Novia UAS leads consortium that receives significant funding for biogas project in Zambia

Press release RDI
Novia fasad 2

Novia University of Applied Sciences’ project is one of seven recipients of funding from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland’s programme, Higher Education Partnership (HEP). The programme supports collaboration between higher education institutions in Finland and developing countries. It is administered by the Finnish National Agency for Education.

The project “Sustainable Futures – Biogas Value Chain for Circular Economy Competence Growth in Zambia” receives a million euro funding and aims to strengthen competence and highlight opportunities related to biogas and circular economy in Zambia through co-creation. Zambia, located in Southern Africa, is known for its natural resources, however the country struggles with insufficient energy supply and has one of the world’s fastest-growing populations.

“The advantage of biogas as an energy source is that it can be produced and used locally without connecting to a national electricity grid”, says Cynthia Söderbacka, Project Leader at Novia UAS.

The project is the result of strategic work with focus on Africa and Latin America, building also on experiences from long-established collaboration of Novia UAS in Asia.

Anna-Karin Jansson, Business Developer with a focus on global initiatives at Novia UAS, highlights that “Finland has a long history of bilateral development cooperation with Zambia, and education is a good starting point when aiming to create lasting change. In this project, higher education institutions can bring together stakeholders from both countries and create unique partnerships for competence development in line with Finland’s Africa strategy.”

“Novia operates in export-oriented regions, and this project, focusing on biogas and circular economy, aligns well with our strategic focus on global orientation for a sustainable future. Global partnerships can help address global challenges, and through development projects like this, we gain new expertise and networks for our regions”, says Örjan Andersson, President of Novia University of Applied Sciences.

The project is carried out in collaboration with the University of Oulu, the University of Zambia (UNZA), and the Copperbelt University (CBU) in Zambia. The project initiates its activities in 2024 and will run for three years. Novia already has ongoing collaboration with the Zambian partners under the Team Finland Knowledge programme, and a delegation consisting of representatives from UNZA, CBU, and the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) visited Novia in connection with Vaasa Energy Week this year.

Picture from the visit. Project leader Cynthia Söderbacka in the middle in orange, to her left Service Coordinator Marie Louise Razafy Kjellman.

In 2024–2026, the HEP programme prioritizes teacher education, climate change, circular economy, and food security. The total funding from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for the seven projects coordinated by five Finnish higher education institutions amounts to over six million euros.

Press release from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland 

For more information, contact:

Novia University of Applied Sciences, President Örjan Andersson, tel. +358 50 527 2286 

Novia University of Applied Sciences, Business Developer Anna-Karin Jansson, tel. +358 50 472 5032

Novia University of Applied Sciences, Project Leader Cynthia Söderbacka, tel. +358 50 593 4068 



Novia University of Applied Sciences, Communicator Caroline Lång, tel. +358 50 470 6592