Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN)

Anirudh Krishna’s study abroad program based in Udiapur, India.
Anirudh Krishna’s study abroad program based in Udiapur, India. Students attended class sessions, did file research in rural villages and had home stays in locally and in the villages.
Duke University

In November 2012, the United States Agency for International Development announced the creation of the Higher Education Solutions Network, a multidisciplinary research and development effort led by seven world-class universities working directly to evaluate and strengthen real-world innovations in development.

TechCon 2014

TechCon 2014 will be co-hosted by USAID's Higher Education Solutions Network and the Development Impact Lab (DIL) at the University of California, Berkeley. This year's conference will be unique convening of entrepreneurs, academics, students, development experts, field practitioners, and the private sector focused on innovative approaches to solution creation, testing, and scaling for international development. TechCon 2014 will showcase the innovations and innovators coming out of HESN's Development Labs and the broader social innovation community.

Program Highlights:

  • DevTalk Keynotes from leading voices in international development
  • "Shark Tank" pitch competition for young innovators and the opportunity to invest in emerging innovations from young entrepreneurs (via our Innovation Marketplace)
  • Interactive sessions that highlight new innovations and data from the HESN Development Labs
  • Networking and spontaneous "unconference" sessions
  • Opportunity to learn from development professionals and industry leaders

To learn more about TechCon 2014, visit http://bit.ly/1t6A98G.


With $137 million over 5 years from USAID and leveraging nearly equal investments from the institutions, the universities established eight Development Labs, collaborating with a network that extends beyond 100 partner institutions in academia, civil society and government across 38 countries.

This network is creating a vibrant framework of cooperation between development professionals and academia by harnessing the ingenuity and passion of scientists, students, faculty, and entrepreneurs to solve some of the world’s most pressing development challenges. By tapping into and connecting the talent of this ecosystem of individuals, the Development Labs allow researchers, innovators, and institutions to directly engage in the redefinition of problems and identification of new solutions. Within HESN, interdisciplinary teams are working on the creation of reliable development related databases, new ways to evaluate “what works,” and accelerating the creation, testing, and scaling of high-impact technologies and approaches.

Inaugural USAID Development Labs

University of California, Berkeley [PDF, 929kB] Duke University [PDF, 1MB] Michigan State University [PDF, 293kB]
The College of William and Mary [PDF, 784kB] Texas A&M University [PDF, 987kB] Makerere University (Uganda) [PDF, 917kB]
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (CITE) [PDF, 963kB] Massachusetts Institute of Technology (IDIN) [PDF, 691kB]  

Last updated: November 10, 2014

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