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News, 12/31/2015

A reformed Higher Education Institutions' Institutional Cooperation Instrument in 2016

The North-South-South (NSS) and the Higher Education Institutions' Institutional Cooperation Instrument (HEI ICI) will be merged. A clear results framework has been set for the programme period 2016–2018. Projects will focus on the partner countries of Finland’s bilateral development cooperation. The total funding in the programme period will be EUR 12,700,000.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has supported HEIs' participation in development cooperation and helped them to bear their global responsibility through two separate funding instruments: the North-South-South (NSS) exchange programme and HEIs' Institutional Cooperation Instrument (HEI ICI).

According to an international evaluation of the programmes, commissioned in 2014, the instruments support relevant activities. However, the evaluation concluded that better results and more effective outcomes would be achieved by merging the two instruments.

As a result, the two funding instruments will be merged into one HEI ICI from the beginning of 2016. Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lenita Toivakka signed the financing decision for the Higher Education Institutions' Institutional Cooperation Instrument (HEI ICI) for 2016–2018 on 7 December 2015.

The results framework

In the programme period 2016–2018, the objective is to strengthen HEIs by developing their administrative, science-specific, methodological and pedagogical capacities as well as by upgrading the quality of teaching, operational capacities and research environments. Another objective is to increase supply and ensure access to education. The following outcomes, to be monitored by measuring the results indicators, have been set for the programme period:

  1. Improved access to high-quality higher education and research data
  2. Higher quality of teaching and research environment
  3. Enhanced administrative capacity that supports staff's competence
  4. Strengthened role and relevance of HEIs in society

Paying attention to the principles of Finland's development policy

The programme supports the priority areas of Finland's development policy: empowerment of women and girls; stable and well-functioning societies; sustainable provision of energy, water and food; and development of the private sector. In the long run, investments in research and education mean also an investment in the development of a stable, well-funcioning and equal society.

In the future, the HEI ICI will focus more and more on Finland's present and former long-term partner countries as well as on countries where Finland has an embassy and where regional cooperation programmes are implemented. In special cases, cooperation can be supported also when the aim is to strengthen relations between Finland and countries where Finland does not have a permanent representation. 

Programme management, funding and timetables

At the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Unit for Development Policy has an overall responsibility for the total funding, monitoring and guidance of the programme. The Ministry has commissioned the Centre for International Mobility CIMO to take care of the programme's administration. 

The budget for the period 2016–2018 amounts to EUR 12,700,000. Approximately 93% of the funding will be channelled to HEI projects in the form of discretionary government transfers, and the remaining 7% will be spent on programme administration. HEIs invest in the projects both their financial and intellectual resources.  In addition to the required 20% of self-financing, HEIs contribute their own expertise to project administration and content matters.

The next application cycle is scheduled to be open during the first half of 2016. The aim is to organise one or two application cycles during the programme period. The program will fund projects running a maximum of three years. More detailed timetables will be informed in early 2016. 

Further information:
Sari Lehtiranta, Director, Unit for Development Policy / KEO-10, tel. +358 295 352 139, sari.lehtiranta(at)
Marianne Rönkä, Programme Officer, Unit for Development Policy / KEO-10, tel. +358 295 351 803, marianne.ronka(at)

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