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Community Talks

Community Talks is a monthly webinar where experts from Flanders and abroad can meet and share their knowledge & academic research.

With this platform, we aim to build sustainable research connections and increase local (societal) impact through knowledge sharing on a global scale.



We are having a summer break.

We hope to see you all again in September for a new and interesting Community Talks!

Check out our previous talks

Sustainable statistical capacity building for Africa with UHasselt

Health research is critical in Sub-Saharan Africa to address the many public health challenges the region currently faces. Biostatisticians play a key role in health research by ensuring the rigorous design and analysis of population representative surveys, clinical trials and other studies, including the development of new statistical methodology. There have been several initiatives implemented to enhance Biostatistics capacity in the region. A key ingredient in several of these successful initiatives has been strong North-South collaborative projects. 

On 29 June 2022 we presented three key initiatives and topics: 

1) The Sub-Saharan Africa Consortium for Advanced Biostatistics Training (SSACAB), which constitutes eleven countries, four research institutes and four northern partners led by the School of Public Health at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) South Africa. Prof Tobias Chirwa (Wits, South Africa) discussed the program's implementation and the impact it has had on capacity in the region.

2) The importance and relevance of online learning platforms and digital education. Prof Ziv Shkedy (Hasselt University) discussed the importance of sustainable curriculum development using free online platforms which offer training material for teaching and data analysis in Biostatistics, Statistics, or Data science in higher education programs at different levels: undergraduate and master for both statisticians and non-statisticians

3) Dr Tarylee Reddy (SAMRC, South Africa) discussed the critical role statistical consultation serves in society, methods to enhance statistical consultation skills and the importance of mentoring. 

Prof. Paul Janssen (Hasselt University) introduced and summarized the topics.


Multidisciplinary collaboration between UCB and Flemish universities

In this community talk we presented the importance and the impact of a long term and multidisciplinary cooperation: the case of the Institutional University Cooperation (IUC) with the Université Catholique de Bukavu (UCB) in the Eastern part of the DRCongo.

Given the context in which the cooperation program started, i.e. after more than a decade of wars in the country, the choice was made to concentrate on the management of the post-conflict recovery process, with a focus on three key areas: Agriculture, Mining & Health.

Scientific research is needed to create new knowledge but also to generate data that inform decision-makers on choices they have to make to promote development. 

The collaboration between UCB and the Flemish universities started in 2010. A Closing event was organized in November 2021.

Via this link, you can access to several video’s (French spoken) and presentations, used for the Closing event.


During this talk we illustrated how this type of cooperation has been important for the region and for the UCB in particular.

Here are the 5 main impressions from this Community Talk 

Tips for good management of an IUC program:

  • Organise efficient communication at programme (PSU) and project levels with regular physical and online meetings. It is crucial that team members from the North travel to the South partner to better understand the local context and working conditions.

  • The IUC programme should be embedded in the university with a direct link to the top management of the institution.

  • Formulation of the program should be demand-driven and with the participation of relevant stakeholders.

  • Preferably hire an FT programme manager and use as much as possible the existing financial flows and procedures.

  • Develop clear procedures and guidelines (including for the selection of scholarships) and share them regularly with all team members and students.

For all questions, also related to the academic projects, please contact martine.dekoninck@kuleuven.be (ICOS) who will bring you in contact with the relevant person within the IUC with UCBukavu.

You weren't able to attend the Community Talk?
Check out the PowerPoint

Looking for more ?

Missed out a Community Talk, check our YouTube channel

Are you interested in getting in touch with one of our speakers? Or looking for more info on a particular project? Or even interested in presenting your own project?

Contact us at communitytalks@vliruos.be

Change towards an e-portfolio is not easy, it is a long learning process. But progress is even more satisfying when working on it together.

Olive Tengera, University of Rwanda

Finally we took the time and energy to bring all information together and present to a broader public

Leo Van Audenhove (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

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The success of the Community Talks is of course closely linked to the active engagement of our community. By sharing our promo video or invitations to the webinars in your network, you help our Community Talks to grow.