Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– A total of 32 universities will get grants from Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) of University Grants Commission (UGC) by December this year, officials said.

Among the universities, 29 are public universities and three others are in private sector, they added.

The AIF was established involving US$50 million under a World Bank-aided project in a bid to enhance the quality of teaching, learning and research in the country.

The project titled Higher Education Quality Enhanc-ement Project (HEQEP), is being implemented with the financial support of the World Bank at a cost of $81 million.

The officials said the HEQEP project would help bring both innovation and accountability in universities and enhance the technical and institutional capacity of the higher education sector.

The main objective of the project is to establish conditions that will stimulate teaching, improve learning, and boost research in universities and introduce an efficient instrument for the allocation of public funds to universities.

The winning proposals from public and eligible private universities will receive first round of grant awards from the UGC by December 2010. The second round of call for the Academic Innovation Fund proposals will be announced in March 2011.

BBN/SI/SSR-29Nov10-12:48 am (BST)