USAID's Higher Education System Strengthening Activity

Focus Areas

Home Education and Research

Improving graduate employability through


The HESSA partnership will help Pakistani institutions bolster education and research by modernizing the curriculum, breaking down barriers to educational success, reaching new and broader audiences, and building "power skills" for students.

HESSA endeavors to increase access, quality, and relevance of Pakistan's higher education programs, particularly for marginalized communities, through:

  • Stakeholder-driven curriculum reform for higher education institutions to teach employability skills.
  • High-impact education practices to increase student learning of employability skills.
  • Distance education, universal design for learning, micro-credentials to increase learner access and success.
  • A culture of teaching excellence supported by a community of practice and access to high-quality faculty development.

The project will also strengthen industry-academia linkages to help modernize research, generate useful intellectual property, and mobilize resources. Our team will work with higher education leaders to:

  • Institute new policies and practices that enable and encourage entrepreneurship, technology commercialization, and industrial partnerships.
  • Increase opportunities through the Office for Research Incubation and Commercialization for faculty and student partnerships with industry and subsequent translation of research to practice.
  • Develop a vibrant innovation ecosystem of Offices for Research Incubation and Commercialization, faculty, and students at higher education institutions.

The team will also work collaboratively to bind faculty research to impact. That process will center on sustainable development and helping local communities achieve the targets of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Working toward these targets will provide:

  • Graduate students with challenge-based learning/research opportunities in Pakistan and U.S.
  • Linkages to drive global innovation.
  • Access to new markets.
  • Clear strategies for connecting higher education to local economic development.


This program is made possible by the support of the United States Government and the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the sole responsibility of the University of Utah and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the U.S. Government.