Higher Education Partnership (HEP) Programme 2023-2026

Korkeakoulutus Kansainvälistyminen
27.2.2023 – 26.5.2023 klo 16:15

The Higher Education Partnership Programmer (HEP) 2023-2026 supports collaboration projects between higher education institutions (HEIs) in Finland and in developing countries.

Projects are to be implemented during 1.1.2024–31.8.2026.

The project proposed should fall within the prioritised thematic areas, target the ODA eligible countries and eligible actions defined in the HEP Programme Document 2023–2026. 

The state aid amounts to a maximum of 90 % of the total project budget and the project-specific aid ranges between 700 000–1 100 000 euros.

The state aid for projects applied for in the Higher Education Partnership Programme is a maximum of 700 000 euros. If the Finnish higher education institution is partnering with another Finnish higher education institution or more than one higher education institution in a developing country, the state aid can be a maximum of 1 100 000 euros.

The total programme budget to be allocated to the HEP projects amounts to approximately 7 million euros, which results in around 6-10 projects to be selected, depending on the project-specific budget levels.

HEP programme is a continuation to the Higher Education Institutions Institutional Cooperation Instrument (HEI ICI).  The Ministry for Foreign Affairs finances the HEP programme from Finland’s development cooperation funds and the Finnish National Agency for Education is responsible for the administration of the programme.


The call for applications is opened on the 27th of February 2023.

The applications, together with the required attachments, are submitted through the electronic government grant application system.

The deadline for the applications is 26th May at 16.15 (UTC+3).


The Project Document is to be signed by the Finnish Coordinator and all the partners, by a person legally entitled to sign on behalf of the Higher Education Institution.

All signatures should preferably be in the same project document but if this is not possible and the signatures are on separate sheets, the project name should be clearly indicated, as well as the date of the application, to guarantee that the partners have committed to and approve the very same Project Document. Scanned signatures are accepted.

Agencies to be subcontracted do not have to sign the Project Document.


The applications include the following parts:

  • An online application
  • Attachments:
  • The Project Document (template in ATTACHMENT 6)
  • The Project Level Results Framework (template in ATTACHMENT 7)
  • The Risk Management Table (template in ATTACHMENT 8)
  • The Budget (excel template in ATTACHMENT 9)
  • The Initial Work Plan (excel template in ATTACHMENT 10)
  • The Key Expert template (template in ATTACHMENT 11)

The attachment templates are available on the website HEP programme - for applicants.

EDUFI performs the technical eligibility check of the applications, and applications meeting the eligibility criteria will be sent for further qualitative evaluation.

The eligible project applications are evaluated in three phases. First, external evaluators perform a qualitative evaluation, based on set HEP project evaluation criteria. As a result of the consolidation meeting of the external experts, an application shortlist is produced. The number of the shortlisted applications is such that they amount together to twice the available funding.

Secondly, the MFA (regional departments, Embassies and sectoral policy advisors) will assess the development policy relevance and complementarity of the shortlisted applications.

Finally, the short list is discussed in an assessment meeting between the MFA, EDUFI and the representative of the group of external evaluators. The meeting should not change the score of any shortlisted project more than +/-5 % of the total initial score.

The MFA makes the final state aid decision within the framework of the appropriations approved by the Finnish Parliament. Decisions are based on the Act on Discretionary Government Transfers (Valtionavustuslaki 688/2001).

The MFA sends applicants either a positive or a negative financing decision. The applicants with positive decision are also provided with information on the conditions and applicable costs, as well as reporting and billing requirements. The decisions are expected towards the end of 2023.

After the Finnish HEI approves the decision on state aid, the project implementation can begin. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is in charge of administrative procedures, including the payment of state aid. State aid is paid into the coordinating Finnish HEI’s account. However, EDUFI provides first-hand guidance and training as well as comments on the reports.


January 2023

Advertisement about the coming Call for Applications

February 2023

The Call for Applications open, guidance for applicants

May 2023

The deadline for the submission of Applications

August 2023

The evaluation process by the evaluators is complete

October 2023

The financing decision by the MFA

January 2024

The project starts

Information on eligible applicants and partners, eligible target countries, as well as subject fields and activities, can be found in the Programme Document.

Information on budgeting and cost items is found in the Programme Document.

The project-specific payment schedule is based on the available annual financing budgets. Each year there are 1-2 financial allocations to the HEIs. This means that the payments are made mainly retrospectively based on the realized costs. The first payment in 2024 is made as an advance payment.

The applicant can design the schedule for the project according to its needs. However, the financing (i.e., billing schedule) is based on available financing. The financing is available roughly as follows:

2024     Advance payment in January 2024 – 20 %

2025   Against approved annual report 2024 – 15 %

2026   Against approved annual report 2025 – 55 %

2026   Final payment based on approved completion report – 10 %  

The project may create costs in a more balanced schedule. However, the Government of Finland does not have possibility to make payments in a more frontloaded manner.

Funds are available for the financing subject to the annual budget allocation by the Government. This is a standard clause in the MFA financed development cooperation covering several years.

The extension of the financing period is heavily discouraged and subject to prior approval.

For all enquiries, please contact EDUFI at hei.ici(at)