In 2009, the British Council launched a regional programme named International Strategic Partnerships in Research and Education (INSPIRE). The project created a platform to foster technology transfer, policy development, and innovation. It also aimed to support the development of the higher education sector through sustainable partnerships between Bangladesh and UK institutions. A recent impact assessment report has been conducted by an external consultant from the UK. One of the conclusions of the impact assessment was that INSPIRE had added to the British Council’s reputation amongst key stakeholders in Bangladesh, particularly with University Grants Commission (UGC) as the strategic partner for the project.
The impact of the research projects is demonstrated by the fact that many of the links between Bangladesh and UK universities continue even after the project funding has ended. This shows that projects such as INSPIRE can be sustainable and have a lasting impact.
Higher education is critical to the development of the nation. Research and building the research capacity in the higher education sector is vital if Bangladesh is to achieve its ambitions of achieving developing nation status by 2021 and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Bangladesh has had some remarkable successes in research. The British Council is proud to have played a small part in working to improve the research capacity in the country that will be critical to its future development.
The impact of the project was revealed on 9 January 2017 at the Dhaka University campus office through a celebration programme that was attended by Nurul Islam Nahid MP, Honourable Minister for Education, Ministry of Education, Bangladesh, Professor Abdul Mannan, Chairman, UGC, Bangladesh, Barbara Wickham, Director, British Council, erudite Vice-Chancellors, senior Professors and various research leads.
Barbara Wickham expressed that the British Council is fortunate to collaborate with the ministry on a number of projects including INSPIRE and are enormously grateful for their continued support. Honourable Minister expressed his views stating that he was delighted to know that UK universities have engaged so enthusiastically as this demonstrates the quality of the Bangladesh researchers and the value the UK universities give to their links with Bangladesh.