Through the Programme of Strategic Co-operation, Irish Aid promotes linkages and co-operation in research and teaching between higher education and research institutions in Ireland and in countries supported by Irish Aid. The Programme of Strategic Co-operation (PSC) was launched in 2006 with the aim of providing funding for universities and third-level colleges in Ireland to develop collaborative partnerships with higher education institutions in developing countries. It is now in its third phase and has resulted in a significant generation of new knowledge, strengthened networks and partnerships and capacity within universities and learning institutions across Africa.
The White Paper on Irish Aid identifies the reduction of poverty and vulnerability, and the creation of increased opportunities, as the overarching objectives of the programme. It also reiterates the central importance of the Millennium Development Goals for Ireland’s approach to development. The Programme of Strategic Co-operation is managed by the Higher Education Authority (HEA).
On the 23rd May 2012, the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade launched the third round of funding under the Programme of Strategic Cooperation at the ‘Scaling Up Agriculture: Sharing Challenges and Experiences of Modernising Agriculture in Ireland and Africa’ conference in Trinity College. Speaking at the conference, Minister Joe Costello said:
“I am … pleased to announce €4.8 million in funding to support research and education partnerships between Irish and African higher education institutes. The research partnerships have a strong focus on hunger, sustainable agriculture, nutrition, health and education.”
The call was a competitive process and recommendations were made to the Minister by an international assessment panel. The following projects will be supported under this round of funding: