An official website of the United States government

Notice of Funding Opportunity: University Partnership Program (UPP)
June 6, 2023

Notice of Funding Opportunity: University Partnership Program (UPP)

Notice of Funding Opportunity: University Partnership Program (UPP)

Program Office: Public Diplomacy Section, U.S. Embassy Astana

Funding Opportunity Title: University Partnership Program (UPP)

Announcement Type: Cooperative Agreement

Funding Opportunity Number: DOS-KAZ-AST-AEECA-23-003

Deadline for Applications: July 26, 2023, 11:59 EDT

Assistance Listing Number: 19.900 – Assistance for Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia

Total Amount Available: $360,000

Length of performance period: September 2023 – March 2025

Number of awards anticipated: 1 award

Total available funding: $360,000

Type of Funding:  FY2022, AEECA under the Foreign Assistance Act

Anticipated program start date: September 2023

The U.S. Mission to Kazakhstan announces an open competition for U.S. and Kazakh organizations to submit applications for the 2023-2024 University Partnership Program (UPP) to increase collaboration between U.S. institutions and Kazakh Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). This program seeks to support economic diversification and growth in Kazakhstan.  Project themes include the commercialization of research, partnerships with the private sector, joint research and publications between U.S. and Kazakhstani universities, curricula modernization, and building Kazakh institutional capacities to partner with U.S. institutions.


For more than five years the U.S. Mission to Kazakhstan has funded the University Partnership Program (UPP) to connect U.S. and Kazakh higher education institutions, traditionally by awarding sub-awards to U.S. partners who applied for funding with Kazakh institutions.  As a result, 33 Kazakh universities have partnered with 30 U.S. universities to strengthen educational programs, teaching approaches, institutional and research capacities, as well as pursue joint projects addressing issues such as air pollution, environmental protection, and economic diversification.  In addition to the projects achieved under each UPP, many partnerships have successfully resulted in sustainable, continued partnerships separate from USG funding.  For example, many partners have applied for other funding opportunities, such as Bolashaq Scholars or National Science Foundation support, to continue research and faculty collaboration.

The aim of the University Partnership Program this year is to help Kazakh universities develop well-run and efficient university management skills, modeled after U.S. tertiary institutions, and especially U.S. research universities, in order to raise Kazakh university international rankings and assist Kazakhstan’s effort to diversify its economy, thereby reducing its reliance on the oil and gas sector.

This NOFO looks to support innovative project mechanisms that advance U.S.-Kazakh institutional partnerships in the form of sub-awards or activities organized directly by the implementer.  This can include incubation hubs, basic research capability, or professional development centers.   The program should focus on building greater institutional and research capacity in fields that support diversified economic growth through joint U.S.-Kazakh research collaboration including through curricula development, publications, research commercialization, and private sector partnerships.

Project Audience(s):  Public universities in Kazakhstan (private universities can be additional partners, but not the main partner), and U.S. universities – especially research universities, community colleges, and technical institutions.  Beneficiaries can be students, teaching professionals, or university managers.  Competitive proposals would consider working with several institutions to foster a network of bilateral institutions, not just one-on-one partnerships.

Project Goal:

  • Build greater financial management and research capacity of at least two Kazakh universities in fields that support diversified economic growth in Kazakhstan, including agriculture, renewable energy, IT and STEM-related sectors through partnership between US- Kazakh higher education institutions.

Project Objectives:

  • Objective 1: Increase understanding of five to seven Kazakh university leaders and administrators on diverse university financial management systems or entrepreneurial models.
  • Objective 2: Increase adoption of efficient and transparent university management models, including financial sustainability principles, of at least two Kazakh universities based on best practices in U.S. higher education.
  • Objective 3: Improve understanding of U.S. best practices on research and commercialization models, that support diversified economic growth in Kazakhstan.
  • Objective 4:  Increase the production of quality research publications in at least two Kazakh universities that address private sector needs, including in agriculture, renewable energy, IT and STEM-related fields.

Note: Competitive project proposals will include plans for preliminary discussions between American and Kazakh universities on potential roadblocks, challenges, and opportunities for collaboration, and local contextual nuances of Kazakh universities in order to design effective and competitive projects.