iHED – International Higher Education Dialogue

iHED Conference is an annual online conference that focuses on internationalisation of higher education and research. It aims to facilitate networking, knowledge sharing and encourages initiation of partnerships between HEI in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Germany as well as other European countries. Participants can collaborate during the sessions and establish new contacts through B2B meetings. This year, Romania is the partner country for the conference.

Conference 2023

The iHED Conference will take place from 1 – 3 March 2023.

The 3rd edition of the conference will focus on the diverse aspects of cooperation projects and partnerships. It will explore the models of cooperation addressing international bilateral, multilateral, interinstitutional cooperation, strategic partnerships and working in consortia. Developing and sustaining structured cooperation, strategic partnerships as well as extending the network of active institutions in cooperation remains central to the agenda of the conference.

Topics of the conference this year are good practice on partnership programs and consortia, funding for cooperation projects, measurement of impact of cooperation and establishing double and joint degree programmes.

Higher Education professionals, academicians and stakeholders are provided with insights, good practice examples and expert guidance for working on cooperation projects and in HE consortia.

Participate in the conference to:

  • connect with institutions looking for cooperation and international exchange
  • gain insights into developing and sustaining structured cooperation
  • learn more about strategic partnerships in Higher Education
  • network with prospective collaborators

The conference features various sessions, fireside chats, panel discussion and B2B meetings.

Themes for Conference 2023

Be a part of the iHED – International Higher Education Dialogue and actively participate in the conference from 1 – 3 March 2023. The DAAD, the Association of Indian Universities and UEFISCDI look forward to your participation. Registrations will open soon – stay tuned.

The following topics will be discussed this year:

1. ERASMUS: Insights in cooperation projects between Europe and South Asia

The Erasmus funding programmes foster innovation and cross-border cooperation. They enable cooperation among organisations and institutions (HEIs) in the development, transfer and/or implementation of innovative practices at organisational, regional, or global levels. This session focuses on best practice examples of cooperation projects between Europe and South Asia under different funding lines, for example, joint master programmes, measurements for capacity development. Guiding questions are: What are the steps to receive funding? How and where to identify a potential project partner? What are the partners gaining from the cooperation – long term and short term? How are the resources shared? How is the success of the project assessed?

2. Double and joint degrees: Good practice and challenges

International double/dual and joint degrees are an integral part of the internationalisation of higher education. The Indian New Education Policy followed by the guidelines of the University Grants commission emphasize the importance of study programmes leading to a degree offered with an international partner. Even though for such programmes there is an increasing demand worldwide, Indian higher education institutions implementing those, despite having English language as medium of instruction, are few in numbers.

This session will focus on good practices as well as challenges while establishing study programmes with an international partner university which lead to a degree(s) conferred by the partners. What are successful approaches for implementing these programmes at structural level with partners worldwide? What are challenges in setting up these programs? How can one ease the administrative process of establishing double/dual and joint degree with international partners? These and other questions will be discussed in the session.

3. Impact of cooperation: Monitoring and measurement

Over the last years the measurement of outcomes and impacts in higher education and research projects has become integrated part of funding schemes and internationalisation activities within the institutions. For effective implementation and management of international cooperation projects clearly formulated objectives with related indicators are key to success and can help to drive internationalisation forward.

The session will focus on monitoring and measurement of partnerships, network activities, joint study programs and cooperation projects. Questions to be addressed during the session are: Why monitoring and evaluation should be implemented? What set of indicators can be used to measure success? How to systematically collect data on internationalisation activities and cooperation projects? How to formulate a results-based framework for cooperation projects?

4. Beyond bilateral projects: Cooperation in network and consortia

Besides the “classical” Memorandum of Understanding between two higher education institutions to facilitate international exchange over the last two decades universities and colleges are looking to engage in larger interinstitutional cooperation networks and to form international consortia. The European Universities financed by the EU, the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) but also the Association of East Asian Research Universities (AEARU) are prominent examples where universities from different countries work together.

With this session an outlook on working in multilateral partnerships and networks as well as in consortia is provided. The session will offer insights in good practice by universities who engage in international networks. What are successful models of collaborative work with multiple partners? What is the added value and the opportunity of working in larger formalised networks? Are international consortia more sustainable and long-lasting than bilateral projects? These and other questions might be addressed during the session.

Conference 2022

The iHED – International Higher Education Dialogue conference took place from 4 to 6 May 2022.

International cooperation, mobility, and exchange in the field of higher education and research have been evolving over the last decades globally. Germany and India have been highlighting internationalisation as the key factor in their current policies and strategies to develop the higher education and research system.

Student mobility, international cooperation, capacity building and rankings still drive the agenda of internationalisation. Topics such as quality of education equity and access are gaining traction in the international discourse.

