Strategic partners working together
Strategic partnerships

Funding higher education partnerships in South East Asia

The INSPIRE programme defines a strategic partnership as one that aims to develop an institution-to-institution link based on a number of different areas of activity. These could be a mix of the following activities:

  • research co-operation
  • teacher exchange
  • curriculum development
  • student exchange
  • collaborative programme developments.

INSPIRE partnerships take place in a number of countries in South Asia, including Afghanistan, and are funded by the British Council for up to three years.

Over the course of a partnership, institutions should aim to involve different levels and departments within the university to create a multi-dimensional, international relationship.

Aims of strategic partnerships

• To raise the profile of innovative and high quality partnerships between the UK and participating countries

• To build capacity in higher education institutions (HEIs) through the further development of staff's professional skills and international research competence

• To help build sustainable partnerships based on research and teaching agendas

• To trial possible models for future co-operation

Partnership in action

Following an application process, these partnerships were awarded funding:

Institutional strengthening of geoscience at Kabul University through staff development and research

Kabul University and University of Leicester (2010-2013)

This project aimed to bring together researchers and educationalists in geosciences in Kabul University and the University of Leicester.

The main objective was to generate and develop sustainable professional links between the two universities.  

This was achieved through reciprocal visits by academic staff, and the development of research projects that develop inter-professional relationships, focus on key areas of concern to Afghanistan, yield international-level publications and increase awareness of HEI’s based in Afghanistan. 

Folklore of Northern Afghanistan

Afghanistan Academy of Science and Cambridge Central Asia Forum, University of Cambridge (2011-2014)

The main aim of this research project is to study the folklore of Northern Afghanistan, conducting fieldwork and making audio and video recordings of various forms of folklore in order to establish a classification of different genres. 

Several workshops and a conference will be organised in Kabul and in Cambridge, culminating in the submission of a textbook to a UK publisher. The material collected will form the basis of educational and methodological material which will be prepared for the Academy of Science and Ministry of Education of Afghanistan, to be developed as new teaching resources for Afghan higher education institutions.

Opening up and creating resources in British collections on Afghan history for teaching and research in Afghanistan

Kabul University and British Library (2011-2014)

Through research, digitisation, online access and publication, this project aims to make accessible the unique holdings in the British Library on sources relating to Afghanistan from the mid-18th to 20th centuries, comprising official files and reports, photographs, maps and other visual materials.

Training course on counselling skills for practitioners working with students and young people in Herat Province


This project involves the delivery of a training course in counselling skills for practitioners who work with students and young people in the province of Herat. In the advanced phase of the project, it also aims to carry out training for trainers.