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EXCEL SMART - Exceeding Learning through Strategic Mobility and Academic Partnership

EXCEL SMART is a strategic collaboration program with mobility opportunities for staff from the College of Public Health and Medical Science at Jimma University (JU) and St. Paul's Hospital Millenium Medical College (SPHMMC) in Addis Abeba to take courses or full degrees at UiO, and for UiO students to take courses, research or volonteer at health institutions in Ethiopia.  

The overall aim of this project is to enhance the quality of higher education in Ethiopia and expand and strengthen the academic cooperation between the Ethiopian partner universities and UiO. The project is based on a comprehensive Needs Assessment as well as the SACCADE project which is part of the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development (NORHED). Mobility is bidirectional and strategically driven by each institutions research and education development agenda.


The objectives of the project are to:

1. Increase quality and internationalisation of the new PhD program at the Ethiopian partner institutions through student and staff exchange with the Faculty of Medicine at UiO.

2. Increase the quality and internationalisation in three academic areas (Health Economic Evaluation, Health Professionals Education and Biostatistics) by mobility, strategic mentoring and academic partnerships by accepting qualified staff from partner institutions in to UiO PhD and Master programs. 

3. Increase opportunities for student mobility for UiO students from different fields to JU, including the JU hospital.

Image may contain: Footwear, Smile, Window, Plant, Leisure.
Acadcemic staff and PhD students from visiting Oslo in 2021. From left: Ingeborg Haavardson (UIO), Kiddus Yitbarek (JU), Mathewos Moges (JU), Teshome Kabeta (JU), Makida Kemal (JU),Jeanette Magnus (UIO), Henok Asefa (JU), Yamrot Haile (JU), Freihwot Worku (SPHMMC), Alemeyehu Demissie (SPHMMC). 


Increased mobility of students is essential to ensure that the leadership and academic staff unite in a joint vision for higher education. The majority of the students coming to Norway under the EXCEL SMART project are staff employed as teachers that have time off to be students in research focused education programs. The mobility is thus also to be regarded as human resource training.

The combination of mobility and an international opportunity for a PhD degree expands the impact of the mobility itself. The partnerships forged during the stay in Norway or in Ethiopia are amplified by the collaboration in research and education activities.

The strategic and systematic long term partnership between UiO and the two Ethiopian universities started with the SACCADE project in 2014. The over 30 UiO faculty that already have been teaching at JU or are involved in mentoring or advising, are clear about the impact this have on their work, teaching and perspective at home. Through seminars and other interactions the cohorts of JU and SPHMMC staff spending a short or longer time as students or guest researchers at UiO have impacted internationalisation at both institutions.


The project is financed by the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills through the Norwegian Partnership Programme for Global Academic Cooperation (NORPART) Project number: 2016/10213.

Project partners


2017 - 2023

The original timeframe has been extended, due to the Covid 19 pandemic and other reasons.

Man in winter clothes in the snow, outside Kringsjå student housing.
Temesgen Kabeta Chala, a lecturer at Department of Health Policy and Management at Jimma University, visited Oslo in 2020. During his short term mobility, he followed courses at master level in health economics and health management. 


Published Aug. 8, 2017 3:06 PM - Last modified July 1, 2022 4:11 PM