Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation – exceed


The DAAD “Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation – exceed” programme supports the development of competence centres by German universities and their partners in developing countries. Together they will be able to make valuable contributions to solving major development challenges.


German universities and their partners in developing countries are making a considerable effort to achieve the goals of development policy. In order to bundle their efforts and make them more publicly visible, the DAAD launched the “Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation – exceed” programme in 2009. Exceed Logo
The aim of the initiative is to strengthen certain areas of higher education, such as teaching, research, and services, so that together they can make effective and innovative contributions to realising the development goals of the United Nations.

Five years after the start of the programme, five globally active networks were established with financial support from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), focusing on the following key themes:

  • Water and resources management
  • Decent work
  • Food security
  • Medicine

Following their successful evaluation, the existing exceed networks started a new funding phase from 2015 to 2019. The second phase of the programme is based on the sustainable development goals (SDG) of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Programme objectives

The programme not only offers an exchange opportunity between German institutions and their partners from the South, but also supports university partnerships among the participants from developing countries. As a result, the expertise of the equal partners that work in tight and expanding global networks is highly demanded in politics and civil society.

In the second funding phase, participating institutions aim to enhance their professional profile in teaching and research in line with the 2030 Agenda and to consolidate the networks operationally and financially on a sustainable basis. In the long term, graduates will be qualified to take on leadership positions of responsibility as a result of studying in programmes that are practice-oriented and reflect the state of the art in the respective field.

Funded projects and partners involved

Under the exceed programme, the following projects are supported:

SWINDON Logo International Network on Sustainable Water Management in Developing Countries (SWINDON): Technical University of Braunschweig and partners
International Center for Development and Decent Work (ICDD): University of Kassel and partners
Centers for Natural Resources and Development (CNRD): Technical University of Cologne and partners
CIH Logo
Center for International Health (CIH): Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich and partners
FSC Logo
Food Security Center (FSC): University of Hohenheim and partners


In the first phase of the programme, the exchange of international academics and visiting lecturers led to wide-ranging research collaboration and the internationalisation of teaching at the participating institutions. New or optimised curricula and modules that focus on regional needs improved the quality of teaching sustainably.

The exceed networks were highly successful in setting up new and innovative doctoral programmes, which train prospective highly qualified professionals and managerial staff in developing countries and are internationally very popular.

Events ranging from workshops to international conferences have enriched academic exchange in the last few years and have steadily increased awareness of the exceed networks.

In addition, numerous publications document the extraordinary success of the projects.

Independent expert evaluators confirmed the innovative approach of the “Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation – exceed” programme and its great relevance to development policy in an evaluation concluded in 2013.

In order to achieve the intended programme objectives even more efficiently, the DAAD targets the needs of developing and newly industrialised countries with its funding instruments and evaluates the impact of its funding programmes. In 2014, the DAAD introduced a comprehensive results-oriented monitoring system in order to further improve the quality and transparency of its work.


German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
Department P31 Institution Building in Higher Education

Sherif Abdelrazek
Tel.: +49 228 882-100
Fax: +49 228 882-9100
Email: abdelrazek@daad.de

Ruth Pahle
Programme/Project Administrator
Tel.: +49 228 882-8976
Fax: +49 228 882-98976
Email: pahle@daad.de

Further information

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