 

  • built on joint academic capacity and shared research and societal outreach activities. 

This network will be powered by Communities of Practice, which are intersectional education-research-outreach platforms where multiple visions and knowledges are continuously discussed, and transformative alternatives are cogenerated.

The current ICP Connect Project fits within the IOB strategy to evolve from a Northern based to a networked, diversified, multi-epistemic, ‘decolonial’ knowledge co-creation and policy dialogue institute (part of ongoing internal policy ‘DNA’ discussions). This allows our research and policy-driven Master programs to be connected to the lived realities and struggles of our partners and networks of academic and non-academic actors in various regional contexts around the world. Through collaboration with partner institutes in different regions, ICP Connect will contribute to more inclusive and higher quality education in an environment that stimulates respect, collaboration, pluriversality and mutual growth and learning.


Within the framework of ICP Connect several activities and joint programmes are developed:

Student mobility

  • Mobility window| research internship at partner universityDuring the first module, within the framework of the course “Research Methods II”, IOB students can apply for a research internship  to work on an ongoing research project at partner universities (in DRC, Nicaragua, Philippines, Tanzania, Uganda).

  • Dissertation mobilityDuring Module IV – the dissertation module - students can also apply to do field work for their dissertation with one of the partner universities or to other countries of the global South.  Travel grants are available for both the mobility window programme and the field work mobility.

Staff mobility

Staff Mobility is organized in both directions (from IOB to partners and partners to IOB), and stimulated as part of ICP Connect. 

  • contributions in educationMobility of academic staff leads to contributions in education (guest lecturers, co-teaching modules, involvement in benchmark or curriculum development, …) and/ or research and outreach activities at both IOB and the partner universities.

  • Microcredentials: Partner staff are invited to enroll for micro credentials organised at IOB ( free for IOB partners) and receive a UAntwerp micro credential certificate.

Curriculum support

Programme  partners have participated in the IOB dissertation benchmark exercise. Their insights on the quality of our dissertations as well as the grading process was useful to adapt possible cultural biases in our grading process as well as give feedback on the development relevance of our graduates’ dissertations. Partner staff has been involved in various other reflection and feedback meetings and exercises to improve IOB programmes.

Joint module on research methodologies

  • An innovative field methodological course on research and co-creation of knowledge in/for development was co-designed and implemented in Nicaragua. This course offers students the opportunity to interact with a community of development practitioners, researchers, community members to experiment with and critically reflect on methodologies for co-creation of knowledge ( see video)

  • An online course on research methods for development: “Emancipatory Horizons: Theories and Research Methods for Rethinking ‘Development” was co-organized by Nitlapan-UCA and IOB UA. Two versions were implemented, first in 2021 and in 2022 (shorter version). This course was inspired by the IOB LIPR Module but received important adaptations in terms of content (e.g. more contextualized course content, specific attention to decolonial approaches, more focus on supporting the research work implemented by the students)

Blended master in Globalisation and Development

In addition to the current 1-year GLOB Master in Antwerp, a parallel digital/blended 2-year GLOB Master will be co-designed and piloted. The digital/blended version will follow the same structure as the current Master. The digital/blended pilot will be co-designed and co-implemented by a network built around the CoPs under the coordination of the extended GLOB Task Force. The digital/blended pilot will build on the current course structure yet will be more explicitly embedded in the political/social/ecological histories and ongoing struggles of the territories in which our partners are situated. The pilots are key learning processes towards a longer-term self-financed networked digital/blended GLOB Master and will give us the necessary and evidence-based input on feasibility, academic content, target audience, governance structure and longer-term financial sustainability. The digital/blended GLOB Master also opens pathways to decrease the IOB carbon footprint of our teaching programs.

Community of Practice on Political Ecology (PE) and Participatory Action Research (PAR)

The programme will consolidate two CoPs (on PE and PAR) around shared research and societal outreach activities. The CoPs will inform the design and implementation of the GLOB Master and its digital/blended version. 

  •  PE is an interdisciplinary field of critical studies that examines how and why economic structures and power relations drive social and environmental/climate change in an increasingly interconnected world. It offers tools and concepts to engage with the social-ecological challenges humankind is facing, which are central to the GLOB master. 

  • PAR embodies the methodological challenges of the program, in a continuous effort to develop tools that allow to engage with different actors and knowledges embedded in uneven power structures, and to bridge education, research and action for transformative change. The PAR CoP draws on the multiple methodological experiences of the long-term partnership in Central America, on the pilot course on co-creation of knowledge and research methods implemented in Nicaragua during the previous VLIR ICP IF, and now integrates the ample 

ICP Connect GLOB Team

Prof. Dr. Gert Van Hecken (North Promotor)
Dr. Pierre Merlet (Coordinator for the design of the Blended Master in Globalisation and Development Pilot)
Marjan Vermeiren (North administrative coordinator)
Partners Nicaragua
Dr. Selmira Flores (South Promotor)
Dr. Fernanda Soto (South Coordinator)
Msc. Allan Perez Badilla (South administrative coordinator)
Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar (Ecuador)
Prof. Dr. Melissa Moreano (South Promotor)
Centro de alternativas al desarrollo, Cealdes (Colombia)

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia)
Prof. Dr. Carlos del Cairo (South Promotor)
Prof. Dr. Maite Yie Garzón (South Promotor)