What is the Higher Education Partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa programme?
Higher Education Partnerships in sub Saharan Africa (HEP SSA) is a programme that awards funding to universities in sub-Saharan Africa in order to strengthen partnerships between academia and industry. The long-term aim of the programme is to ensure that there is sufficient, and appropriately skilled, local engineering capacity to participate in and drive local, national and regional development in sub-Saharan Africa.
When will the next funding round be open?
Applications for the Higher Education Partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa 24/25 are open for applications. The deadline for applications is 24 October 2023.
How long are the projects and how much funding is being awarded?
The projects are one year in length and each project will be awarded up to £100k funding.
My university has previously been awarded funding as part of the HEP SSA programme. Can I apply again?
Yes! All universities in sub-Saharan Africa are welcome to apply, whether they are a previous awardee or they are new to the programme. However, please note that activities that have already been funded by a previous Academy grant are not eligible for funding so there needs to be a clear distinction between this project and the previous project.
How many projects will you fund in the 24/25 call?
The Academy will fund eight projects as part of this call.
What countries are eligible for this call?
In line with eligibility criteria set by the UK government’s International Science Partnerships Fund (ISPF), lead applicant institutions must be from one of the countries listed below in order to be eligible to apply. The Academy will consider applications from the following countries in sub-Saharan Africa only:
Angola; Benin; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cape Verde; Central African Republic; Chad; Comoros; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Djibouti; Eritrea; The Gambia; Guinea; Guinea Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Lesotho; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mozambique; Niger; Réunion; Rwanda; Sao Tome and Principe; Senegal; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania; Togo; Uganda; Western Sahara and Zambia.
Institutions from ineligible countries within sub-Saharan Africa can still participate in projects as spoke universities and industry partners.
What is the eligibility criteria for the 24/25 call?
- Projects should clearly align with the programme's overall aims and objectives.
- The lead applicant will be employed by a university in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Project activities must run between January 2024 and January 2025.
- Applications must include a detailed budget of up to £100,000 delivered over one year.
- Successful applicants will clearly outline direct funding allocated for spoke universities and partners in their application, where relevant.
- Applicants will develop formal partnerships with at least one industry partner, one UK institution and at least three spoke universities nationally or regionally.
Please see page 13 of the Applicant guidance notes for details on the programme expectations per partner.
- Projects must fit the criteria for ODA funding as indicated on page 8 of the guidance notes and question 2.15 of the application form.
Is the call open to all institutions of higher learning, or only universities?
The lead applicant must be employed by a university in sub-Saharan Africa.
I don’t have a UK or African partner. Can you help?
We will try! Please send the following information to email@example.com and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Please provide the following via email:
Phone number (including country code)
Name of the organisation you represent
What expertise you are looking for in terms of a UK project partner
- What you can offer a partner
Do I need to submit one centralised letter of agreement with all partners?
No, individual project partner agreements are sufficient. However, we would like the project partner agreements to demonstrate specific commitment to the HEP SSA project that you are applying for.
Do you require MoUs with partner institutions?
MoUs are not a requirement but if you have them, please do include these in your application as the reviewers will look favourably on projects with formal partnership agreements and/or letters of intent included in the application. The most important part of the partnership details section is demonstrating that your partners are committed to the HEP SSA project that you are applying for.
Do the spoke and industry partners need to be in the same country as the lead applicant or can they be from the wider region?
Spoke and industry partners can be from either the same country or another country in sub-Saharan Africa. There is no limit to the number of countries you involve in your project.
Where there is an existing network of partners, do they need to create a new project partnership agreement?
If the existing agreement is not specific to HEP SSA, yes – we would like to see project partner agreements that demonstrate specific commitment to the HEP SSA project that you are applying for.
Are there any guidelines around eligible and ineligible costs?
Yes, please see pages 9 and 10 of the applicant guidance notes for further information on funding guidelines. Key points to note include:
No more than £10,000 of the total project may be utilised on consumables and equipment costs.
Up to a maximum of 15% of the award (£15,000) can be used on project-specific staff salaries.
When considering sustainability, are there any rules about whether or not a project can be profit-based?
There are no rules around whether or not a project can be profit-based but if profitability is tied to the sustainability of your project objectives and activities after Academy funding ends, we encourage you to provide details on how you plan to make your project commercially viable. Please note that as part of the eligibility criteria, all projects must be designed to meet ODA objectives: promote the welfare and economic development of a country or countries on the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list of ODA recipients; address a development need; and focus on a specific 9 challenge affecting a lower income country. For further guidance on ODA compliance, please follow this link.
In the ineligible costs, what do you mean by per diem expenditure?
Per diem expenditure is considered to be any type of expenditure that is beyond what is absolutely necessary. Travel, accommodation and subsistence costs related to conducting visits and exchanges in support of collaborative activities are considered to be essential costs and would not be classified as per diem expenditure.