By: Alicia Dunn | Communications Manager at Shared Value Initiative | October 18th, 2016

The Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform (SPHEIR) is a new Department for International Development (DFID) fund which aims to transform Higher Education systems in Sub Saharan Africa and other target countries. It is designed to catalyse innovative ‘partnerships’ in frontier and emerging markets to improve the performance, governance and influence of higher education systems and institutions. SPHEIR is managed on behalf of DFID by a consortium led by the British Council that includes PwC and Universities UK International (UUKi).

SPHEIR funding is given to partnerships –a formal collaboration among a group of organisations that address HE in ways, and at a scale, that a single organisation cannot. Partnerships can access grant funding of up to £5 million to conduct 2 to 4 year projects with universities which improve graduate employability. Projects could include companies working with faculty to update and improve the relevance of course curricula, offer internships and skills development training and overall support students to gain the technical and soft skills in-demand in the market.

Companies can apply to receive funding to begin or scale initiatives which improve their future graduate hires, tailor course curricula to suit their business needs and enhance their brand presence and sustainability offering in the market. Applications open online on 21 October 2016 and close on 20 February 2017. Before the 21 October, potential applicants can contact to ask any questions on the fund or receive feedback on their proposed project. For more information, including the fund strategy document, see here:


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