New call for proposals opens for higher education institutions – the financing programme reinforces education cooperation between Finland and developing countries

Current issues Higher education Global Cooperation HEI ICI / HEP
The new Higher Education Partnership development cooperation programme emphasises equal partnerships between higher education institutions, increases mobility and promotes closer collaboration between administrative staff, teachers and students.
Nuoret pitävät käsissään maapalloa ja hymyilevät.

The launch of a new Higher Education Partnership (HEP) development cooperation programme in February will further enhance collaboration between higher education institutions in Finland and in developing countries. The programme provides financing for projects that develop higher education and share pedagogical and administrative expertise between the institutions in partner countries. The projects will begin at the beginning of 2024.

Supporting education in developing countries increases entrepreneurship, reduces poverty and promotes the building of an efficient and equal society based on the principles of sustainable development.

HEP continues the work of the Higher Education Institutions Institutional Cooperation Instrument (HEI ICI), which will end in 2024. Higher education institutions in Finland and over 140 developing countries can apply for financing from the new programme.

Equal partnerships

Compared to its predecessor, the HEP Programme has an even stronger focus on building equal partnerships between higher education institutions in Finland and developing countries, with an additional aim to increase learning between institutions in developing countries. Changes in financing also reflect the focus on equal partnerships: Instead of applying the total cost model, all higher education institutions in Finland and partner countries will receive financing to cover a fixed administrative cost item of 30 per cent.

The new programme seeks to facilitate the building of high-quality education systems that meet the needs of the world of work and extend to all population groups.

Programme financing also supports the mobility of teachers, administrative staff and students.

– The opportunities for students and staff to visit partner institutions and find out about their daily life will significantly increase language skills, critical thinking and understanding of the global world. And during their visits teachers will have many opportunities to apply their professional skills in practice, says Kaija Pajala, Chief Specialist at the Finnish National Agency for Education.

– Finland has much to offer to the development of educational methods and remote learning practices in developing countries. Our partner countries are in great need of more higher education, and their institutions are keen to engage in bold reforms, says Pekka Seppälä, Senior Adviser at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The focus areas of the projects to be financed include teacher education, climate change, alternative forms of energy, circular economy, food security and sustainable development. In this way, HEP contributes to the achievement of Finland’s development policy objectives. The projects will also incorporate each country’s own development goals.

Stakeholders in Finland and developing countries have contributed to the programme preparation. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs finances HEP from Finland’s development cooperation funds. The Finnish National Agency for Education is in charge of programme administration and providing instructions for higher education institutions.


Matters related to applications:
Kaija Pajala, Chief Specialist, Finnish National Agency for Education
hei.ici [at]

Matters related to development policy:
Pekka Seppälä, Senior Adviser, Development Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
pekka.seppala [at]