Institute of Development Policy

ICP Connect GOV

The sustainable governance of natural resources is an urgent and crucial precondition for achieving inclusive and sustainable human development. It requires critical thinking across multiple and interconnected scales and questioning dominant models based on extractivism, as well as dominant knowledge systems. 

The ICP Connect Governance and Development aims to create the space for doing so.The project will: 

  • train agents of change in natural resources governance through co-created course modules, 
  • and stimulate them to critically think across scales and from multiple perspectives
  • through interaction in partner & alumni networks and communities of practice. 

It thereby aims at changes in the domain of people (change agents), education (co-created and research-based course modules) and networks (academic and alumni networks, feeding into new communities of practice). To do so, changes are needed in the domain of systems and policies (quality assurance and synergies). 

IOB will consolidate its partnership with the existing partner (Université catholique de Bukavu, DRC), and at the same time broaden this up to new ‘friends’, and deepen the collaboration by exchanging knowledge and practices around (natural resources) governance from multiple stakeholders. 


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). 

  • Dissertation mobility | During 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.

  • South - South mobility | The programme also provides for south-south mobility in the form of scholarships and mobility for candidates from the DRC and the region to participate in one of the short trainings. In awarding these scholarships we will give priority to female students aiming at – at least – 66% female participation. In the first two years we also provide scholarships to female students to enroll in the DEA. This serves to stimulate female candidates to enroll, as the tuition fee might be a barrier for some of them.  

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 education | Mobility 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.

  • Towards the end of the first phase of ICP CONNECT a new DEA (Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies) in Economics was co-created, with options in environmental economics and socio-economy of natural resources. The module on Governance of Natural Resources and the module on Research Design and Methodology was integrated in this DEA.

Joint module on governance of Natural Resources

A  short course on Governance of Natural Resources has been developed, as a joint educational module with input from lecturers at Université Catholique de Bukavu (UCB) and at IOB. The course gives insight into the governance of natural resources, drawing on different disciplines and theoretical approaches. During the course, the management of renewable and non-renewable resources in a globalized world, the associated governance problems, and the different forms of solutions to these problems that are proposed at the local, national and global level are discussed. 

Additionally, an action lab as a research/outreach component to this module will be developed. The action lab will be developed by IOB and UCB staff in collaboration with civil society organizations, NGOs and/or miners’ cooperatives in the Bukavu region, which will be gathered in a CoP. 

Joint module on Research design and Methodology

IOB and the Université Catholique de Bukavu have jointly organised several editions of the course on Research Design and Methodology. It is open to researchers from Bukavu as well as from the wider region. The module is now also being organised in collaboration with our new partners. In October 2022 and March 2023 we organized the first edition with respectively the Université de Lubumbashi in Lubumbashi and with  the Université Catholique du Congo in Kinshasa. 

In a later stage of the collaboration with the new partners (UNILU & UCC), options to integrate this course into existing or future master programmes,  jointly developing a course module on governance/ natural resources aligned with ongoing research and outreach, and exploring options for integrating these modules within master programmes will be explored. 

Click here for some video impressions from the 2018, the 2019, the 2020 and the 2021 edition in Bukavu and the 2022 in Lubumbashi or the 2023 edition in Kinshasa

creating a Community of Practice (CoP) on natural resources governance

The Community of Practice will bring together researchers from the partner institutes, alumni, and external stakeholders who are all working on natural resources governance. In 2023 a CoP meeting will kick off the collaboration Additionally, activities of joint reflection and to stimulate the writing process will be organised. Through these activities researchers will be stimulated to co-create knowledge together with practitioners and policy makers, probably resulting in a series of blog posts that critically rethink natural resources governance for sustainable development




Prof. Sara Geenen (North Promotor)

Prof. Marijke Verpoorten  (North co-Promotor)

Marjan Vermeiren (North administrative coordinator)

Université Catholique de Bukavu, DRC

Prof. Janvier Kilosho Buraye  (South Promotor)​

Thierry Mirindi (South administrative coordinator)​

Université de Lubumbashi, DRC 

Prof. Laurent Ndjibu  (South Promotor)

Université Catholique du Congo, DRC

Prof. Albert Malukisa (South Promotor)