The conference included:

  • Keynotes
    I. Transnational Education
    by Kevin Van-Cauter, British Council
    II. Philanthropic Funding
    by Dr Kavita A Sharma
  • Panel Discussion: The Role of International Higher Education in Times of Changing Geopolitics
  • Parallel Sessions
    I. Equity and Access
    II. Improving Quality of Higher Education through Ranking
    III. Strategic Partnerships
    IV. Non-Degree Seeking Mobility
  • Parallel B2B Meetings
    The B2B meetings took place using a specially designed online tool.

The following topics were discussed in the parallel sessions

Strategic Partnerships

Developing sustainable and multi-lateral partnerships between institutions

To contribute to the internationalisation strategies of the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), it is important to have sustainable and long-term partnerships across the globe. This session will focus on how such strategic partnerships contribute to improving the overall quality of teaching and research. Some questions could be: How could multi-lateral partnerships at institutional levels be made more sustainable beyond partnerships that are exclusively managed by individual departments? How do they strengthen interdisciplinary interactions within the participating institutions? How developing a multi-lateral institutional partnership opens new and innovative areas of cooperation between the institutions? How can such partnerships include more than one subject area and/or comprise different levels or scopes of cooperation?

Non-Degree-Seeking Mobility

Fostering internationalisation through short-term stays

Over the last decade short-term programmes have seen an increasing demand among students. Building a coherent system of short-term programmes at home and abroad can be one of the drivers of internationalisation. The forms of non-degree-seeking mobility are multifold. Thematic summer schools, courses with micro-degrees as well as student and faculty exchange based on agreements. The sessions will give an outlook on good practices, the impact and challenges of non-degree-seeking mobility. The following aspects will be addressed: How can innovative international short-term programs contribute and impact the internationalisation of the own institutions? How to deal with recognition of study achievements in exchange programs and crediting regulation for micro degrees? How to finance non-degree seeking mobility between Europe and South Asia using the funding schemes of the EU?

Equity and Access

Enabling international education for all

Recognising and overcoming continual inequities in higher education is one of the most significant challenge facing higher education institutions globally. This session will identify barriers that hinder progress and discuss possible solutions that could promote access to higher education for all. The questions would be: Which groups are most disadvantaged and how have their ‘participation rates’ changed? What steps should policy makers take to make global higher education participation more equitable? Which innovative practices are being followed in higher education and who are the frontrunners? What role does technology play to ensure equity and access?


Improving quality of higher education

Rankings are seen as the quality assurance system that engages the academic community in meeting high quality standards, implementing a continuous improvement process and engaging in quality assurance through internal and external review. There are a few agencies such as Times Higher Education Ranking, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and Asian World Ranking of University (AWRU) popularly known as Shanghai Ranking who are involved in ranking of the institutions at the international level.  India has also developed its own ranking system known as National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). The session highlights: What is the advantage of participating in ranking? How to prepare for participating in the ranking? Which processes should be in place to give the institutions an advantage while being evaluated?

Conference 2021

Take a look at how it went!

Connecting Germany and South Asia

More than 500 representatives of universities, research institutes and funding organisations from Germany, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka joined the conference in 2021.

© DAAD India

The conference brought together more than 240 institutions, amongst them 42 from Germany, 172 from India, and 34 from the region. The international conference included focussed sessions, panel discussions and keynotes. More than 300 dedicated B2B meetings took place on the platform where potential cooperation partners engaged and discussed.

Prof. Emanuel Deutschmann, in his keynote “Trends in International Student Mobility: A Long-Term, Global Perspective”, argued that international student mobility has seen tremendous growth and despite this global growth, international student mobility remains highly unequal. His key findings show proximity as the reason for this inequality. Since 1960, students tend to move frequently between short distances upto 5000 kms. He illustrated the most salient trends in the global student mobility network through engaging visualisations and scientific research data.

In his keynote “Democratisation of International Education in India”, Prof. C Raj Kumar talked about the need of global citizenship and global universities to transform societies. He emphasised that instead of a few universities being the ambassadors of internationalisation in India, support must be extended to the other institutions across the region to initiate internationalisation.

The conference had sessions on internationalisation in times of pandemic, the New Education Policy of India (NEP), inbound international student mobility and the role of alumni relations in internationalisation. The call for proposals was published in summers this year and selected speakers presented on the topics.

The conference hosted panelists from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka for a discussion on Internationalisation of Higher Education. During the discussion, the need for more regional cooperation was highlighted.

The conference was concluded with a panel discussion on “The Internationalisation of Higher Education Institutions in 2030”. Prof. Joybrato Mukherjee, President – DAAD very accurately summarised what sets the course of international exchange in the future – networks, digitalisation, and sustainable mobility.

DAAD expresses its thanks to the organising partner Association of Indian Universities, the speakers, panelists, experts and audience for making this conference a success.