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Academic Partnerships

Academic institutions produce research, teaching tools, and innovations to solve the most stubborn global health challenges. But their contributions don’t always make it out of the lab and into the hands of the broader global health community. STAR’s Academic Partnerships program is working to change that. STAR encourages institutions in both the U.S. and around the world to partner mutually and beneficially, and to share knowledge towards the development of stronger global health programs.​

STAR provides two avenues for academic partnerships:

  • Apply for a Collaboration Laboratory grant
  • Join our Knowledge-sharing Community

What is the Collaboration Laboratory?

The Collaboration Laboratory is STAR’s facilitated approach to test, refine, and document what works and what does not in creating and sustaining academic partnerships. Through the Collaboration Laboratory, paired academic institutions spend one year working toward a concrete goal or objective they’d like to achieve through a formal partnership. Collaboration Laboratory projects are flexible; applicants are free to propose tasks that involve an academic institutional partner, are specific to global health work, and can be completed in fewer than 12 months. Example projects may include policy or advocacy materials, joint research papers, joint curriculum development, or a small part of an existing larger project. During their year-long partnership, the paired institutions, with the support of STAR staff, will document their successes and challenges. These insights and lessons learned will help inform and refine scalable, replicable partnership models for other global health academic institutions.

Frequently Asked Questions

STAR’s Knowledge Sharing Vision

What’s the purpose of STAR’s knowledge-sharing mandate?

Paired academic institutions will engage in knowledge-sharing experiments. The goal is to stimulate out-of-the-box thinking and creative solutions for complex global health challenges, and better understand what makes for long-term, respectful, and sustainable partnerships between academic institutions in different countries.

Knowledge-sharing experiments are deeply supportive, facilitated environments. Pairs may consist of one US-based and one overseas academic institution; or two overseas academic institutions (from different countries/regions). For example: a U.S.-based university that’s working to bolster its curriculum on a global health topic (ex: health equity and social justice) may be paired with an overseas university that has a well-established academic program in that area. This kind of bi-directional learning is critical in our globalized world.


Why are they referred to as "experiments?"
STAR's emphasis on a laboratory approach to collaboration emphasizes experimentation and our curiousity about what conditions support successful, long-lasting partnerships.


How will you facilitate knowledge sharing and experiments among institutions?

STAR will launch its Collaboration Laboratory, which is an approach to knowledge sharing, rather than a platform. Through the Collaboration Laboratory, paired academic institutions will convene and organize to complete specific tasks or deliverables that advance global health practice. During laboratory "experiments," STAR staff will also document successes and challenges in creating and sustaining mutually-beneficial partnerships between institutions, in order to refine a scalable and replicable partnership model for academic institutions globally.

Application Process and Eligibility

What's the application process to become an academic partner?

Institutions will respond to a Request for Applications (RfA). The RfA will outline the criteria and guidelines for participation, as well as resources available to support their experiments. The RfA will open in July 2019.

Do academic institutions have to pre-identify a partner to apply for grants?

We anticipate and will allow for three types of proposals:

1. A pre-existing partnership consisting of two academic institutions that propose a new and mutually-agreed upon task/project. The task/project can be part of a larger project.
2. Pre-identified partners who have not previously worked together, or do not currently have an existing partnership.
3. An unpaired, individual academic institution that proposes a scope of work that can be carried out with another academic institution.
Pairings will be facilitated by STAR and will be either: U.S. – LMIC, OR LMIC – LMIC. Equal consideration will be given to all three types of proposals. It’s important that all three will be a formal partnership, not simply a collaboration.
LMIC refers to Low- and Lower-Middle-Income Countries as defined by The World Bank.


Can academic institutions that are not host sites (for Fellows/Interns) still apply?

Yes. Academic partnerships are not limited to host sites.

Resources and Support

Do paired academic institutions receive financial support toward their knowledge-sharing collaborations?

Yes, each pair will receive a small grant to support their partnership and the achievement of their goal.

What will the grant cover?

It is intended to support in-person or virtual facilitated meetings, learning events, or equipment needs to ensure the sustainability of the partnership. It will not be used to cover personnel time, funding gaps, institutional capacity/funding needs, or incidental travel outside of the parameters of the experiment.

Who can I contact for more information?

If you have questions about the Collaboration Laboratory or STAR's knowledge-sharing community, please reach out to the Academic Partnerships team at academicpartnerships@ghstar.org.

Sustaining Technical and Analytic Resources (STAR) is a project of the Public Health Institute Implemented in partnership with Johns Hopkins University, University of California, San Francisco, and Consortium of Universities for Global Health.

This website is made possible by the generous support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of the Public Health Institute and do not necessarily represent the views of USAID or the U.S. Government. © Copyright 2019 Public Health Institute. All rights reserved.