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12 million euros granted to higher education cooperation with developing countries

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland has granted 12 million euros from the HEI ICI programme to development cooperation carried out by higher education institutions (HEIs) during 2017–2020. The funding will be used to implement 20 projects in 16 countries to strengthen higher education in the developing world. The projects will last up to 3 years.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs funds the HEI ICI (Higher Education Institutions Institutional Cooperation Instrument) programme from Finland’s development co-operation budget. The programme is administrated by the Finnish National Agency for Education.

The cooperation will focus on the least developed countries in Africa and Asia, especially on Finland’s development cooperation partner countries. Other countries are also represented, such as Peru and Myanmar. The co-operation takes place in HEI networks of varying size and geographical coverage.

The projects are based on the needs defined by partners in the developing countries and draw from the expertise in the Finnish HEIs.

The support is used to develop e.g. study programmes and teaching methods in the HEIs, to provide continuing education for the staff and to strengthen research capacity and working life connections. The projects contribute to the development of subject-specific, methodological, pedagogical and administrative capacities in the HEIs.

By supporting education in the developing countries, the aim is to promote skills development, build equal societies, encourage entrepreneurship and drive sustainable development.

Finnish HEIs active

Finnish HEIs have in the past few years shown increasing interest in the developing world and the competition for funding was tight. This time, 78 applications were received, amounting to more than €43 million, when the corresponding number in 2012 was 55.

Projects in the field of teaching were strongly represented in the applications. In comparison with earlier applications, there were more multi- and cross-disciplinary projects. Projects increasingly included co-operation between universities and universities of applied sciences. Companies, non-governmental organisations and research institutes were also frequent partners.

The applications were evaluated by specialists on development cooperation and international higher education cooperation from abroad, including the developing world. Relevance in terms of development policy, complementarity and the effectiveness of the activities were emphasized in the selections. Sustainable development goals, human rights and gender mainstreaming were regarded in all selected proposals.

A list of projects that were awarded funding (pdf)

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HEI ICI programme

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