Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform

Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform (SPHEIR) is an FCDO programme set up to support innovative partnerships which support systemic change in higher education systems in low-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Middle East. 

SPHEIR was established as a result of Universities UK International's participation in the Department for International Development's (DFID) Higher Education Taskforce, where we represented higher education sector interests in influencing plans for increasing investment in higher education.  

We have been part of the SPHEIR programme's fund management team, alongside the British Council and PwC, since January 2016.  

SPHEIR aims to transform the quality, relevance, accessibility, and affordability of higher education by catalysing and funding diverse, multifaceted and large-scale partnerships. These collaborations work across different sectors and countries to create new solutions to key higher education challenges, delivering systemic and sustainable change.  

The eight SPHEIR partnerships have an international dimension, drawing on UK and international expertise. Involving organisations and institutions with experience of higher education reform in middle-income countries. Six UK universities are involved in SPHEIR partnerships.  

Kings College, London, is the lead partner for Prepared for Practice and PADILEIA holds the grant agreement for AQHESL, The Open University leads the TIDE project with support from University of Manchester and Oxford University, University of Edinburgh supports the PEBL project, and IDS, University of Sussex supports the PEDAL project.  

  • Find out more – visit the SPHEIR website for more information
  • If you would like to discuss SPHEIR, email Richard Grubb, Senior Policy Officer, sub-Saharan Africa & International Development, 

 Visit the SPHEIR website