The Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) is a partnership between USAID and seven top universities, designed to channel the ingenuity of university students, researchers, and faculty towards global development.


In November 2012, USAID announced the creation of the Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN), a multidisciplinary research and development effort led by seven world-class universities working directly to evaluate and strengthen real-world innovations in development. Each university established a Development Lab — with two at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) — and created a Network with a mission to revolutionize development through science and innovation. Now, the HESN Development Labs are researching, incubating, testing, and accelerating solutions in partnership with local universities, organizations, and communities to deliver the greatest impact. The network has created a vibrant framework of cooperation between local actors, development professionals, and academics who know that innovation is key to tackle the complexities of modern-day development challenges.

The College of William & Mary’s AidData Center for Development Policy is enabling the international development community to more effectively target, coordinate, deliver, and evaluate aid investments though geospatial mapping.[View fact sheet]

University of California, Berkeley’s Development Impact Lab is improving the way universities design technology for development and apply it on a large scale in fields including energy, health, information technology, and communications.  [View fact sheet]

Duke University’s Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke and Innovations in Healthcare find successful innovators in global health care and help them expand.  [View fact sheet]

Makerere University’s ResilientAfrica Network, anchored in Uganda, works with universities in Ethiopia, Ghana, and South Africa to find innovative local solutions to overcome the shocks and stresses of poverty, conflict, displacement, disease and drought.  [View fact sheet]

Massachusetts Institute of Technology leads two programs. The Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation is designing a system for evaluating technological solutions to development challenges. [View fact sheet]

The International Development Innovation Network is linking local innovators around the world who are using technology to address issues facing people living in poverty.  [View fact sheet]

Michigan State University’s Global Center for Food Systems Innovation addresses critical pressures on the world’s food supply by creating, testing, and enabling the expansion of solutions.  [View fact sheet]

Texas A&M University’s Center on Conflict and Development seeks to improve the effectiveness of development programs and policies for conflict-affected and fragile countries through multidisciplinary research and education.  [View fact sheet]

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