Villa Kulild, Director General of Norad is pleased with the NORHED announcement and says the projects will enable more people in developing countries to gain higher education and shape their own development policy via research.
Enhancing Higher Education and Research
To enhance international cooperation, each project must involve a Norwegian partner and one from a low- or middle-income country. In total more than 26 universities in LMIC countries, dominated by eastern African countries, will cooperate with 10 Norwegian higher education institutions during the next five years. According to Bjarne Garden, Acting Director at Norad’s Department for Global Health, Education and Research, the large number of applications shows the great global demand for funding of research and capacity-building in higher education.
Independent Review Committees
To secure an independent and professional evaluation of the proposals, Norad invited 24 international experts to join Independent Review Committees that assessed the applications. Projects recommended for funding have also been assessed by relevant embassies and Norad departments. Even though more than half of the submitted project applications were deemed by the IRCs to be incomplete or have significant weaknesses, this first round demonstrated that there is strong competition for available funding and that many more applications were of good quality.
- Having Independent Review Committees ensures fairness and harnesses the wisdom of experts in different fields, thus ensuring quality and a measure of objectivity, where funded projects will initiate change and meet the needs of the country, said Nester Moyo, Chairperson of the subprogram for Health.
Projects recommended for support are from all geographic areas targeted by NORHED. In general Asia, the Middle-East and Latin-America are represented in the programme, but 12 out of 16 countries announced are from the eastern parts of Africa. In the latter region projects shows a strong focus on capacity development through south – south cooperation.
Institutions in Ethiopia, Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania and Nepal make up the bulk of funding recipients, but South-Sudan and the University of Juba has also been recommended support for three projects at this stage. Norad is looking at the possibilities of even more support to South Sudan for the future due to its high priority.
Several of Norway’s main higher education institutions have engaged in NORHED projects, together with one or more institutions in low- and middle-income countries. The universities of Life Science, Bergen and Oslo account for the majority of projects to be funded.
The annual NORHED budget is approximately NOK 150 million. Funding for individual projects will be around 7-18 million NOK, for a period of up to five years, with a total NORHED portfolio of some 46 projects. Norad is aiming at entering into agreements around 1 October 2013, provided that consultations result in acceptable adjustments from the partners involved.